Becoming Pregnant

2011/07/11 in News & Press Releases

You may feel uncomfortable about asking your mother and father how someone becomes pregnant. If you’ve already talked about it with your friends, you may have found out that they’re as confused as you. Maybe your school doesn’t offer any sex education. We’ll try to give you some basic information on how someone becomes pregnant, and also suggest where to go for more advice.


There are many false stories about how to get pregnant. The big danger in listening to stories like these is that you think you know when you really don’t.

The way in which a woman becomes pregnant is very complicated. We can’t give you all of the specific biological information you need in this short tape. We also can’t answer any of the personal questions you may have. That is why we suggest that after you hear the following basic explanations, you talk with someone who can answer all of your questions.

A baby is created with the help of both the male and female. Usually, in order for the female to be ready to become pregnant, she has to have started her menstrual periods. But it’s also very possible for a young girl to get pregnant before she has her first menstrual period. Once she starts getting her periods and for a two to three week time prior to her first menstrual period, the sex organs inside her body produce a cell called an egg, once a month. This usually starts happening to a girl anywhere between the ages of 12 to 16, but can happen as early as nine.

For a pregnancy to actually happen, the egg must be united with a cell from the male’s body which is called sperm. Sperm can unite with the egg when a male and female get very close and the male puts the part of his body called the penis into the part of the woman’s body called the vagina, and the male releases fluid which contains the sperm. Putting the penis into the vagina is called sexual intercourse. Releasing the fluid which contains sperm is called ejaculation. Just before sexual intercourse, the male’s penis, which is usually small and soft, becomes harder and larger. The female’s vagina usually becomes moist.

We mentioned before that a girl is physically ready to become pregnant when her body starts producing eggs. When is a boy physically able to get a girl pregnant? Usually, the first indication a boy gets is when he starts to release sperm, for example, during his sleep.

The fluid that a male releases when he ejaculates contains about 150 to 360 million sperm. Only one sperm needs to unite with the female’s egg in order to become pregnant. Also, the male doesn’t necessarily have to put his penis all the way inside the woman’s vagina in order for her to become pregnant. Sometimes a few sperm from the tip of the penis mix with the moisture around the female’s vagina and travel into her body that way.

This has been a very simple explanation. The best way to get all of your questions answered is to ask someone who knows and is willing to talk with you about it in a straight forward way. This person should be someone you trust, and someone with whom you would feel comfortable talking about the subject. Try asking your father or mother even if you may feel embarrassed at first. It could be that they haven’t told you about this before because they felt you weren’t interested yet. Maybe they’ve been waiting for you to bring up the subject. Or, maybe an older brother or sister who already knows would be willing to share with you what they know. If you like your family doctor, you might ask your parents if they would make an appointment to have you see him or her for a talk. Another idea is to talk with a teacher, counselor, or nurse at school, if you feel close to one. Or, you might want to talk to someone over the telephone who offers free and confidential information. For other confidential information, please push “zero” and a telephone attendant will be happy to assist you.

We should warn you that knowing who might give you the wrong information is as important as knowing who can give you the right information. If you’re a girl, you would be better off not asking your boyfriend, if you have one. That’s usually where stories like, “You won’t get pregnant if we do it standing up” come from. Your friends may try to be helpful about sharing what they know with you but be careful. They may be as confused as you unless they got their information from a good source.

You might also be interested in calling our other tapes on related subjects, like “How Far Is Too Far”, “Sex and Love, Is There A Difference?”, “It’s OK to Say No”, “Birth Control Information”, “Myths About Birth Control”, “Sex-Are You Ready for It?”, and “How Can You Tell If You’re Really In Love?”

For additional support and resources please call our 24-hour Teen Hotline by dialing 2-1-1 or 954-567-8336 (TEEN.)

Teen Tapes is produced by the University of Wisconsin, Madison.