People, understandably, have questions about the different birth control methods. Is this one 100% effective? What happens if something goes wrong? When do I start taking this pill? It can be a lot to get straight.
There are also a lot of myths surrounding each of the methods of birth control. This week, we’re tackling some of these myths and sussing out the truth.
Myth #1: You’ll gain weight on the pill.
Studies have shown that women tend to begin this form of contraception at a time when weight fluctuations are common, giving the pill a false reputation. The hormones present in most birth control pills, estrogen and progestin, are responsible for symptoms like breast tenderness, mood swings, and nausea, but weight gain tends to be rare.
Myth #2: The pill covers ALL the bases.
While the pill will take care of preventing pregnancy, the pill offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases. If you’re unsure of your partner’s STD history, a male condom can prevent many, but not all, STDs.
Myth #3: Antibiotics will render the pill ineffective.
Your doctor doesn’t just ask what medications you’re on because they’re curious. Certain antibiotics can prevent your contraception from working properly. The only antibiotic proven to alter the effectiveness of the pill is rifampin, a treatment for tuberculosis. In most other cases, you should be safe to continue using your pill.
Myth #4: Your body needs to take breaks from hormonal birth control.
The hormones in your birth control pill are hormones that naturally occur in the human body. There’s no buildup or accumulation of hormones after long periods of time. Your body doesn’t build up an immunity to the hormones after long periods of time either. There’s no need for the average woman to take a break from birth control unless told otherwise by your doctor.
Myth #1: The IUD can leave you infertile.
The World Health Organization has run numerous tests on this theory and there is no evidence to back it up. Women using the IUD show no increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease or infertility when compared to women using other types of contraception.
Myth #2: The IUD causes women to have abortions.
This myth reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how the IUD functions. An intrauterine device works by preventing the man’s sperm and the woman’s egg from ever meeting. The hormonal IUD releases a form of the hormone progestin which thickens the cervical mucus so the sperm can’t reach the egg. The copper IUD releases copper into the uterus which acts as a spermicide, also stopping sperm from reaching the egg.
Myth #3: You shouldn’t use an IUD if you haven’t already had children.
Most people with uteruses can get an IUD regardless of whether they’ve had a child or not. However, it can be easier to insert an IUD into a woman’s uterus if she has already had a child. It’s still a safe and simple process no matter your status!
Myth #1: You don’t need to use protection if you only have sex during your period.
This is a common misconception - many women believe that they are only fertile for a few days of their cycle. This is false because sperm can live in the body for up to seven days after ejaculation. Many women also have irregular cycles, making it difficult to pinpoint when an egg has been released.
Myth #2: I can’t get pregnant if he pulls out before he ejaculates.
The pull-out method or withdrawal method is not a reliable way to prevent pregnancy. Before ejaculating, the body releases pre-ejaculate to clear the urethra and to make way for the sperm. While this pre-ejaculate doesn’t contain sperm, if there is any sperm lingering in the urethra from a previous ejaculation, it could push that sperm out. Therefore, the pull-out method is not 100% effective.
Myth #3: Two condoms are better than one.
This myth often has the opposite effect than intended. Many people believe that increasing the number of barriers between them and their partner can reduce their risk of getting pregnant. Two condoms can create friction which can lead to one or both of them tearing, leaving you susceptible to pregnancy.
Don’t let all of the myths confuse you. We’re here to set the record straight! To learn more about pregnancy and conception, be sure to sign up for our newsletter below.