What They Didn't Teach You in Sex-Ed: Top 5 Pregnancy Myths Revealed

It takes two to tango. HealthCentral's expert Eileen Bailey shares five common myths about pregnancy that women AND men need to know before getting it on.

MYTH #1: You can't get pregnant during your period

A study by the National Instistute of Environmental Sciences shows that this isn't necessarily true. Sperm can live inside a woman for five days, therefore women can become pregnant even if they have sex during their period.

MYTH #2: Pregnancy can be avoided if the man pulls out before ejaculation

A small amount of sperm is released before ejaculation and could cause pregnancy. Ejaculation can occur without much warning and there may not be enough time to pull out. Lastly, even if the ejaculation occurs near the vagina, sperm can still enter the vagina and result in fertilization.

MYTH #3: Showering or douching after sex washes out sperm and prevents pregnancy

It takes only a second for sperm to enter the cervix after ejaculation. By the time a woman gets up, goes to the bathroom, and showers, pregnancy could have already begun. Douching can cause yeast infections and should only be done under the advice of a physician.

MYTH #4: You can't get pregnant the first time you have sex

Once a girl reaches puberty and gets her first period, she can get pregnant. A woman or girl can get pregnant if she has sex during the fertile part of her cycles. Fertile cycles can begin as early as the fourth day of a mnestrual cycle or up to the 60th day of the menstrual cycle. Anytime during her fertile cycle, the chances of pregnancy are high.

MYTH #5: Pregnancy only happens after a certain age and ends when a woman reaches 40

It's possible to become pregnant from your first period until one year after your last period ends. Young women can become pregnant immediately after their first menstrual cycle. Although fertility declines as a woman ages, pregnancy is still possible. It's possible to become pregnant up to one year after your last period.

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The HealthCentral Editorial Team

HealthCentral's team of editors based in New York City and Arlington, VA, collaborates with patient advocates, medical professionals, and health journalists worldwide to bring you medically vetted information and personal stories from people living with chronic conditions to help you navigate the best path forward with your health—no matter your starting point.