happy woman holding positive pregnancy test

Does pregnancy occur immediately after sex?

How long does it take for a woman, trans men, intersex, or non-binary people, to get pregnant after sex?  

Pregnancy doesn’t happen nearly as quickly as lots of people think. Once you’ve had unprotected sex, it can take up to two to three weeks to get pregnant.

This also means that the pregnancy test can only show a positive after about 2-3 weeks after having sex. Not the next morning!

So, let’s break it down.

First things first, for pregnancy to happen, sperm has to meet up with an egg. So, the first sperm (found in semen) has to get into your vagina. This usually happens when a penis ejaculates into your vagina during vaginal sex. It can also happen if semen is deposited on the vulva and makes its way into your vagina. In rare cases, it’s still possible for sperm to reach the vagina during anal sex.

The sperm in the vagina still have a long way to go. For the next several days the sperm will swim through your vagina, through your cervix and uterus, and into your fallopian tubes looking for an egg.

Remember that after sex, sperm can live in your body for up to five days waiting for an egg to be released. The release of an egg is called ovulation. If sperm joins the egg that’s called fertilization.

The fertilized egg starts growing and moving toward the uterus, a trip that takes about a week. Once it gets there and attaches to the lining of your uterus after another few days or so, it’s called implantation.

That my friend is when the pregnancy journey officially begins.

Not ready for babies?

If you’ve had unprotected sex and want to prevent pregnancy, emergency contraception like the morning-after pill is a great option. Morning After pills, also known as e-pills, temporarily stop your ovary from releasing an egg. Pretty cool, right? It’s kind of like pulling the emergency brake on the egg’s journey.

You can use emergency contraception up to five days after unprotected sex. Emergency contraception can be bought from chemists and pharmacies. When used correctly it is very effective at preventing pregnancy.

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LoveMatters Africa

Blush-free facts and stories about love, sex, and relationships