Pregnancy can be a surprising thing. Not everyone anticipates it, even if they want to have children someday. In fact, many people find out that becoming pregnant can happen in more ways than just... well, traditionally.
At many points in a woman's life, there are times when she's more fertile than others and is more likely to conceive, possibly without realizing it. The reproductive system works in some wild ways and many of them are quite sneaky. When the process of having a child is broken down, there are only two things that need to join in order to create a baby... At times, it can be easier than some may think.
In this article, we'll be diving into those pivotal moments where one may think they're guarded against pregnancy but, in reality, are not. This will include anything from accidentally and unbelievably rare instances to common situations that lend themselves to fertilization. They're essentially pregnancy blunders, things that happen and are so unexpected that all one can do is scratch their head at the thought. Perhaps someone reading this has had this happen and can now take comfort in knowing exactly how and why it happened. Either way, these methods are surprising, can be nerve-wracking and ultimately, unexpected.
20 During Menopause
Yes, it's true! Menopause is an interesting phase in a woman's life where her reproductive system begins gracefully bowing out. During this time of hot flashes and mood swings, a woman might think that there's no way she can become pregnant. This notion has been responsible for many late-in-life pregnancies, most of which are rather unexpected.
While Black Cohosh and chamomile tea might help to jump some of the bigger hurdles of menopause, counting on not getting pregnant isn't a sure bet. It's best to check with a doctor in the event that you're unsure because while the symptoms are there, a woman's uterus could still be releasing eggs.
19 During Non-Ovulation Times
This is essentially what the "calendar method" calls for. If a woman has an incredibly reliable cycle and can nearly set her watch by when her monthly friend comes and goes, she might think it's okay to be active during non-ovulation days. This is not true.
A non-ovulation day simple means a day when an egg is not being released but it doesn't mean that fertilization is impossible. All this means is that fertilization is less likely which is never a guarantee that a woman can't become pregnant.
Everything needed to create a baby can stay relatively active for days in a woman's uterus before her chances of becoming pregnant disappear.
18 Breastfeeding Doesn't Mean Pregnancy Isn't Possible
Many think that women can't become pregnant while breastfeeding and it's quite the myth when it comes to pregnancy. This is a tricky thing since a woman's cycle might not begin again immediately after she has given birth. Additionally, ovulation is somewhat suppressed by hormones released during the time a woman is breastfeeding which makes things challenging but not impossible.
When it comes down to it, a woman's chances of becoming pregnant while breastfeeding is slightly lowered but not impossible. Having a backup method of birth control is always advisable to avoid getting pregnant so soon after giving birth.
17 Sometimes, Pregnancy Can Go Unnoticed Altogether
In very, very rare cases, a pregnancy may even go unnoticed until the last trimester. This has happened before to women who were either very active or had gained several clothing sizes over the course of nine months. They simply had minimal or almost no symptoms at all and considered the lack of or their minimal flow each month to be the result of the two things previously mentioned.
While incredibly unusual, it does happen -- which is why women should always be aware of every symptom that differs from their normal cycle and any sudden or extreme changes. Crazier things have happened and even if you've only been active once, once is more than enough.
16 Contraception Is Susceptible To Extreme Temperatures
It's entirely possible for birth control to reach its limit when exposed to extreme hot or cold temperatures. Many birth control packs will come with a warning, telling the user to avoid exposing them to temperatures below roughly 50 degrees or above 75.
A good rule of thumb is to keep them in the bathroom near your toothbrush so that they can be taken every day at the same time, but also be kept at a constant temperature. Any contraceptive method is susceptible to temperature change, though -- not just birth control pills. Extra caution should be taken to ensure that any of these pictured are kept in a safe, room-temperature location.
15 The "Calendar Method" Is A Bad Idea
Some women will swear by the "calendar method" of tracking ovulation and their monthly cycle. While this is useful when determining when a woman's most fertile days are, it's essentially useless when it comes to attempting to prevent a pregnancy. Our bodies have their own internal clocks and it's simply not possible to prevent conception just by being active on non-ovulation days.
Non-ovulation days simply mean that there's not as high a chance of becoming pregnant but it does not mean that there's no chance at all. It's a dicey way of going about things if a woman is trying to avoid pregnancy and simply not conducive to a logical method of birth control.
14 The (Extremely) Rare Case Of A Flu Shot Pregnancy
Surprise! This didn't actually happened and was actually debunked by Snopes. What actually happened is that a 14-year-old Texas teen attempted to pin her unexpected pregnancy on the fact that she'd recently gotten a flu shot. While it's not possible to conceive via means of vaccination, it is possible that being sick can affect fertility.
Depending on which medications a woman is on these can interfere with birth control. Additionally, a weakened immune system might lead to the belief that pregnancy is not likely due to the overall weakening of the body, which is also inaccurate. While it is harder to conceive while one is sick or recovering, it's not impossible.
13 St. John's Wart Will Counteract Birth Control
This is something that's not very well-known and it's not as though St. John's Wart is something that's used actively and all the time. However, it is worth mentioning that this herb can absolutely interfere with the effectiveness of birth control and even cancel out its effects completely.
This is one thing to be avoided if on the pill or using another form of contraception. If a woman is actively using this, it's best to consult a doctor and find out if there are other just as effective methods of birth control that they can use simultaneously. St. John's Wart isn't the only herb that can reduce the effectiveness of birth control, but it's one of the strongest.
12 Certain Medications Can Interfere With Birth Control
Additionally, there are certain medications that can completely counteract the effectiveness of birth control pills. This is why doctors will always ask beforehand if a woman is on any other types of medications and birth control is always something to list here.
Something as simple as a temporary medication to treat a mild illness can have negative effects on birth control, so it's always best to double-check and to be completely honest with your doctor. It's better to know this list of potentially counteractive medications rather than wonder months later if you've skipped a pill or have done something incorrectly.
11 Not Being Fertile Can Come With A "What If"
If a doctor delivers the solemn news that a woman is not able to get pregnant, that doesn't mean that it can't happen. Sadly, it's not something to raise hopes over but it is possible that stranger things have happened besides a woman getting pregnant when it was previously declared that she couldn't.
The human body has many ways of working and an unexpected pregnancy due to the idea that she can't get pregnant has happened before. Depending on the cause of the issue as well as how her reproductive system continues to grow and potentially repair itself, it's quite possible that not all inconceivable cases will remain that way.
10 Additionally, Tube-Tying Is Not Always 100%
We're only human and as such can only do human things. While it's extremely rare, tubal ligation isn't always 100%. After a woman gets her tubes tied or "clipped", in some rare cases, she can still become pregnant if the procedure results in an error. While highly unlikely and extremely uncommon, there's always a chance.
Depending on the purpose for ligation, a doctor will be able to go over options and, between the two of you, a decision can be made based on what's best based on a woman's anatomy and needs. There are several different ways of going about this if a woman wants to permanently decrease her chances of becoming pregnant.
9 Bathtubs Aren't A Safe Bet Either
Bath time can be super romantic and hold plenty of allure for those who don't want to become pregnant because logically it shouldn't be possible that way. However, this is not always the case.
Plenty of things can survive up to several minutes in warm water, including the one thing a woman does not want near her while trying to avoid conceiving. It doesn't matter which way you spin it, this is never and will never be a surefire option for avoiding pregnancy.
Water does not serve as an efficient enough defensive method and won't hold water (pun fully intended) when it comes to the rules of fertility.
8 Acupuncture Can Increase Fertility
What has been long hailed as one of the greatest practices for relieving chronic pain, headaches, and tension, acupuncture has also been suspected of increased fertility rates. The practice of acupuncture dates back centuries and has been used as a way to both deal with damage and encourage healing.
By sticking crucial pressure points, an acupuncture patient might notice relaxation in their muscles, positive mood changes, and an overall feeling of satisfaction. There are no definitive studies to prove in all certainty that acupuncture can help a woman become pregnant, but it will certainly improve one's mood. This can lead to decreased stress levels, which can ultimately affect the potential for conceiving.
7 Superfetation Is Legitimate
Although it sounds like a complicated process, it's really quite simple. This is obviously rare since not many people can lay claim to the fact that they've gotten pregnant while already being pregnant.
In rare instances, a second egg can become fertilized while a woman is already pregnant, which can then attach itself to the uterine wall. While the first pregnancy continues, the second one will also begin, resulting in somewhat of a double pregnancy.
This is how a mother will end up with two children who are incredibly close in age because their bodies have found a way to naturally get around the nine-month timeline that most pregnancies follow.
6 Expired Birth Control Is Less Effective
While obvious, it sometimes goes unchecked. In many occasions, women will have access to birth control in advance and be given a prescription for several refills to avoid coming back each month to get a new one.
In the event that a woman takes herself off birth control and then decides to go back on it, they might be surprised to find that their contraception has already expired. Just like any other type of medication, birth control pills can expire just as easily as anything else, rendering them far less effective.
The good news is that these packets will have clearly-marked expiration dates on them and if you're unsure, it's best to just throw them out and start over with a new pack.
5 Failure Rates Of Birth Control
There is a percentage of failure rates when it comes to birth control. It's not something to worry or obsess over since much of this rate consists of user error, but it is something to be aware of. While most birth controls have preventative rates of at least 95% or higher -- with an IUD being almost 99% effective -- there is still room for error.
This can occur if birth control is skipped, expired, taken while sick, taken the wrong way, or taken at the wrong time (if on a progestin-only pill), etc. The best thing to do is confirm with your doctor how to go about taking birth control because he or she will be able to provide helpful tips and advice for avoiding user error.
4 Obviously, Forgetting To Take Birth Control
Most pills nowadays will tell you the exact percentage rate for effectiveness if a day or several are skipped in between doses. While it's never a good idea to skip a pill, the effectiveness will decrease slightly if one day is skipped. By the second and third days, that rate goes down drastically, and by the fourth day, it's virtually non-effective.
It's important to remember to take pills every day but it's also important to take the ones that have been skipped. Most pills will require a catch-up method, or taking two the following day, two the next day before returning to the one-a-day pill routine. Always keep and read the directions to avoid an inactive birth control method.
3 And Then Essure Isn't Even 100%
Essure has been under fire for several cases in which the process didn't take and wasn't efficient or caused other problems. The idea is that once Essure -- a metal spring -- is inserted into the fallopian tubes, scar tissue will grow up and around it, preventing any type of conception from happening.
In rare cases, scar tissue didn't grow properly or the metal spring was responsible for more problems than actually helping the cause. There is no certain measure for preventing pregnancy other than the days following menopause, therefore, with anything of this nature, there will always be a percentage of ineffectiveness.
2 During An Irregular Cycle
Just because a cycle isn't considered "normal" in the sense that a woman meets up with Aunt Flo every 28 days or so, doesn't mean that she's not able to become pregnant. Many may think that an irregular cycle can decrease the chances of getting pregnant but it really all depends on the cause of the irregularity.
If nothing else, an irregular cycle will just lead to the inability to definitively say for sure when a woman is ovulating without a test. Cycles can become irregular due to normal things such as increased physical activity, stress levels, illness, etc., and it doesn't mean there is something wrong with a woman's reproductive system, per se.
1 Misjudging When To Use Contraceptive Products
This is a big one. It is completely possible to misuse a contraceptive method which is why no birth control will never be 100% effective. The closest any method will get is likely 99%, with the other 1% accounting for either user error or some form of rejection from the body.
User error can include anything from forgetting to take a pill, exposing it to extreme temperatures, not taking it correctly, etc. Other forms of contraceptive can be rendered ineffective by not using them correctly or applying them incorrectly, whereas the error would be in the process rather in its usage and it's easier to do than one might think.