Birth Control Myths
There are a lot of myths about birth control. There is also a lot of misinformation about how contraception works, and some methods that simply do not protect at all.
- I am breastfeeding so I obviously can’t get pregnant:
Breastfeeding can postpone ovulation, but there is no guarantee. Ovulation can occur even when a woman is breastfeeding. A nursing mother should continue to use contraception if she does not want to get pregnant.
- A Woman must have an orgasm in order to get pregnant:
Not true. While a man must ejaculate sperm to fertilize the woman’s egg, the woman does not need to have an orgasm for the sperm to join with the egg. Most women release an egg once a month during her reproductive years. This happens whether or not a woman has sexual contact. If the egg is not fertilized, it will be shed with her next period.
- Douching prevents pregnancy:
Douching, even immediately after intercourse does not interfere with fertilization of the egg. Once the sperm enters the uterus during sex, no amount of douching will interfere with the sperm fertilizing the egg.
- I can’t get pregnant if I have sex standing up, or if I am on top:
Wrong again…Sexual positions have nothing to do with conception. When a man ejaculates, the sperm moves to the cervix right away. Gravity does not protect you from getting pregnant.
- Plastic wrap or a balloon is as good as a condom:
Condoms only work some of the time. Sometimes they tear, or come off. Balloons and plastic wrap don’t fit well and are not even as effective as a condom.
- Having sex at the “safe time” of the month is as good as any birth
- control I can use:
To help you better understand the menstrual cycle: There are four hormones involved in the woman’s reproductive cycle. There is a very delicate balance involved. Lots of things can upset the balance making what you consider a “safe time” not so safe. Some examples are antibiotics, stress, illness, age and other medications. Pinpointing the exact time of ovulation can be difficult. Some women believe that they can only get pregnant one day a month. This is also a myth. While it is true that a woman only ovulates once a month, which day is a mystery.
- Birth Control Pills are effective the first day you start taking them:
Most doctors recommend using a back-up method for the first 7 days after you have started the pill. There are hormones in the pills that effect ovulation. Birth control pills are not immediately effective.
- A woman can’t get pregnant the first time she has sex.
A woman can get pregnant every time she ovulates. Once a woman reaches puberty and begins to ovulate, she can become pregnant, even if it is the first time.
- Taking a shower or urinating immediately after sex will prevent
Urinating or washing after sex does not stop the sperm from entering the uterus through the cervix. Sperm make their way quickly to the uterus.
- If my partner “pulls out” before he ejaculates, I won’t get pregnant.
This is often called the “withdrawal” method. It is not very effective. Some of the sperm is released even before a man ejaculates. Some men may not have the willpower, or be able to withdraw in time.
Accurate and reliable information about contraception is important. Check the source of the information you are relying on. A great deal of information is available on the web. Your doctor can also provide you with appropriate information during a birth control consult. Feel free to schedule a consult here at the Woman’s Health Center for all your birth control needs.