When Birth Control Fails

Can My Birth Control Fail?

September 28, 2018

Even though there are lots of birth control methods which are extremely effective, it is possible to still get pregnant while on birth control.  Approximately half of all unintended pregnancies really happen when you are using birth control. Additionally, certain behaviors or conditions can increase the possibility your birth control will not be as effective at preventing pregnancy. If you’ve undergone birth control failure (like a condom breaking), or your period is overdue, you might be asking yourself, did my birth control fail?

Recall: If you have had unprotected sex or know your birth control failed (within the previous five times ), realize that emergency contraception might still be able to avoid an accidental pregnancy.

How the Female Reproductive System Works

To understand how and when pregnancy actually starts, Have a Look at how the female reproductive system works:

  • In many females, about once a month, several eggs mature, and one is released from the ovary (called ovulation).
  • Up until that time, the lining of the uterus is now thick so it can act as a”nest” for the egg.
  • Once the egg is released, if it isn’t fertilized within 12 to 48 hours, it disintegrates.
  • Approximately two weeks after, the thick lining of the uterus is shedthat is what causes a menstrual period.
  • Your menstrual cycle then starts again (on the first day of the period).


Ovulation typically occurs around 14 or 15 days in the first day of the female’s last menstrual cycle.

It is important to be aware that there might be good variation in ovulation instances. Factors such as stress and diet can affect when you ovulate.

Timing when ovulation happens can be tricky since it might not always occur at the exact same time each month. Generally, research indicates that for women who consistently have spans every 26 to 32 days, conception (becoming pregnant) is most likely to happen during days 8 to 19.

After counting the days of your menstrual cycle, then you must count the day that your period starts as Day 1. Once ovulation occurs, the egg moves to the fallopian tube and is available to be fertilized by a sperm.

In case you have sex around the time that you are ovulating, you’re more likely to get pregnant because this is when you are most fertile. The time from five days leading up to ovulation to the day following childbirth is when unprotected intercourse is the most likely to lead to a pregnancy. That is because sperm can live inside the female body for up to five days. So even if you don’t ovulate for the following four days after having sex, sperm could still be living inside you which can fertilize your egg when it’s released.

If you feel that your birth control might have failed around this time period, you could be at greater risk for an unplanned pregnancy.

Getting Pregnant

The medical community says that pregnancy begins with implantationthat is when the fertilized egg implants into the wall of the uterus. This really occurs several days after the sperm fertilizes the egg. The human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone is only produced once a fertilized egg implants in the uterus). In most women, this happens about six days following conception.

The hCG levels increase significantly with each passing day. Pregnancy tests measure whether hCG is current. Because it may take a minimum of six days after conception to your body to create hCG, taking a pregnancy test too early can give you a false negative result (meaning, you’re, really pregnant, so it was just too early for the exam to detect the hormone). Studies indicate that most pregnancy tests provides precise results if you choose the pregnancy test one week after your missed period.

Can I Pregnant — Can My Birth Control Fail?

Thinking that you may have gotten pregnant while on birth control and don’t wish to be may be stressful.

To increase the confusion, many early pregnancy indications can also be due to other factors. But, in general, the most frequent cause of a missed period is pregnancy. It is also important to note that lots of girls that are pregnant may have spotting or discoloration right throughout the time they are anticipating a period.

Hormones can complicate the issue further. When your period is just late (meaning not due to pregnancy), your body might just be affected by premenstrual anxiety (anxiety, associated with PMS, that happens before you get your period). Furthermore, if you begin to stress about a missing interval, you are able to further stop your period from coming. On the flip side, if you’re pregnant, hormones associated with pregnancy can make you feel stressed.

Getting Pregnant on Birth Control

There are many reasons that becoming pregnant on birth control is possible. The chief reason is user error. Examples of this include not correctly using your birth control (according to its instructions) and/or not necessarily utilizing your arrival control. The condom you used might have broken, or perhaps you missed too many birth control pills. Other reasons That You Might get pregnant while on birth control include:

  • If you use certain drugs that interfere with the effectiveness of your birth control
  • If you use the incorrect size condom
  • in case you don’t take the pill at the same time each day
  • In case your NuvaRing falls out
  • Should you drink too much alcohol
  • if you’re obese
  • If your patch comes away
  • If you use two condoms at the same time
  • If you don’t properly store your arrival control or use it beyond its expiration date.

So, you see, it is likely to get pregnant while on birth control. But keep in mind that these normal user mistakes are factored into the failure rate of each birth control method. When you look at these rates, you generally see two amounts. The greater number is the efficacy with perfect use and the lower number is the effectiveness with normal use (which includes these common mistakes ). So, although getting pregnant on birth control may happen, the odds that it will are still quite low. And don’t worry, should you get pregnant while on the pill (without realizing it), taking the pill while pregnant will not harm your baby.

How to Determine Whether You’re Pregnant

The best way to learn whether you’ve gotten pregnant while on birth control would be to work out in the event that you’ve missed your period. To help you determine if your interval is considered”late,” according to Dr. Kathleen Mammel, Clinical Assistant Professor of Adolescent Medicine in the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor:

“A menstrual cycle is the period of time from day one of your menstrual period to Day One of your next phase. Menstrual cycles vary in length from one girl to the next. They may occur at precisely the same time each month or be intermittent. Ordinarily, a cycle happens about once a month, but may be as short as 21 days or as long as 35 days and still be considered normal. Menstrual flow lasts approximately three to seven days. A menstrual period is considered late if it is five or more days overdue based on a usual pattern of intervals. A span is considered missed if there’s no menstrual flow for a couple of weeks.”

After missing a period of time, the very best and most reliable way to determine if your birth control failed and you have gotten pregnant is to have a pregnancy test.