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Getting Pregnant While Using Birth Control: Ways Contraceptives are Used Incorrectly and Fail

With every birth control method, there is a failure rate. Each failure rate is based on correct usage. The failure rate will be higher if the method is used incorrectly. If a woman gets pregnant while using birth control, the most likely scenario is the birth control method was not used correctly. Read on to find how each method can be used incorrectly.

Barrier Methods

The most common and readily available birth control is the male condom. The female condom is not as widely available as the male condom, but using both types wrong can result in a pregnancy. Common ways of getting pregnant while using condoms are not putting it on/in correctly. A male condom should always be put on while the penis is erect and unrolled all the way. Also do not use condoms if they are brittle, dry or past the expiration date. A woman can get pregnant if the condom breaks or in the case of lambskin condoms, sperm seeps through the pores and enters the woman. The lambskin condom also has a higher rate of sexually transmitted infections because of the pores.

The diaphragm, cervical cap and sponge can all cause pregnancy if they are not inserted into the vagina correctly. In the case of the diaphragm and cervical cap, spermicide should also be used in conjunction with these because they can also slip out of place and sperm can reach the uterus.

Hormonal Methods

Hormonal methods, including the pill, patch, shot, ring and implant rod could all cause pregnancy if a woman is using one as a sole birth control method while having an irregular menstrual cycle. If a woman has an irregular cycle, she should always talk to her doctor to help her choose the right type of birth control for maximum effectiveness.

In the case of the pill, a woman could become pregnant if she misses one or multiple pills separately or consecutively. She should be taking the pill every day at the same time to ensure effectiveness.

The patch and ring could cause pregnancy by not staying in place, not replacing on time and not placing correctly on/in the body. If for example, the patch falls off the woman’s back while she’s showering before she needs to replace it, she should contact her doctor to see what to do so she won’t get pregnant.

The implant rod is supposed to work for up to three years so if a woman wants to continue preventing pregnancy she should replace and get a new implant within those three years. An implant may cause pregnancy if the doctor does not insert it correctly.

To get pregnant while using the shot, a woman would have to miss her three month appointment to continue getting the shot. The shot should only be injected into an arm or buttock for effectiveness.

Natural Methods

Natural birth control methods include withdrawal and fertility-based awareness/natural family planning. These methods have the highest failure rates and can easily cause pregnancy. To get pregnant while using withdrawal a man would have to not pull out on time (which can easily happen since most men don’t know when they are going to ejaculate) and not using with a back-up method. A man cannot feel his pre-ejaculate and since sperm does reside in that fluid it can easily impregnate a woman before he ejaculates.

Fertility-based awareness is usually relied on by married couples. It tracks fertile days and can help prevent or cause pregnancy. To get pregnant while using this method, a woman would have to not pay attention to her cycle, observe and record her signs wrong, miscalculate days, have sex on fertile days or not use in conjunction with another method.

Medical Methods

Medical birth control (sterilization) is pretty much fool-proof when causing a pregnancy. In the case of vasectomy, it’s recommended to use another method of birth control for the first three months to prevent a pregnancy.

Some women douche after sexual intercourse. Douching is when a woman rinses out her vagina with water or vinegar in an attempt to cleanse the vaginal area and/or remove male seminal fluid to prevent pregnancy. Douching does not prevent pregnancy. Sperm are extremely fast and the pressure of the cleansing can actually push sperm up to the uterus causing an opposite reaction of what is intended. Also douching can actually cause infections and increase a woman’s risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease. Douching should not be used as a form of birth control.

If a woman does become pregnant while using birth control, she should stop using the birth control method immediately and consult her doctor.

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