Can you get pregnant if he pulls out in time?

Short answer: Yes. Read on to find out what you should do instead

By Kaukab Tahir

KARACHI: The withdrawal or the pull out method during sex is a surprisingly common practice a lot of couples use to avoid pregnancy.

To break it down for you, many people believe that keeping semen away from the vagina — i.e. pulling the penis out of the vagina before ejaculation —will prevent pregnancy.

We spoke to two Karachi based doctors, a gynecologist Dr Sadia Ahsan Pal and a general practitioner and sonologist Dr Kishwar Lucas to settle the matter once and for all: Can you get pregnant if he pulls out in time?

“It is a poor family planning method with the highest failure rate,” Dr Pal says.

Dr Lucas endorsed this and added that 30% to 35% of women who use this method get pregnant.

Both doctors share other effective contraception methods:


This includes birth control pills and injections and applies to the female. Pills are prescribed for consumption on a daily basis. Injections are taken on a monthly, two monthly or three monthly basis. Hormonal methods are considered safest, according to Dr Pal, whereas Dr Lucas recommends pills.


This method consists of using condoms. According to Dr Lucas, condoms may also result in failures.

Intrauterine device (IUD) or Marina

IUD is a device inserted into the uterine cavity.

This method is commonly used by women who already have children, according to Dr Pal, or by women who decide against having children.


This method is quite effective but requires careful planning based on the timing and days of ovulation. If your period lasts for a total of four days, the next six days are safe to have sex. The following 10 days will then be the time to ovulate which means there will be greater chances of getting pregnant, Dr Lucas says.

The last 10 days before your period are also safe.


There are permanent methods for couples to plan their families. In case a couple decides to not to have children, they can opt for surgeries. However, one should be aware that these methods are irreversible. Hence, permanent.

Men undergo a surgical procedure called vasectomy, whereby the small tubes in the male reproductive system that carry sperm are cut off or blocked; following which, sperm does not leave the body or cause pregnancy. Women can opt for a hysterectomy whereby all parts of her uterus are surgically removed.

Side effects of birth control

Dr Lucas says that contraceptives come with side effects and that pills and injections may result in irregular menstrual cycles. Similarly, IUD may result in vaginal discharge, abdominal pain and excessive bleeding during menstruation.

Dr Pal, however, says contraceptives have more benefits than hazards. “It is definitely better to use them instead of subjecting a woman to poor family planning.”


This is part of a series in which we plan on asking questions many of you might be unable to or uncomfortable to ask. If you have any questions, drop us an email on

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