Sex Education for the Real World…

 


Busting the Myths; Birth Control Edition

2
Posted October 26, 2012 by Kimani in Love. Life. Erotica.

Urban legends, myths and rumors are never the wise way to make decisions about anything, especially birth control. There is so much false information about birth control circulating in the cafeterias, break rooms and social networking places across the world. Take a look at some of the myths and the facts that prove them wrong.

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Myth No. 1: Taking the Pill causes weight gain.

Worry about weight gain as a birth control side effect is a common concern among women contemplating hormonal birth control methods.

It shouldn’t be, says Andrea S. Fernandez, MD, section head of general obstetrics and gynecology at the Women’s Health Center of Excellence at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C. While every woman responds differently, most women on standard birth control pillregimens will not gain weight because of the Pill. And focusing on a healthy lifestyle — eating well and exercising regularly — can help keep the weight off.

Photo Courtesy of UMM.edu

Myth No. 2: Fertility is affected when you go off hormonal contraceptives.

Rumor has it that you spend all that time and energy trying to prevent pregnancy, only to find that it’s harder to get pregnant after you get off the Pill. But the truth is: While there may be a slight delay in the return of your fertility, no permanent harm will have been done — infertility is not a birth control side effect.

“Once ovulation resumes, you can become pregnant,” says Dr. Fernandez. “About 50 percent of women will ovulate in their first month after stopping birth control pills. Most women will begin to ovulate in the first three to six months after stopping the Pill.”

Myth No. 3: You should not take birth control pills continuously.

Taking a break can help women in certain situations, such as those who are having breakthrough bleeding, and stopping pills for four to five days will get you back on track. “Beyond that, women who are taking traditional birth control pills on a cyclic basis don’t need to take a break from pills unless they want to conceive,” says Fernandez.

If you do temporarily stop taking the pills for any reason, remember that pregnancy is possible — use back-up birth control methods, such as condoms, if you don’t want to become pregnant.

Photo Courtesy of FitSugar.com

Myth No. 4: Taking the Pill will lead to breast cancer.

Because breast cancer is tied to hormones, women often worry that an increased risk of breast cancer could be a birth control side effect. Unfortunately, this is one side effect that is not all myth.

“According to recent studies presented by the American Cancer Society, women who are using birth control pills have a slightly greater risk of breast cancer than women who have never used them,” says Fernandez. However this risk only exists while you are actually taking the Pill. “Women who stopped using the Pill more than 10 years ago do not seem to have any increased risk.”

Myth No. 5: You can’t get pregnant if you have sex during your period.

Not true: Your body can release an egg at any time during your cycle. “While during your period is the most unlikely time for ovulation, women can get pregnant after having sex during their period. Remember that sperm can live in the vagina or uterus for up to six days under the right circumstances,” says Fernandez.

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Myth No. 6: Breastfeeding prevents pregnancy.

Sorry — another popular myth debunked. While it’s true that breastfeeding can stop ovulation for a while, it is not one of the guaranteed birth control methods.

“Continuous breastfeeding may induce what’s known as lactational amenorrhea [no period] for the first four to six months after delivery, but even then this is only about 95 to 98 percent effective,” says Fernandez. If you are breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about your birth control options.

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Myth No. 7: Douching after intercourse prevents pregnancy.

Douching is the process of washing out your vagina. Women mistakenly believe that this can flush out sperm and even sexually transmitted diseases, but Fernandez advises against douching in general and specifically notes that douching does not prevent pregnancy or infection. Instead, you may just be making yourself uncomfortable. “Douching can irritate the vaginal walls, removing both the good and bad bacteria within the vagina,” she warns.

Myth No. 8: You can’t get pregnant during your first sexual encounter.

Yes, you can. Pregnancy occurs when egg meets sperm, and that can happen at any point in your sexual history. “It only takes one sexual encounter to become pregnant. You can get pregnant as easily from your first sexual encounter as you can from your hundredth,” says Fernandez.

Myth No. 9: You won’t get pregnant if your partner pulls out before ejaculating.

Unfortunately this is not a guaranteed birth control option. This approach, called the withdrawal method, requires that the man takes his erect penis out of the woman’s vagina before he has an orgasm.

“It is about 75 percent effective, meaning one out every four women using this as her only form of birth control will become pregnant in a year,” says Fernandez. The reason for this relatively high failure rate is that sperm may be released before the man or woman is aware of it.

Myth No. 10: Birth control also protects against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

When planning protection for sexual activity, you have two issues to consider: pregnancy prevention and infectious disease protection. Not all birth control options provide protection against the transmission of infections. In particular, hormonal birth control methods offer no STD prevention.

“The only forms of birth control that protect against STDs are barrier forms such as condoms,” says Fernandez. And some barrier birth control options still leave you at risk for STDs. Even a perfectly placed latex condom can only protect what it covers.

 

Other Myths Include: 

Photo Courtesy of FancyLittleThings.com

I won’t get pregnant if we have sex standing up or if I am on top.

Some people believe that having sex in certain positions, such as standing up, will force the sperm out of the woman’s vagina. In truth, positions during sex have nothing to do with whether or not fertilization occurs. When a man ejaculates, the sperm are deposited well into the vagina. The sperm will, by nature, begin to move up through the cervical canal immediately after ejaculation.

You can use plastic wrap or a balloon if you don’t have a condom.

Plastic wrap and balloons are not good to use as condoms. They don’t fit well and can easily be torn during sex. Condoms are specifically made to provide a good fit and good protection during sex, and they are thoroughly tested for maximum effectiveness.

I won’t get pregnant if I take a shower or bath right after sex, or if I urinate right after sex.

Washing or urinating after sex will not stop the sperm that have already entered the uterus through the cervix.

The pill is always effective immediately after you begin taking it.

In some women, one complete menstrual cycle is needed for the hormones in the pill (oral contraceptive) to work with the woman’s natural hormones to prevent ovulation. Some doctors recommend using a back-up method of birth control the first month of taking the pill.

When trying to make informed decisions about the right birth control options, talk to your doctor and get information from reliable sources. When it’s a matter of your health, only the facts will do.

 

Sources:

http://www.everydayhealth.com/sexual-health/birth-control/myths-about-birth-control.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/birth-control-contraceptive-myths




About the Author

Kimani

A NY transplant in Florida, Kimani has taken on the task of educating the world on sexual health and education. The Mount Vernon native has seen AIDS and HIV spread through her community like wildfire, and hopes to cease the transmission of these and other diseases one person at a time. If you know better, you're inclined to do better.

  • hormonal anticonception is wrong! You can die. Stop lying!

    • Kimani

      Nothing in this article discusses death, however that is a risk assessed along with the individual’s health history.
      Thank you for your feedback 🙂

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