Woman's Health Centers

When Someone You Love Needs a Choice


Common Sexual Misconceptions

Misconceptions about pregnancy and sexuality are common. This can contribute to confusion. Even some books and online web sites may have misleading or incorrect information. Don’t be embarrassed to ask your healthcare provider for clarification if you are unsure of the accuracy of information you come across. Here we will address briefly some common questions.

What sexual acts can lead to pregnancy?

Pregnancy can occur only when semen enters the vagina through ejaculation or artificial insemination. If sperm does not enter the body the egg cannot be fertilized. You cannot get pregnant through anal sex, oral sex or non-penetration because these acts do not involve putting the penis into the vagina. Sperm cannot get through clothes and cause pregnancy.

Can a woman get pregnant even though she is breast feeding an infant?

Yes. Breast feeding does not prevent pregnancy.

Can you get pregnant even though you are taking oral contraceptives or
using Depo as a means of birth control?

Yes. There is really no perfect method of birth control. Some women get pregnant even when they are taking oral contraceptives correctly, or have had a Depo Provera injection. Sometimes, certain medications, especially antibiotics will interfere with birth control. Women should always use a second method of birth control when they are taking antibiotics. With oral contraceptives, if you miss a pill, you need to use another method of birth control for 7 days until you have had the next 7 doses of oral contraceptives just to be sure you don’t get pregnant.

What is unprotected sex?

If you are trying to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, protection means using a condom during sex. If you are trying to protect yourself from unwanted pregnancy, protection would mean using some reliable form of birth control such as Depo Provera (injection), oral contraceptives, a birth control patch, the vaginal ring, or implant, or some other effective measure such as anti spermicidal products, a cervical cap and foam, or a combination of barrier methods. Only condoms can prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV.

If I take a pregnancy test from a drug store, will it always be

Not always. Some tests are more accurate than others. Sometimes we can get a false negative or false positive result. The most accurate urine pregnancy test can be done by your doctor’s office or clinic. Blood testing can also be done to determine the level of pregnancy hormones present in your blood. Even the most reliable early pregnancy test (EPT) cannot detect a brand new pregnancy. The test done in the clinic can detect a pregnancy as early as 3 - 10 days. Missing a period if you are usually regular may be the first sign of pregnancy. There are other reasons women miss their period. Missing a period does not always mean you are pregnant, but it is a good idea to take a pregnancy test if you are more than a week to 10 days late.

Is the “Morning After Pill” the same as the Abortion Pill?

No. There is specific medication that will prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus if it is taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse. This pill is often called “Plan B”. It is usually very effective. It does not work for all women, all of the time, but can be a good emergency measure to use when a condom breaks, or we have some other interruption in the use of our regular birth control method. This medication is available on a walk-in basis in the clinic. You do not need an appointment. The medication is available to all women age 17 and up without a doctor’s prescription.

Is the morning after pill safe?

Yes, it is very safe. It will not harm you, nor will it interfere with future pregnancies. Even if you are already pregnant and do not know it, the Morning After Pill will not effect your fetus. It only prevents the egg from implanting in the uterus if it is taken within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse. These pills contain the same hormones as in regular contraceptive pills, only in a much higher dose.