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to ask how common is it to get pregnant from the withdrawal method

(65 Posts)
AmberSocks Tue 12-Feb-13 10:37:02

or from putting the condom on just before "the moment"?

I know,very silly that i dont even know but until i read the other thread i didnt realise it was so common.

I thought it was one of those things you are told not to do because there is a very rare chance you could get pregnant but really everyone does it,are you supposed to put the condom on as soon as it gets hard???


ComposHat Tue 12-Feb-13 11:59:40

I'm amazed no one has done the old gag -

'What do you call people who use the withdrawal method?'


Ashoething Tue 12-Feb-13 12:01:46

I am very fertile actually sash-I have been pregnant 10 times in all. I am lucky in that I have a very regular cycle and am able to track when I ovulate.

When I conceived ds2-TMI alert!-we had sex that morning and I ovulated that night while I was out with a friend and I actually said to her "I am going to be pregnant this month"-and lo and behold I was!

The unplanned pregnancy was when dh just went ahead and didnt withdraw-and lo and behold I was pregnant then too!grin

Softlysoftly Tue 12-Feb-13 12:17:16

We've used it for 16 years 3 planned pregnancies, conceived 1 month into trying each time. So for us it works. My sister also uses it and again 2 planned dc. No cycle tracking.

However if I were absolutely definitely sure I didn't want any more dc and couldn't accept an accident then I'd seek an alternative form of contraception.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Tue 12-Feb-13 12:21:03

Generally sperm are only released in pre-ejaculate when the man has recently ejaculated - I mean before having sex again - so there is some remaining in the tubes, which then can cause pregnancy.

But it's pretty unlikely. I would guess that in many cases of pregnancy resulting from using this method it's more to do with their not being precise enough about the withdrawing - either some ejaculate has already escaped before withdrawal or else, removal isn't quite quick enough meaning that a little is released on exit.

Pre-ejaculate would not normally contain sperm though. HTH a bit.

scaevola Tue 12-Feb-13 12:24:33

oh dear - now I'm wondering exactly how one collects samples of pre-ejaculate in order to establish sperm levels, and on how large a population it had to be done to get reliable results.

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Tue 12-Feb-13 12:25:39

Oh actually I've just googled it (as you do) and there was another study in 2011 which seemed to suggest that it can be present...only in small quantities though - so there's some confusion as to whether this happens or not. My apologies, thought I was being up to date and clever grin

sleepyhead Tue 12-Feb-13 12:28:29

If sperm is in a position to meet egg, then the chance of pregnancy in any one month (in normally fertile couples) is 20%.

Assuming no sperm is released (which you can't actually assume in rl) then 0% chance of conception.

Assuming no egg is present because you're tracking your cycle (which you can't in rl, because no method of tracking is foolproof and sperm can live longer than you'd think) then 0% chance of conception.

If it's actually working as a method of contraception (ie better than nothing) then presumably it's a less than 20% chance in any one month.

scaevola Tue 12-Feb-13 12:28:41

I wasn't feeling brave enough to google it!

BartletForTeamGB Tue 12-Feb-13 12:30:33

Studies show that the withdrawal method is only slightly less effective than using condoms (18% of women will become pregnant within a year using the withdrawal method typically (4& perfect use) compared to 17% of women using condoms alone (2% perfect use))

Neither method should be relied upon if you are very sure you don't want to get pregnant and every single contraceptive method can fail.

ScarletLady02 Tue 12-Feb-13 12:31:29

I'd say that it doesn't matter how much sperm is only takes one!

scaevola Tue 12-Feb-13 12:33:29

Bartlet: thanks for linking that - it's what I had in mind when I posted above about how incomplete (and therefore inconclusive) the studies on withdrawal are, especially as a single method.

PooFlower Tue 12-Feb-13 12:33:37

We used this method for 11 years resulting in 3 pregnancies (the first one ended in mc) and I have DD 8 yrs and DD age 1
We only used this method just before or after a period using condoms at other times but I fell pregnant three times, I think those months I may have ovulated twice.
In our case, although we were not actively trying for a baby it wasn't the end of the world if I did fall pregnant and we were happy about it.

I have now been sterilised as we don't want anymore children.

I would only recommend this method if you don't mind getting pregnant. like someone else said it just reduces the chance of pregnancy but won't prevent it.

JingleMum Tue 12-Feb-13 12:51:29


This thread is scaring me! I use withdrawal method sometimes, condoms other times.

I have a period tracker on my phone, i had sex on sunday using withdrawal (2 days after my period ended) is there a chance i could get pregnant? I thought it was practically fool proof blush

Ihatemytoes Tue 12-Feb-13 13:00:10

We've been using it for 20 years, alongside tracking my cycle. No unwanted pregnancies here, butI appreciate that we may have just been extremely fortunate.

nicelyneurotic Tue 12-Feb-13 13:14:22

I know about five people who have had kids this way. One of them twice!

I wouldn't risk it.

Sashapineapple Tue 12-Feb-13 13:16:36

My friend uses this method, she has been pregnant twice in the last couple of years.

GoingBackToSchool Tue 12-Feb-13 13:22:08

I had been with my bf for about a year using the withdrawal method, no unplanned pregancies. Went to Family Planning to get contraceptive pills and the woman there almost killed me when she asked me if i was using contraceptions and i said only the withdrawal method!! Her opinion was that it is definitely NOT a sensible contraceptive.

milf90 Tue 12-Feb-13 13:24:13

We've used it for just over a year with no accidents (during fertile times too). The link you gave us says only 4 out of 100 women who do it properly, will get pregnant a year - I personally don't think that's bad. You need to have complete faith in your partner to pull out on time and he needs to know his body enough to be able to do it.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Tue 12-Feb-13 13:24:26

Is stopping just before "the moment" to put a condom on really more satisfactory than using one throughout and not stoping?

daddyorchipsdaddyorchips Tue 12-Feb-13 13:28:57

I find it utterly astounding that anyone would use this "method of contraception" in this day and age.

If you're just not that bothered about an unplanned pregnancy, fair enough. But if you really, really do not want to be upduffed, fgs stick a wrapper on it or something!

Habanada Tue 12-Feb-13 13:34:10

We successfully used the withdrawal method for 10 years.
When we decided to have a child (all 3 times) I got pg first shot, not even the right time in my cycle.

After I give birth this time DH is getting permanently shut off.

Habanada Tue 12-Feb-13 13:35:23

Oh and just to add, I never tracked my cycle.

chicaguapa Tue 12-Feb-13 13:37:53

I got pg using the withdrawal method. hmm Had it been an absolute disaster if that had happened, I wouldn't have been using it. It's not reliable enough if you don't want to get pg under any circumstances.

scaevola Tue 12-Feb-13 13:39:02

The linked survey quotes one study by Hatcher et al. Here's a fuller version of their findings on failure rates of a wide variety of methods. Perfect use of withdrawal is on a par with natural family planning, has twice the failure rate of condom use, and over half the participants had discontinued it as sole contraception before the year was up. Given the discussion in the rest of the paper about major confounders (reporting reliability and concomitant use of additional methods), I don't think the headline figure can carry much more weight than 'best guess', and would certainly look to the typical use failure rate of 22 rather than the 'perfect' one.

5dcsinneedofacleaner Tue 12-Feb-13 13:39:14

I have posted before about this but dc5 was conceived without us ever actually having sex - dh had "the moment" as you call it and somehow some of that must have made its way to the desired area because i found out i was pregnant 3 weeks later. To recap, this was the only time we were anywhere near each other between the birth of dc4 and finding out i was pregnant with dc5. I was also still breastfeeding dc4 and had not started my periods again. Technically the % chance of me getting pregnant at that moment was probably tiny and yet it happened.

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