Birth Control Myths (cont.)

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), estrogen, and progesterone. A delicate balance of these hormones regulates the release of an egg (ovulation), and if the egg is not fertilized, menstruation occurs. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. I won't get pregnant because this is my first time having sex.