6 Things That Make You More Likely To Get Pregnant If You're Not Careful About Them, According To Experts
In the heat of a sexy moment, having to go through a mental checklist of all the ways you’ve made the effort to prevent an unwanted pregnancy is pretty much the linear definition of a turnoff. You’d think as long as you’ve got some form of birth control on your side, you should be good to go, right? Well, not exactly. See, there are a handful of things that can make you more likely to get pregnant. Some are pretty sneaky, some really are just common sense. But hey, I’m not pointing any fingers here. Nobody’s perfect, and I’m no stranger to the notion that it’s not always possible to be 100 percent prepared. You can, however, come pretty close, if you do your research.
Even though the whole “it’ll never happen to me” mindset is super appealing, assistant professor at NYU School of Medicine, Dr. Daniel Roshan, M.D., F.A.C.O.G, F.A.C.S, tells Elite Daily that statistics show 50 percent of pregnancies are not planned. But here’s the catch: Of these surprise pregnancies, Roshan also notes that “not using any contraception or not using them the proper way” are the most common reasons for why they happen in the first place.
So let’s say you’re using some form of birth control, and you’re pretty responsible when it comes to using your preferred method correctly. What else goes into preventing pregnancy other than birth control?
Listen, I know I don’t have to tell you that the only surefire way to prevent pregnancy is to not have sex. I’m sure your parents and health teachers have already communicated that fact numerous times over the years. However, I also know that not everyone wants to remain celibate until they’re ready to have kids, and that’s OK. You are more than entitled to explore your sexuality in any way with anyone you choose (with consent, of course). But if you know for a fact that you don’t envision yourself with a bun in the oven any time soon, taking advantage of all preventative measures available to you is key.
Your first line of defense is going to be narrowing down what form of birth control is right for you. Keep in mind, there are all different types of birth control — from oral contraception, to devices you can insert into your arm — so it’s important to ask your OBGYN about the many options out there. After all, hormonal medication isn’t for everyone, and you should never feel like popping pills is your only option.
On top of birth control, however, it's a good idea to make yourself aware of some of the more unexpected things that can make you more likely to get pregnant. Here are a few to watch out for, according to experts.
You Aren't Following Your BC Schedule Closely Enough
In no way, shape, or form am I about to shame you for not taking your birth control pills at the same time every day because goodness knows, I've been there. Unless you have an alarm going off around that time to spark your memory, sometimes, life gets busy, and you slip up.
But whether you just simply pop the pill a few hours later than normal, or miss a day altogether, Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, director of perinatal services at NYC Health and Hospitals/Lincoln, who's double board-certified in OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine, says these little mishaps can lead to unwanted pregnancy.
To make sure you're staying on top of it, try the phone-alarm trick, or commit to taking your pill with breakfast each morning, or before you brush your teeth at night. The goal is to find a routine you know you can be consistent with.
You're Only Relying On Your Partner To Use Birth Control
In addition to not being consistent with taking your birth control, Gaither tells Elite Daily that using defective condoms (i.e. not checking for holes, using the same condom for multiple rounds, using condoms that are old and might break during sex, etc.) is one of the many reasons why unintended pregnancies can happen.
Of course, if you're having sex with someone you're in a relationship with and/or genuinely trust, I'm sure they wouldn't use a faulty condom on purpose. However, the truth is, when it comes to safe sex, the only person you can definitively depend on is yourself. If you know your partner's supplying the condom, great, but just make sure you're also doing your part if you want to be extra careful.
You're Banking On The Pull-Out Method
To reiterate, no birth control method is 100 percent effective. However, withdrawal, otherwise known as "the pull-out method," puts you at a very high risk of pregnancy, especially if this is the only method you're banking on. "Pre-ejaculate or not pulling out in time puts you at risk for pregnancy," Ann Mullen, director of health education at Cycle Technologies and creator of the Dot App, tells Elite Daily. "It's not a good method of preventing pregnancy, especially if you use it during your fertile time."
Having Sex In Between Birth Control Methods Can Be Risky
You should absolutely switch birth control methods if whatever you've been prescribed, or whatever you thought would work for your body, is negatively affecting your quality of life in some way, whether that means you feel ill or just simply off. At the same time, though, if you are in the middle of transitioning from one form of birth control to the next, Mullen tells Elite Daily this is definitely one of those times when you'll want to double up on methods.
"If a woman is transitioning between methods, this can be a time when she is most at risk for pregnancy," Mullen explains. "She may not yet have committed to using a new method, or gotten a supply of whatever method she wants to use."
Plus, it takes a little while for birth control to kick in, Mullen adds, so it's better to be safe than sorry, and to look for other methods you can use in the meantime, like the male condom or female diaphragm.
You Don't Always Plan Ahead
Listen: How and when you choose to explore your sexuality is 100 percent between you and your partner. That being said, spontaneous affairs can be a wonderful, incredibly exciting rush, but they can also be irresponsible if you're left in the heat of the moment without protection.
"Spontaneous, unexpected sex without access to protection is very risky," Mullen tells Elite Daily, adding that it's important that you not only find a birth control method that works for you, but plan ahead for how you're going to protect yourself should these spontaneous instances happen.
You Aren't Super Familiar With Your Body And How The Menstrual Cycle Works
Elina Berglund, chief technology officer and co-founder of the digital birth control app, Natural Cycles, tells Elite Daily that above all else, it's important to have some understanding of the four phases of your menstrual cycle. Aside from the fact that it's just super beneficial to familiarize yourself with your body and become more mindful of how it operates and feels on a daily basis, getting to know the ins and outs of your cycle can also help you identify when you're ovulating, aka when your body is the most fertile.
One way to go about doing this is to track your cycle via pen and paper, or through an app like Natural Cycles, which collects data based on your unique body. This type of technology will alert you on days when your fertility is high (these are called "red" days) as a reminder to use birth control. It's effective, and educational.