Fingering alone can’t lead to pregnancy. Sperm must come into contact with your vagina for pregnancy to be a possibility. Typical fingering won’t introduce sperm to your vagina.

However, it’s possible to become pregnant as a result of fingering in certain situations. For example, you could become pregnant if your or your partner’s fingers have pre-ejaculate or ejaculate on them and you’re fingered or you finger yourself.

Here’s what you need to know to avoid pregnancy, options for emergency contraception, and more.

Pregnancy is only possible when semen enters your vagina. One way this might happen is if your partner masturbates and then uses the same hand or hands to finger you.

If your partner washes their hands between the two acts, your risk of pregnancy is low.

Your risk is slightly higher if they don’t wash or only wipe their hands on a shirt or towel.

Although pregnancy is unlikely overall, it’s not impossible.

You could transfer sperm into your vagina by fingering yourself with a hand that has pre-ejaculate or ejaculate on it.

The same rule for your partner applies here, too: If you wash your hands between the two acts, your risk is lower than if you didn’t wash at all or if you just wiped your hands on a cloth.

Pregnancy is unlikely, but not impossible, in this situation.

As long as the ejaculate wasn’t inside your body or on your vagina, you can’t get pregnant. Ejaculate on the outside of your body isn’t a pregnancy risk.

But if your partner ejaculates near your vagina and then fingers you, they may push some of the semen into your vagina. If this happens, pregnancy is possible.

Signs and symptoms of pregnancy don’t appear overnight. In fact, you may not begin to experience any early signs or symptoms of pregnancy for several weeks after you become pregnant.

The earliest signs of pregnancy include:

  • breast tenderness
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • mood swings
  • bleeding
  • cramping
  • nausea
  • food aversions or cravings

These are also many of the same signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome or your period. It may be difficult to know what you’re experiencing until your period comes — or until it doesn’t.

The chances of becoming pregnant from being fingered are slim, but it can happen. If you’re worried you may become pregnant, you have some options.

Emergency contraception (EC) can be taken up to five days after sex to prevent pregnancy.

The hormonal EC pill is most effective within the first 72 hours. You can buy it over the counter or ask your doctor to write a prescription. Depending on your insurance plan, a prescription may enable you to get the medication at little to no cost.

A copper intrauterine device (IUD) can also be used as EC. It’s more than 99 percent effective if it’s put into place within five days of sex or semen exposure.

Your doctor must place this device, so a timely appointment is necessary. Once in place, the IUD will protect against pregnancy for up to 10 years.

If you’re insured, you may be able to get an IUD inserted at little to no cost. Your doctor’s office will confirm your anticipated out-of-pocket cost with your insurance provider before your appointment.

If you think you may be pregnant, take an at-home pregnancy test.

You should wait to take this test until you’ve missed at least one day of your period. The test may be most accurate a week after your missed period.

If you don’t have regular periods, you should take the test three weeks after the last time you had penetrative sex or came into contact with semen.

You should see your doctor to confirm the results of your home pregnancy test. They may use a blood test, a urine test, or both to confirm your results.

Whatever the outcome, your doctor can advise you on next steps. This may include options for family planning or birth control.

Although your risk of pregnancy from being fingered is low, it’s not impossible.

If you’re worried, you may find that EC helps put your mind at ease. EC is most effective within three to five days of possible fertilization.

If you’re unsure about what to do, talk with your doctor as soon as you can. They can answer any questions that you have and advise you on what to do next.