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The study evaluated the reproductive performance of primiparous sows submitted to post-cervical insemination (PCAI) compared with cervical artificial insemination (CAI). Difficulty with catheter introduction, the occurrence of bleeding or semen backflow during insemination, and volume and sperm cell backflow up to 60 min after insemination were also evaluated. Sows were homogenously distributed, according to body weight loss in lactation, lactation length, weaned piglets, weaning-to-oestrus interval and total born in previous farrowing, in two treatments: PCAI (n = 165) with 1.5 × 109 sperm cells in 45 ml (2.4 ± 0.04 doses per sow) and CAI (n = 165) with 3 × 109 sperm cells in 90 ml (2.5 ± 0.04 doses per sow). During PCAI, sows were inseminated in the absence of boars. Transabdominal real-time ultrasonography was performed at oestrus onset, immediately before the first insemination and at 24 h after last insemination. There was no difference (P > 0.05) between treatments in farrowing rate (91.5% × 89.1%) and litter size (12.5 × 11.9 piglets born, respectively for PCAI and CAI sows). Successful passage of the intrauterine catheter in all the inseminations was possible in 86.8% (165/190) of sows initially allocated to PCAI treatment. Difficulty of introducing the catheter in at least one insemination did not affect the reproductive performance of PCAI sows (P > 0.05). Bleeding during insemination did not affect (P > 0.05) the farrowing rate in both treatments, but litter size was reduced in CAI and PCAI sows (P ≤ 0.06). Percentage of spermatozoa present in backflow within 1 h after insemination was greater in CAI than PCAI sows (P < 0.01). More than 85% of primiparous sows can be successfully post-cervical inseminated with doses containing 1.5 × 109 sperm cells in the absence of the boar during insemination without impairing the reproductive performance.