Our expert says:
Sexual intercourse always carries a risk of pregnancy because contraception is not 100% effective in preventing pregnancy. Some methods are more effective tha n others.
In your girlfriend's case, the birth control pill's failure rate, or possibility of causing accidental pregnancy, is very small, and depends on the type of pill used and schedule of use. With "perfect" use (which means the Pill is taken consistently and correctly at around the same time each and every day, and never missing a daily dose), combined pills, containing both Progestin and Estrogen, have a 0.1% failure rate; and, minipills, containing only Progestin, have a failure rate of 0.5%. This means th at 1 (for combined pills) or 5 (for minipills) times out of 1000, pregnancy will occur regardless.
If your girlfriend has not been taking the Pill consistently and correctly, then her chances of becoming pregnant are much higher. In addition, if she recently began taking the Pill, a back-up contraceptive method, such as a condom, may be necessary, par ticularly if she did not start her Pill pack at, or near, the beginning of her menstrual cycle (indicated by the first day of menstrual flow). On the other hand, if your girlfriend has been using the Pill "perfectly," then there may be other reasons behi nd her worry. For example, maybe this is her first time not using a barrier contraceptive method, such as a latex condom, during sex? Talk with her to determine why she feels the way she does, and then see if both of you can come up with a resolution to help her stop worrying.
If she remains concerned about pregnancy while on the Pill, and if her worry negatively impacts her (and possibly your) sexual experience, then maybe she can regularly use another contraceptive method in addition to the Pill to further decrease risk of pr egnancy, such as the Pill and condoms, foam, or a diaphragm. She may choose to use a condom because in this way, she can see your collected ejaculate and know that it is not inside her, and this may be reassuring for her to know. However, if only a cond om is used, this could provide her with a "false" sense of security because the condom, particularly if not used correctly, is not as effective a contraceptive method as the Pill [but the condom is much more effective in preventing the transmission of sex ually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV].
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