Expert TalkExpert Talk: Is The Pull-Out Method An Effective Form Of Birth Control?...

Expert Talk: Is The Pull-Out Method An Effective Form Of Birth Control? A Doctor Weighs In

A number of contraception methods were introduced and evolved as the concept of family planning became a norm. These methods and their effect can range from temporary to permanent, depending on your need. But sometimes people like to go for natural alternatives and the pull-out method has to be the most popular among these. In the pull-out method, the partner ejaculates after pulling their penis from the vagina and from the genitals (vulva). The intention is to stop sperm from entering your vaginal canal so that they can’t travel to your fallopian tubes.

This is the method to avoid semen transfer in women’s bodies. Compared to other forms of contraception, it is less effective and does not provide the same level of STI protection that condoms do. Still, if you want to have sex without condoms but want to lower your risk of pregnancy, the pull-out approach is preferable to using no birth control at all.

The Channel 46 collaborated with Dr Madhushree, Consultant – Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, to advise you on whether the pull-out method is effective in preventing pregnancy.

How Effective Is The Pull-Out Method When It Comes To Preventing Pregnancy?

The pull-out technique has an 80% success rate. When using the pull-out technique for birth control, about one in five people get pregnant.

Expert Talk: Guide 101 On The Pull-Out Technique Being An Effective Birth Control

Even in the best-case scenario, if your partner pulls out on time, pregnancy is not always avoided by this method. To have better results, many things must go flawlessly. There is no guarantee that it won’t result in pregnancy. 

Read: Birth Control 101—Picking The Method That’s Right For You

3 Mistakes You Can Make With The Pull-Out Method

There are a number of situations where you can go wrong with the technique: 

1. Making A Timing Error

It can be challenging to predict the exact moment at which ejaculation will occur. When pleasure is at its peak, it can be difficult to activate the logical part of the brain that tells you it’s time to stop. Inexperienced partners could not be comfortable enough with their bodies to anticipate when they’ll likely ejaculate. 

2. Sperm-Containing Pre-Ejaculate Fluid

In the case that your partner leaves on time, sperm can still enter your body. Your partner releases a fluid called pre-ejaculate, which may include sperm, before ejaculation. 

3. Getting The Semen On Or Near The Vulva

Additionally, sperm on your genitalia and upper thighs has the potential to result in pregnancy. If your partner leaves quickly enough, sperm won’t be able to enter your vagina. The fluid that is released throughout the process may end up on your upper thighs or vulva. Sperms have great swimming abilities. Sperm can enter your vagina if there is a fluid pathway from your genitalia or thighs.

3 Possible Disadvantages Of The Pull-Out Method

In addition to biological factors that contribute to the pull-out method’s failure, the pull-out method:

  1. Place the burden of birth control on the partner who has little risk of becoming pregnant. You, as a woman, have no control over your likelihood of getting pregnant via the pull-out method. 
  2. You could get pregnant if your partner pulls the trigger at the wrong time or decides against it because the intercourse feels too good.
  3. You still have a high risk of STIs, since this method does not allow hygienic contact like condoms.

Read: Pros & Cons Of Birth Control Pills (& Dose Miss Ho Toh Kya Karna Chahiye)

5 Reasons Some People Prefer The Pull-Out Method

Expert Talk: Guide 101 On The Pull-Out Technique Being An Effective Birth Control

Many couples continue to use the pull-out technique in spite of the risks involved for a variety of reasons:

  1. It takes away the need to look for and select more potent contraceptives.
  2. There’s a chance that couples are ignorant of better birth control options (like LARCs or birth control pills).
  3. Birth control methods that require devices, pills, injections, or patches may not be acceptable to couples or they’re afraid their family will find out.
  4. The pull-out technique keeps sex spontaneous. When things start to heat up, you don’t have to immediately find protection.
  5. Contrary to some birth control methods, there is no chance of adverse side effects unrelated to pregnancy.

5 Things To Consider Before Using The Pull-Out Method

Try the following to increase the pull-out method’s efficacy if you decide to use it.

  1. Use a second method of birth control. The most effective technique to lower your risk of pregnancy is to combine the pull-out method with another type of birth control. IUDs and implants are two forms of long-acting reversible contraception that are 99% effective at preventing conception. 
  2. In addition to the pull-out procedure, using spermicides and contraceptive gels reduces your chance of getting pregnant.
  3. Avoid using the pull-out technique during ovulation. Your chances of getting pregnant are highest these days.
  4. Before intercourse, make your partner urinate. Your partner can eliminate sperm-containing pre-ejaculate fluid by peeing before sex, which can reduce the possibility of you getting pregnant.
  5. Maintain a supply of emergency contraception. If you’re employing the pull-out strategy, prepare for the worst-case circumstances. 

The pull-out method is preferred by couples who aren’t worried about getting pregnant during intercourse. Either way, it’s only advisable to move forward with awareness about the consequences, and preferably opt for ‘safe sex’ over ‘spray and pray’, so to speak.

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