Whether it’s well-meaning advice from friends or inaccurate urban legends, there are many misconceptions when it comes to birth control and preventing unwanted pregnancy.
Myth #1: All birth-control pills are created equal.
There are literally hundreds of birth-control pills on the market. Though one type may have caused you unwanted side effects, such as weight gain, acne, or menstrual spotting, another may not. All pills contain estrogen and progestin, but each formula varies in the levels of hormones it contains, as well as the kind of progestin — both factors may influence how your body reacts to a particular medication. Talk to your doctor for help finding the best choice for you.
Myth #2: The tighter a condom fits my partner, the better.
A condom that is too tight runs a higher risk of tearing — especially if your partner is energetically thrusting. Of course, you don't want a baggy condom either, which could fall off in the middle of intercourse. A condom should fit snugly, with a little extra space at the end of the condom to catch his ejaculate (Without that extra room, this too could break the condom — ejaculate travels at an average of 28 miles per hour!).
Myth #3: If I miss one birth-control pill, I will get pregnant from unprotected sex.
If you take your pills at the same time every day and you have been on the pill for at least one full cycle, missing one day will not increase your chances of getting pregnant. Simply take two pills the following day. If you miss more than one pill, you do need to use a back-up form of birth control for the rest of that menstrual cycle.
Myth #4: The birth-control pill will affect my ability to get pregnant in the future.
Birth-control pills have no effect on future fertility. However, if you decide to go off the pill, many doctors recommend that you give your body a three-month break to allow it to normalize before trying to get pregnant.
Myth #5: Birth control is the best option for preventing unwanted pregnancy.
Not necessarily. While some women are satisfied with oral contraception, many other women find that birth control is not a good option for them. Some women negatively respond to the hormones, and they suffer common side effects such as weight gain, mood swings, or loss of libido. Additionally, birth control pills do come with some risk such as blood clots. Women over the age of 35 and women who smoke are at a higher risk of developing blood clots.
Myth #6: If I use birth control, I don’t need to use another form of protection.
No way! Birth control pills do not protect against the spread of STDs. Every time you have sex (even oral sex) you are at risk of contracting STDs and you should use protection. Before you ditch the condoms for good, make sure that both you and your partner are tested, and that you agree to be monogamous.