Pregnant on Birth Control? Can It Happen? 22

Naturally, the point of taking birth control pills is not to get pregnant, but even with proper and devout use you have a 1% chance of getting pregnant on birth control. Missing a pill, taking the pill at a different time of day, or throwing up within a half hour of taking the pill can increase this chance. Being that nearly 80% of all women have at some point used the birth control pill to prevent pregnancy, even 1% is a lot of women.

How will I know if I’m pregnant on birth control?

pregnant on birth controlOne of the primary ways most women discover they’re pregnant is to miss a period. The catch with the chance of becoming pregnant on birth control is that many women experience missed periods or lighter periods while taking birth control. As a result, when they miss a period or experience light implantation bleeding, they don’t suspect pregnancy.

The only way to know if you are pregnant on birth control is to take a pregnancy test. Contrary to some belief, a pregnancy test will not be affected by birth control. This is because pregnancy tests detect a hormone not present in birth control. This doesn’t mean you need to take a pregnancy test every single month. It’s rare that pregnancy comes without other symptoms such as nausea and fatigue.

If you do find need to test, it’s also important you don’t test too early. As birth control is designed to prevent ovulation and artificially regulates cycle length, rather than testing based on ovulation/cycle length, it’s more ideal to use intercourse timing. Test no earlier than 14 days after the last sexual act. You can read more on when to take a pregnancy test for accurate results here.

Should I stop taking my birth control pill if I think I’m pregnant?

Even if you just suspect you may be pregnant on birth control, you should stop taking your birth control until you confirm you aren’t. Remember, if you miss even one pill you are more likely to become pregnant if you have unprotected sex assuming you aren’t already pregnant. Missing more than a day can lessen the effectiveness of birth control up to seven days even after resumed use. You should use a back up method in the meantime.

Are there any risks to my baby if I become pregnant  on the birth control?

While there are no known birth defects caused by becoming pregnant on birth control, it has been shown to possibly increase the chance of low birth weight and premature labor. In rare cases involving certain types of birth control, irregular development of female sex organs is possible.

Becoming pregnant on birth control can come as a big surprise, but if you do decide to keep your baby, try to relax, chances are very high if you weren’t aware you were pregnant and continued birth control use your baby will be fine.

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22 thoughts on “Pregnant on Birth Control? Can It Happen?

  • Lulu

    I got my iud inserted on Nov 8th I started my period or what I thought was my period on Nov 13. I spotted for the whole rest of the month and half of December. I haven’t gotten my period this month but I’ve had some very light spotting only when I wipe I see it. Can I be pregnant???? Or is my body still ajusting to the iud

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Especially if it’s a hormonal IUD, such as Merina, some initial weirdness is to be expected as your body adjusts. Though many providers recommend a backup form of conception in the first month of use, if you had unprotected sex, you might take a test 14+ days from the act just to be 100% sure.

  • Justin

    Hello i have a silly question. my girlfriend and i had sex 2 days ago with a condom. However before we had sex i touched my penis with a small amount of precum and while i was putting it on the condom i most likely touched the tip of the condom with the same hand. So is there a a small chance of pregnancy? does precum even have sperm to fertilize Thank you

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Precum can contain sperm, but usually at a much lower concentration than actual ejaculate. If it was immediate, as in you know you still had wet precum on your hands when you handled the condom, yes, there would be a very, very small chance of pregnancy assuming she was also close to ovulation. The chances of her being fertile and there being enough motile sperm to fertilize an egg are astronomically small though, so I wouldn’t stress out too much over it.

  • Diana

    so My period was due on the 6th and I’m two days late. We used a condom with Spermicide and it slipped out half way accidentally luckily he didn’t climax but anyway we tried again with a new one.This was around the 27th but On January 1 I went to the ER and they gave me a pregnancy test and it was negative and I’m under medications for my gastritis. My question is Can the medication delay my period? Was the test to early to be taken? Thank you.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      If the test was only 3 days after the sex, yes, it was too early to be accurate. Normal period variance is also +/-3 days though, so technically, you’re not late. You can retest anytime 14+ days from the act for an accurate result, but with a condom slip/spermicide, my bet is not pregnant.

  • Sandi

    I had sex with my boyfriend on the 27th of December. We used a condom with spermicide and he told me it helps prevent pregnancy even more. We are very careful about safe sex and I tracked my last ovulation on the 23 of December so I know I’m extra safe. While Intercourse the condom almost slipped off but it was on the tip of his penis so he threw it away and we used a new one and he climaxed and pulled out. But what gets to my head is We never had this issue about condoms slipping before So now my question is does spermicide work ? Is it proven to be effective and kill sperm? I’m only nervous about the precum that may have been leaked out. Thank you

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Spermicide contains a chemical the hinders sperm mobility, meaning it doesn’t kill them, it just renders them immobile so they can’t swim to your Fallopian tube to fertilize an egg. Being past your suspected ovulation and beyond egg viability with just the chance of precum within spermicide, it’s very, very, very unlikely you’ll become pregnant. It sounds like you covered your bases well. 🙂

  • Kellie Wolfe

    Hi, I am 18 and sexually active but am worried that my diet changes have thrown off my cycle. My cycle is usually the same every month- light/moderate with light PMS symptoms. I have recently come to the realization I may have an eating disorder and have been unintentionally not eating enough in the past few months, which i read can affect my cycle. My period was heavy in November, but never came in December. I would consider myself small and have lost 8 pounds by the end of December. Now, I am supposed to get my period this week and can’t exactly tell if it’s started or not. Typically it’s light brown at the beginning so it looks normal but I guess I am just anxious because of missing it last month. I take the pill correctly & use condoms most of the time along with withdrawal. From what I’ve seen this doesn’t look like implantation bleeding, but I just would like a second opinion 🙂

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Body fat plays a very important roll in hormone production, so if you’ve dropped below a healthy BMI or aren’t consuming sufficient calories (under 1,200 a day) it’s very possible your cycle changes are diet/body fat related. The most common effect there is ovulation ceases (causing irregular/very long cycles, sometimes with spotting). It’s not impossible to become pregnant on birth control even with condom use, but the chances are far lower than it being the diet issue. Often birth control use can mask the effects of a body-weight related hormonal imbalance unless they become severe, so that you may be seeing it now is a great reason to reach out to a support network, find the help you need, and start on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.

  • Nicholas

    Does Spermicide really help? I’ve always used a condom that comes with Spermicide on it and I’ve always wondered if it helps prevent pregnancy even more. ( I also use pullout too so three birth control types)

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Yes it does, as long as it’s a first-time use (condoms should never be reused, I know that seems obvious, but you’d be surprised what folks do).

  • Juan

    Hey I have some small debates about what I’ve been hearing. For years I’ve been having protected sex with a condom on with my girl and I’ve heard I have to pinch the tip for space or theres some risks. I got worried because I never pinch the tip. So My question is what kind of risks are there to happen ? My last debate is in class I’ve been informed that woman can get pregnant anytime in the month. But After doing some research I’ve read that only women can get pregnant on her ovulation day or a few days before it. Me and my lady always go for it after her ovulation day but my question is can my girlfriend still get pregnant after her ovulation ? I would love some clarification. Thank you 🙂

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      The concern with not “pinching the tip” is first that air may become trapped at the tip, this bubble creates pressure which can lead to condom breaks.Second, if there’s no room for the semen (either from an air bubble or simply a tight fit) it’s more likely to come up the shaft and leak out. As far as the second question, you’re correct. For pregnancy to occur sperm and egg must both be present and in most cases that only happens once a month. An egg from ovulation is only viable for about 48 hours and sperm can only survive about 5 days. This makes most of the month pretty safe. The reason most sex ed teachers say you can become pregnant all month is that ovulation can fluctuate. Fluke early/late ovulation does happen, and is more likely even in teens (who are often listening to sex ed teachers). There’s also that many women don’t know when they ovulate. Overall intercourse timing can be an effective form of contraception, but it’s more reliable with some form of ovulation tracking.

  • Sarah

    Hello first I’ll say I’m not taking any Pills for birthcontrol but my boyfriend uses a condom and he pulls out after ejaculation. But somtimes he doesn’t ejaculate and when he checks the condom underneath, there’s is so much fluid and somtimes the condom moves up a bit and Worries me That precum may leak out . The condom he wears is Trojan ultra thin and it fits him fine (not to tight nor to loose ) But my question is , is it my fluid going underneath the condom or just is it his pre lubercation. thank you !

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “underneath.” Like when the condom is on there is fluid outside of it? If so yes, that would pose a chance of pregnancy, no matter how small. How much of a chance would depend if it is precum (lower chance) or actual semen (higher chance).

      • Sarah

        By underneath I meant inside the condom. Sorry for the confusion. After intercourse when he doesn’t ejaculate there’s so much fluid when he takes out the condom on his penis so I’m curious if that’s just his precum or my fluid. Also He tells me the condom moves a bit while intercourse so Im concerned if precum can leak out at the base of the penis .Thank you sorry again.

        • Life with Gremlins admin

          If it’s inside and he didn’t ejaculate then yes, that’s precum, your fluids wouldn’t get inside the condom, though may be on the outside and it’s pretty well impossible to tell the difference between the two in that instance. If the condom is sliding around a lot, it’s probably too large. A little movement is normal, but if you’re getting enough slippage your concerned fluids may leak, that’s an issue. Even so the chance of pregnancy with precum alone is quite low to begin with. If you’re still worried though, a good solution would be a secondary form of contraception. For instance you could practice intercourse timing (avoiding sex during a fertile time) or use the pill/some other form of birth control.

  • J.

    Hi! I’m on an ultra-low-dose combined pill (Yaz). This month I’m sure I took every pill at the exact same time, except for the 8th pill on the pack, which I took around 3 hours late (still, the Yaz guidelines say that less than 24 hours late doesn’t count as a missed dose). That same day, some hours prior, I had had sex using the withdrawal method. That was the last time I had sex (I don’t know if that’s important). Now, the placebo pills start after the 24th pill, and the withdrawal bleeding (the ‘period’) should start then. However, I started bleeding the morning after taking the 20th pill. I used to have light breakthrough bleeding all month long during the first few packs, but that had stopped. This is the 4th/5th pack I’m on, so it shouldn’t be normal. I experienced mild PMS symptoms as usual (swollen and slightly tender breasts, constipation, very mild cramps), and nothing else. The bleeding is dark red at times and dark brown at others, as my usual period, and it is rather thick and viscous and with very small clots (also as my usual period). Both the appearance and the volume (a few pads a day) were consistent with the beggining of a period, but three days have passed and today it stopped. As of today, I’m still two active pills away from starting the placebo pills. I’m concerned about the timing and about the fact that it has stopped (maybe it continues later, or when I actually start the placebo pills, I don’t know). Could this be implantation bleeding? Could I be pregnant? From what I’ve read, this is unusually red, thick and abundant to be implantation bleeding, but I don’t know. I’m terrified. I have no access to a pregnancy test (too long to explain). This month I started a weight loss plan and therefore made big changes in my diet and exercise, and shed some weight. Could this have anything to do? Opinions? Thank you!

    • unwirklich admin

      I’d agree this doesn’t sound like implantation bleeding. Exercise in particular will cause some hormonal flux, and as Yaz is so low dose, that flux could still affect your cycle. It’s very likely that’s what happened here. I do have a page on exercise and fertility here.

  • zoey

    I recently had sex with my bf 3 days ago. Today and yesterday I experienced small amounts of blood and it’s kind of concerning me…. I have an implant in my arm and I’m not sure when I’m supposed to have my period. Can this be implantation blood or am I just being too nervous? I also have been cramping in one spot in my stomach. If I can get answers soon I would appreciate it.

    • unwirklich admin

      3 days is too soon for implantation bleeding, it could be cervical or vaginal wall bleeding from the intercourse, normal mid-cycle spotting, or ovulatory bleeding. In the last case, pregnancy is possible, but the probability is exceptionally low with an implant and intercourse 3 days before. We’re talking a less than .05%.