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Can A Woman Get Pregnant If She Is NOT Ovulating?

Published: May 30, 2009
Dear TeenHealthFX,
My girlfriend wants to have sex and I do too, but I am the more cautious one when it comes to things like pregnancy and I get verry worried. My question basically is can a woman get pregnant if she is NOT ovulating?
Signed: Can A Woman Get Pregnant If She Is NOT Ovulating?

Dear Can A Woman Get Pregnant If She Is NOT Ovulating?,

 

Ovulation is the process where an egg is released from the ovaries. Pregnancy cannot occur without ovulation ever taking place, as without ovulation there would be no egg to fertilize. However, it is possible for a woman to get pregnant if she has sex while she is not currently ovulating. Sperm can survive in the uterus generally for 3-5 days (in some cases up to 7 days), so if a woman has intercourse within the 7 day period prior to ovulating, then it is possible that once she starts to ovulate there would be sperm still living in the uterus that could fertilize the egg and pregnancy could occur.

Having sex only during the times that are not during or close to the time of ovulation is a type of birth control often referred to as the “Rhythm Method.” However, FX does NOT recommend that teens and young adults rely on the Rhythm Method to prevent pregnancy. It is a very unreliable method of birth control with one of the lowest efficiency ratings of all the different methods of birth control. FX has three main concerns with relying on the Rhythm Method:

·         The low efficacy rating

·         The difficulty of using this method for teens and young adults. When girls first start menstruating, it can take years before the menstrual cycle regulates. The Rhythm Method can be somewhat of a gamble as a birth control method, but when used by young women with irregular periods, it becomes an extreme gamble. FX gets questions all the time about girls with irregular periods, or teens and young women who had regular periods for some time and suddenly after months or years of a regular period experience period irregularity.

·         The lack of protection against the transmission of STDs, including HIV. The Rhythm Method provides NO protection against any STDs.

If you want to protect you and your girlfriend against unwanted pregnancies, know that the only way to have 100% protection against unwanted pregnancies and the transmission of STDs is abstinence. If you choose to have sex, then FX recommends the following:

·         Using a new condom each and every time you have intercourse.

·         Being on a back-up method of birth control such as the pill.

Keep in mind that condoms offer protection against unwanted pregnancies and STDs when used consistently and correctly, and that the pill offers protection against unwanted pregnancies when used consistently and correctly. You can read more about different types of birth control methods and their efficacy rates in our answer Updated Birth Control Information.

FX recommends that you and your girlfriend meet with a medical health professional to discuss the best birth control methods for you. If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-6475 for an appointment or Girl’s Street – A Young Woman’s Health Program – at 908.522.2555. You can also contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood, or call your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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