couples hold hands during sex on white bedsheets

Can You Really Get Pregnant From ‘Pre-Cum?’ We Spill the Tea

Women and men naturally produce a lubricant when aroused. For males, this comes out of the penis and is commonly known as ‘pre-cum.’ Would this fluid be able to impregnate someone? Let’s find out.

Whenever we feel excited, our bodies are sure to react accordingly. 

Whether it’s receiving a gift that you’ve been anticipating for a while or scoring the winning point in a game, the ensuing flood of thoughts and emotions are matched by your physical reactions. In such cases, you’ll likely experience rising temperatures, a grin or a laugh, and an exclamation of joy. Your mind and body are so in sync that you can trick yourself into feeling happy by simply smiling or exercising!

For scientific proof, a 2020 study showed that the act of smiling stimulates happiness. When participants stretch their facial muscles into an upward curve by holding a pen with their teeth (essentially mimicking a smile), it tricks the brain into boosting their mood. This, in turn, can help lower the heart rate and reduce stress levels.

But what about sexual arousal? The truth is, it’s not so easy to fake an orgasm, no matter if you’re male or female. A news article reported that “as many as 71 percent of men fake it while in a relationship.”

So how can you tell if he’s actually aroused? One vital clue would be the lubricating fluid secreted from his penis, often called ‘pre-cum.’ In this case, would it be possible for you to get pregnant from ‘pre-cum?’ Does it contain any sperm to get a woman pregnant? Read on for the answers to your most pressing questions.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended as medical advice.


What Is ‘Pre-Cum?’

According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, pre-cum is the clear fluid produced “when a man becomes sexually aroused, but before he ejaculates.” It’s scientifically known as ‘pre-ejaculate’ or “pre-ejaculate fluid” and is produced in the Cowper’s gland, a fancy name for the two small glands below the prostate gland. 

Take note that the Cowper’s gland does not produce sperm. That role is handled by the testes instead. Pre-cum is passed out of the body through the urethra, which is incidentally the same pathway taken by urine and semen.

For the record, urine is typically slightly acidic — so is the vaginal tract (pH of 3.5 to 4.0), for that matter. Unfortunately, this doesn’t favour your sperm, as semen usually thrives in a neutral to slightly alkaline environment (pH of 7.0 to 8.5). That’s where pre-cum comes in to save the day, or more accurately, the semen. This fluid is slightly alkaline, with a pH of 7.2-7.4.

Simply put, your pre-ejaculate fluid can neutralise the acidic traces left by urine in the urinary tract. This gives your sperm a higher chance of survival when released in your partner’s lower vaginal tract.

If you’re wondering, you can’t stop your body from producing pre-ejaculate, especially when you’re sufficiently aroused for some time. On that note, the amount of pre-cum your body secretes will vary based on your arousal intensity, hydration level, and other factors.


Can Sperm Be Found in Pre-Cum?

puddle of pre-cum on white backgroundNow that you know where pre-cum is produced in your body, you probably think this fluid shouldn’t contain any sperm, right? After all, the Cowper’s gland that secretes pre-ejaculate isn’t responsible for making sperm.

The thing is, the reality is a little more complicated. In fact, some scientific evidence shows a small amount of sperm is present in the pre-cum of some men.

For example, a small-scale study found “actively mobile sperm were found in 16.7%” of the participants’ pre-ejaculate. In another experiment, 41% of the pre-cum samples contained sperm.

As you would know, where there’s sperm, there’s the possibility of pregnancy. So, the short answer is yes, you can get pregnant from pre-cum.


What Are the Chances of Getting Pregnant From Pre-Cum? 

Now that you know pre-ejaculate contains sperm for some individuals, how likely would it be to get pregnant from pre-cum then? Assuming that you’re having unprotected sex or your condom broke — in which case, the pre-ejaculate fluid would be a cause for concern — the chances of pregnancy are around 4% if you had pulled out before climaxing, according to a 2020 update published in the American Journal of Nursing.

In practice, successfully applying the withdrawal method (aka pulling out) is not easy, especially when both parties are in the heat of the moment. 

If you don’t pull out in time, the chances of impregnating your partner would be down to her fertile period. This ranges from 0% if it occurs one day after she ovulates to over 30% if it’s just one day before ovulation. This isn’t something you’d want to take a chance on, so if you aren’t trying to conceive, contraceptives like condoms and IUDs are your best friend.

Therefore, approximately one out of every five women (20%) who rely solely on the withdrawal method of contraception (read: pulling out) will get pregnant from pre-cum within a year.


When Should a Pregnancy Test Be Taken if You Think You Got Pregnant From Pre-Cum?

uncapped twoplus Fertility pregnancy test kit on red backgroundIf you’re worried that you’ve gotten pregnant from pre-cum, take a deep breath first. There’s no need to rush out to purchase a pregnancy test kit right away. Most doctors recommend carrying out the pregnancy test one day after you’ve missed your period. If you don’t know when your next period is, the test can be taken at least 21 days after you last had unprotected sex.

Looking for a home pregnancy test that offers quick and reliable results? Check out twoplus Fertility’s Pregnancy Test Kit. This pregnancy test is easy to use, and you’ll receive your results in as fast as three minutes. There’s also no need to download a separate app just to read the results.

For optimal accuracy, we recommend taking the twoplus Pregnancy Test Kit five days before your period is due or nine days after ovulation. Want to learn more about how to use this test kit? Check out the ultimate guide to the twoplus Pregnancy Test Kit.

Shop The twoplus Fertility Pregnancy Test Kit


It’s rare for pregnancy tests to be inaccurate. On the off chance, though, you may encounter:

  • A false-positive result: The test shows you’re pregnant when you are not. 
  • A false-negative result: The test shows you’re not pregnant when you actually are.

If you think you have a false result, i.e., you think you got pregnant from pre-cum, you can repeat the pregnancy test a week after your missed period or talk to your doctor. 


The Odds Are Small, but Present

Pre-cum plays a similar role to the mucus that the Bartholin glands in the vagina produce. In other words, these natural lubricants keep things chugging along for you and your partner, making sex a smooth and pleasurable experience. However, it’s essential to know that pre-ejaculate can contain sperm.

Although there isn’t any clear explanation for this phenomenon yet, it’s better to err on the side of caution and stay protected if you aren’t planning on having a child. Instead of solely relying on the withdrawal method, use contraceptives like condoms, birth control pills, and intrauterine devices (IUDs).

That said, if you’re actively engaging in BMS (baby-making sex), there’s no need to heed this advice. In fact, it’s even a slight boost for you and your partner when trying to conceive. (Head over to our post on how to track your ovulation period for the best chance of conception.)