Can I Get Pregnant If He Pulls Out?

Can you get pregnant if he pulls out? The short answer is yes, you can. The pull-out method, also called the withdrawal method, is not a reliable way to prevent pregnancy. But it works better than doing nothing. And it can be an option for some couples who wouldn't mind getting pregnant.

How Does It Work?

The man takes his penis out of the woman's vagina before he ejaculates so fewer sperm get inside. But it's not as easy as it sounds. A man needs a lot of control to time it right. It doesn't work if he can't feel when he's close to orgasm or if he is so caught up in the moment that he doesn't pull out in time.

Here are some tips to make it work better:

  • Use a spermicide.
  • Don't rely on withdrawal on the days you're most likely to get pregnant. You can keep track of which days are safest with an ovulation calendar.
  • Have your partner pee before sex to clear out any sperm that may have gotten an early start.
  • When your partner ejaculates outside you, make sure no fluid gets on your upper thighs or groin. Sperm on your skin can work its way inside your vagina.


How Effective Is It?

Only 4% of couples who do everything right every time get pregnant in a given year. But most couples don't do it perfectly. In those cases, about 25% of couples who use it get pregnant.

By comparison, about 18% of couples who use condoms get pregnant. For couples who leave it to chance, it's as many as 85%.

Is It Right for You?

Pulling out is not a reliable method of birth control if you really don't want to get pregnant. And it does nothing to protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). So it's not a good option if there's any chance you could get something from your partner.

But for couples who wouldn't mind a surprise pregnancy, the withdrawal method has benefits. It's free and convenient. It has no side effects, and you don't need to see a doctor or get a prescription.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on June 03, 2018



Bedsider: "5 myths about pulling out, busted."

CDC: "Contraception."

Feminist Women's Health Center: "Withdrawal ('Pulling Out')."

Planned Parenthood: "Withdrawal (Pull-Out Method)."

Trussell, J. Contraception, May 2011.


© 2018 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.