Does Peeing After Sex Prevent Pregnancy?
Have you heard from a friend, partner, or health provider that you should pee after sex? Ever wonder why this is recommended? Let’s talk a bit more about sexual hygiene, trying to conceive (TTC), and pregnancy prevention.
Why Should You Pee After Sex?
It is recommended by many healthcare providers and public health organizations to urinate after sex. This is because bacteria around the vaginal opening, anus, bowel, or vaginal cavity can be moved to the urethral opening during sexual activity. [1-2] Urinating after sex can help flush away this bacteria, potentially lowering the risk of infection, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI). This is especially important for those with female anatomy, as the risk of a UTI is up to 30 times higher compared to people with male anatomy.  A UTI is an infection that is caused by bacteria entering the bladder. UTIs can be very painful and need to be treated promptly, but are often very responsive to antibiotics. 
It’s important to note that while urinating after sex can flush away some bacteria, there is no evidence to suggest that it will prevent contracting a sexually transmitted disease or infection (STD/STI). [2,4] Most STIs are spread through mucous membranes, including the genitals, mouth, and anus. The spread of STIs occurs during sexual intercourse and can’t be prevented after the fact by urinating. Using condoms or other barrier contraceptives during sex can help reduce the risk of STIs.  Learn if lube can cause urinary tract infections →
What Happens If You Don’t Pee After Sex?
There is a higher chance of infection if you don’t pee after sex. [1-2] Of course, there is no way to guarantee that an infection will or won’t occur, but it is highly recommended by the NIH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and other organizations that those with female anatomy attempt to pee before and after sex to reduce the likelihood of bacteria entering the urethra/bladder. [1-3]
Pregnancy and Infections
Another factor to consider if you are pregnant or hoping to conceive soon is that some infections, including UTIs, are more likely to occur in pregnant people.  There are a few reasons for this, including hormone changes, difficulty emptying the bladder, etc. UTIs are also more likely to spread to the kidneys during pregnancy, causing a kidney infection that can be very dangerous. When left untreated, a serious infection may lead to premature birth, low birth weight, and high blood pressure. 
Promoting healthy habits can help lower your risk of an infection. This includes wiping from front to back, cleaning yourself regularly, avoiding feminine hygiene washes or douches, wearing cotton underwear, urinating before and after sex, and more.  If you do notice symptoms of a UTI, (pain or burning when urinating, a frequent urge to pee followed by little to no output, pressure in the abdomen, blood in the urine, and more) speak to a healthcare provider right away. 
Does Peeing After Sex Prevent Pregnancy?
No, there is no evidence to suggest that peeing after sex will prevent pregnancy.  The urethra and the vagina, while close to each other, are separate parts of the female anatomy. If someone has sexual intercourse and sperm enters the vagina, urinating afterward will not interfere with their chances of trying to conceive. If you are hoping to prevent pregnancy, you will want to prevent sperm from entering the vagina at all, such as with a condom or other barrier method, or prevent ovulation from occurring, which can be done with various hormonal methods.  Pregnancy can also be prevented using other contraceptive methods, read more below.
Tips for Preventing Pregnancy
If you are hoping to prevent pregnancy, you should stick to approved and effective methods, like hormonal contraception, barrier methods, IUDs, sterilization, and others.  Hormonal methods of birth control include pills, rings, patches, shots, and more. Condoms are also a very effective contraception option that can also help prevent STIs. If you are looking for a more emergent solution for preventing pregnancy, you should ask a healthcare provider about emergency contraception options.
There are many birth control methods that can be discussed with your partner and healthcare provider. You should take into consideration your long-term goals for family planning and talk with a provider about your family history and any underlying conditions so they can recommend more personalized contraceptive options. Learn what birth control methods stop ovulation →
Tips for Trying to Conceive
If you are trying to get pregnant, there are a few things you can do to encourage conception. For one, you’ll want to have unprotected heterosexual sex during your fertile window. If you need help identifying your fertile window, you can use our free ovulation calculator alongside ovulation tests. You can also support sperm and egg health by using a fertility-friendly lubricant. These lubes are great for those TTC as they reduce friction and encourage pleasurable sex, but are also safe for reproduction, meaning they don’t harm or slow down sperm. It’s also recommended that anyone trying to get pregnant stick to a healthy lifestyle, meaning regular physical activity, a healthy diet, prenatal vitamins, stopping smoking or drug use, and limiting alcohol consumption.  Can certain sex positions increase your chance of conceiving? Find out!
Support Your Goals With Natalist
Reproductive and sexual health are extremely important, but can sometimes be confusing or embarrassing to talk about. It’s important to have access to products and resources that are trustworthy and easy to understand. Natalist was founded by doctors and moms who have been in your shoes. Learn more about your health with fertility hormone tests, support your nutritional goals with high-quality supplements, or prioritize your self-care during and after pregnancy with products that pamper and nourish your body. Want to keep reading? Visit the Natalist blog →
- 15 Tips To Keep Your Bladder Healthy. NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA). January 2022. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/bladder-health-and-incontinence/15-tips-keep-your-bladder-healthy
- The Urinary Tract & How It Works. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). June 2020. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/urinary-tract-how-it-works
- Bavendam, Tamara. Hundley, Andrew. Urinary tract infections. Office on Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. February 2021. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/urinary-tract-infections
- Workowski KA, Bachmann LH, Chan PA, et al. Sexually Transmitted Infections Treatment Guidelines, 2021. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2021;70(4):1-187. Published 2021 Jul 23. doi:10.15585/mmwr.rr7004a1
- Rokicki S, Merten S. The context of emergency contraception use among young unmarried women in Accra, Ghana: a qualitative study. Reprod Health. 2018;15(1):212. Published 2018 Dec 19. doi:10.1186/s12978-018-0656-7
- Contraception and Birth Control | NICHD - Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. NICHD Information Resource Center. Accessed December 2023. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/factsheets/contraception
- Good Health Before Pregnancy: Prepregnancy Care. FAQ 056. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. December 2021. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/good-health-before-pregnancy-prepregnancy-care
Dr. Kenosha Gleaton is board-certified in gynecology and obstetrics and is the Medical Advisor of Natalist. She received her MD from MUSC and completed her residency at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC.Dr. Gleaton is passionate about women, health equity, and mentoring. She is the CEO of The EpiCentre, an OBGYN spa-like practice, and is a Clinical faculty member of Charleston Southern University. She is also a member of the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, and the American Association of Professional Women