Birth Control Myths
There are a number of birth control methods that are
highly effective in preventing pregnancy. There also is a lot of misinformation about how to use
contraception, as well as some methods that simply do not work.
Following are some common myths about birth control and contraception:
- I'm breastfeeding so I can't get pregnant.
While breastfeeding tends to postpone
ovulation, this is not a guarantee.
Ovulation can occur even when a woman is breastfeeding. The nursing mother
should use birth control if she wishes to avoid getting pregnant.
- You can't get pregnant if the woman doesn't have an orgasm.
Pregnancy occurs when a sperm from the man fertilizes an egg from the woman.
While the man must ejaculate to release sperm, it is not necessary for the woman
to have an orgasm to get pregnant. A woman of childbearing age usually releases
an egg each month as part of her regular
menstrual cycle. This occurs whether or
not the woman has sex or an orgasm.
- I won't get pregnant if I douche after sex.
Douching is not an effective method of contraception. After
sperm enter the cervix and are out of reach of any douching solution.
- I don't need contraception because we only have sex during the "safe"
time. You're only fertile one day a month.
Myths such as these most likely arise from a lack of understanding of the
menstrual cycle. There
are four major hormones (chemicals that stimulate or regulate the activity of
cells or organs) involved in the menstrual cycle:
follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH),
luteinizing hormone (LH),
progesterone. A delicate balance of these hormones regulates the release of an
egg (ovulation), and if the egg is not fertilized,
While a woman's cycle is more or less regular at most times, this balance of
hormones can be disrupted by various factors, including age,
stress, medications, etc.
Therefore, pinpointing the time of ovulation and predicting any "safe" days can
be difficult. Couples who have success with the
rhythm method of contraception
must carefully monitor the women's menstrual cycles and evaluate symptoms of
ovulation, as well as any external factors.
- 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
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
- 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
- I won't get pregnant if my partner pulls out before he ejaculates.
Pulling out before the man ejaculates, known as the
withdrawal method, is not
a foolproof method for contraception. Some ejaculate (fluid that contains sperm)
may be released before the man actually begins to climax. In addition, some men
may not have the willpower or be able to withdraw in time.
- I won't get pregnant because this is my first time having sex.