Movies and books with plots about unplanned and instant pregnancies tend to condition us to think of pregnancy as being easy. In reality however one’s chances of being pregnant are far fewer that writers of fiction may have us believe.
We look at some frequently asked questions about a woman’s chances of pregnancy and the different aspects that affect this:
What are the chances of being pregnant when you start trying?
Much unlike the pregnancy that results from an uncontrolled one-off coupling in movies, in reality pregnancy takes more time. Even when healthy adults have unprotected sex regularly, there is only about a 25% chance of their getting pregnant. Typically a woman will not get pregnant in the first month of trying.
So a woman who is trying to get pregnant need not feel discouraged if she fails to conceive even after a couple of months of trying because the average chances of getting pregnant each time she has sex are low: only about a 1 in 20 chance.
What are the chances of being pregnant when on birth control?
Except for complete abstinence no other method of family planning is thought to be completely fool proof. Though the pill is thought to be very effective as a form of birth control, a few days missed or even significant variations in the time of taking the pill could mean an accidental pregnancy.
Condoms can tear or fail to offer complete protection. Even other forms of contraception such as IUDs can at times malfunction.
What are the chances of being pregnant with a negative pregnancy test?
Though by and large home pregnancy test kits are reliable and accurate, there are times when they could malfunction or give incorrect results.
Firstly if the test is performed too early on (most require you to wait until the day you expect your period) it could show a false negative. Ordinary tests will not detect the pregnancy too early on.
On the other hand, there could be a problem with the test kit – it could be old or expired, or it may be used improperly (though it is difficult to make a mistake about peeing on a stick).
Women also should remember that it is possible to get a false positive on a pregnancy test, if she is on certain medications, of if the pregnancy kit is past its expiration date. Some conditions such as cancer of the liver, and other diseases could also produce a false positive pregnancy test.
What are the chances of being pregnant if you’re still having your period?
There is the fact that many women experience implantation bleeding that occurs at about the same time that a period would normally be due. Though the bleeding is light (more like spotting) and lasts for a shorter duration, it could be mistaken for a period.
Then there are the rare cases that incorrectly indicate chances of being pregnant. In rare cases, some women experience periods all throughout their pregnancy and may in fact not even be aware of being pregnant until they’re quite far along.