Pregnancy prevention advice


Question: Can my girlfriend get pregnant from having anal sex?

— Clueless and Concerned

Dear Clueless and Concerned,

Technically no, a woman cannot become pregnant from anal sex. For her to get pregnant your semen would have to reach her fallopian tubes and your little swimmers can’t arrive at that destination through her rectum.

However, if after having anal sex the semen happened to leak out of her anus and into her vagina, she could then become pregnant. Of course, the chances of this happening are quite slim unless she happened to lie on her stomach for an extended period of time immediately following anal sex. Just to be on the safe side, you should always use a condom when engaging in anal, vaginal, and oral sex.

If you and your partner are especially concerned about the chances of an unplanned pregnancy, you might want to discuss hormonal birth control methods (such as the pill, the patch, or the shot) in addition to condom use.

Question: Can a girl get pregnant when she is on her period?

— Aunt Flo

Dear Aunt Flo,

Yes, a girl can become pregnant even when she is on her period. In most cases, a woman with a regular 28-day menstrual cycle has a lower chance of becoming pregnant during her period because typically she won’t ovulate (release an egg) until about 10-14 days after the first day of her period. However, many women have irregular cycles and ovulate at all different times of the month. Some women with a regular 28-day cycle ovulate more than once per month which would increase the likelihood of pregnancy during her period. There is a type of birth control (known as the rhythm method) in which a woman keeps track of her menstrual cycle and abstains from sex on her fertile days. But this isn’t as effective as other methods and should really only be used if an unplanned pregnancy would be acceptable at this point in your lives.

You should also take into consideration the fact that even if a woman isn’t ovulating at the time she has sex, sperm can live inside of her body for 5-7 days. So if she happened to release an egg within that time frame, she could become pregnant.

If you’ve had unprotected sex or if the condom broke, emergency contraception (the morning-after-pill) can be taken within five days after sexual intercourse to help prevent an unplanned pregnancy. The sooner it’s taken, the more effective it is. You can get emergency contraception at most pharmacies without a prescription if you are 18 or older.

If you are under 18, it needs to be prescribed by a doctor. Planned Parenthood of Marquette (906-225-5070) and the Vielmetti Health Center on campus (906-227-2355) both carry Plan B emergency contraception.

Editor’s Note: Lyndsay Mercier is a senior Psychology major. She is also the president of Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood, a trained sexual education peer educator and a teaching apprentice for Psychology of Sex Behaviors. Lyndsay is not a medical doctor and her advice should never replace the advice of a doctor. E-mail her your sexual health related questions at: [email protected].