Does The Withdrawal Method Prevent Pregnancy?

As far as birth control options are concerned, few are as free and readily available as the withdrawal method. Also known as pulling out, this method doesn't require any medication or devices, just total trust in your partner's bodily control. But can you get pregnant with the withdrawal method anyway? Pulling out is far from perfect.

To better illustrate this idea, imagine a group of 100 women who try various ways to avoid pregnancy. First, consider the odds of getting pregnant without any use of birth control. As noted by Kids Health, approximately 85 out of 100 women will get pregnant within a year if they don't use any birth control. Although plenty of other factors contribute to the odds of pregnancy, including health conditions, cycle timing, and age, these are the baseline numbers. With this in mind, the withdrawal method is better than nothing. According to The Mayo Clinic, approximately 28 out of 100 women who use the pull out method for a year will become pregnant. However, it's still far from the best option available. In contrast, fewer than 1 out of 100 women with an IUD will become pregnant within a year, as explained by Planned Parenthood. So, clearly, relying solely on the pull-out method is not super effective.

Additionally, the withdrawal method is not the easiest form of birth control available. The male partner has to know his body well, then time his withdrawal carefully to avoid ejaculation inside the vagina. Even with the best of intentions and self-control, this kind of timing can be tricky to manage. It's a lot to think about at a time when thinking is difficult for most people.

That said, there are a few steps you can take to make the withdrawal method more effective. According to Planned Parenthood, it's a good idea to pair pulling out with another method of birth control, such as using a condom. You could also consider keeping some emergency contraception on hand in case of an accident. Whatever method(s) you choose, hopefully you and your partner will enjoy a safe, fulfilling sex life.