Did your sex education present facts about birth control in an informative manner, or did it rely on scare tactics and shame to keep you from ever wanting to do the deed? Too many people have had the second experience. And even once you're an adult who knows a thing or two about a thing or two, it can be difficult to totally get rid of these early messages about sex and birth control. That's why it's helpful to review myths about birth control methods now to make sure you don't have any lingering misinformation stored away.
Sure, you've probably corrected most of your early confusion by this point, but it's always helpful to review your facts now and then. After all, you may have legitimate concerns about the effects of long-term birth control on your fertility, or whether it's necessary to take a break from the pill for a while. Having all the facts on hand makes it easier for you to choose the birth control method that's right for you and your current situation. Also, it's difficult to overstate the peace of mind you can enjoy just by knowing the truth: most birth control methods are safe and effective for the majority of the population. Read on to make sure all of your information is up-to-date.
Myth #1: The Pill Will Hurt Your Fertility
If you're on the pill now, will it make future conceptions more difficult? Not necessarily. Although it may take a little time for your natural hormonal cycles to resume, there is no evidence that the pill will hurt your fertility, as noted in Baby Center. Chances are, you can still go on to have a family when the time is right.
Myth #2: Condoms Let STIs Slip Through
According to one educator I had, condoms were basically giant sieves that let all kinds of STIs slip through. But as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, condoms provide an almost-impermeable protection against STD-sized particles. Although they may not 100 percent protect you from all transmission, condoms are rather impressively effective.
Myth #3: You Need A Break From The Pill
If you love your current pill, then here's some good news: you won't need a break from it any time soon. As explained by Women's Health, it's safe to stay on current birth control pills without any breaks. In fact, starting and stopping the pill several times may actually be more troublesome, because you may have to cope with the side effects all over again, as further noted by Women's Health.
Myth #4: Condoms Can Get "Lost" Inside You
This is perhaps one of the more disturbing myths. But even if the condom does slip off, you can retrieve it, as noted in Cosmopolitan. Worst case scenario: you can drop by your doctor's for assistance. But it isn't going to meander around your lower intestines or anything; it will stay put.
Myth #5: "Double-Bagging" Condoms Is More Effective
Who hasn't heard this myth a few times? And, for people who are extra-cautious about sex, it may even sound like a good idea. But condoms are not like grocery store bags. According to Very Well, double-bagging condoms may actually create more friction and increase the likelihood of a break. In some cases, less (AKA one condom) is more.
Myth #6: IUDs Are Only For Women Who Have Given Birth
Don't let outdated fears fool you. IUDs are excellent birth control options for many women. What's more, IUDs are now recommended for women of any age, whether or not they've given birth, as explained by Bedsider. You may want to reconsider this option.
Myth #7: Birth Control Will Make You Gain Weight
This may be the most long-lived myth of them all. But according to a 2014 study in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, there was not enough significant evidence to show birth control pills definitely cause weight gain. It's just one of those lingering myths.
Myth #8: You Can't Get Pregnant If You're Breastfeeding
This idea is based in some truth. Although it does tend to suppress ovulation, breastfeeding is not a perfect form of birth control, as explained by WebMD. You may want to use a back-up method just to be on the safe side.
Myth #9: The Pill Is Immediately Effective
Well . . . it depends. According to Healthy Women, it may take up to one full month for the pill to become effective. In the meantime, you may want to use a backup method to make sure all your bases are covered.