Ask the Expert
Q: How effective is the withdrawal (“pulling out”) method at preventing pregnancy?
A: IF (and this is a big IF) your partner pulls out perfectly Every. Single. Time., then withdrawal is about 96% effective. This is a really hard method to get perfect, though, so it’s more likely that withdrawal will be around 78% effective. So, of those women who use withdrawal exactly as directed (meaning their partner pulls out perfectly, Every. Single. Time.), about 4 in 100 will experience an accidental pregnancy during the first year they use this method. Of those women (partners) who do NOT use withdrawal exactly as directed, about 22 in 100 will experience an accidental pregnancy during the first year they use this method.
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Dr. Diane Straub, Chief, Division of Adolescent Medicine & Professor of Pediatrics, USF Health and Medical Director, Ybor Youth Clinic