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COMMON CONTRACEPTION MYTHS

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Contraceptive methods allow you to choose when and whether you want to have a baby; it is a way to prevent pregnancy. Although different methods work in different ways, contraception generally prevents sperm from reaching and fertilising an egg which is how a pregnancy starts.

There have been several myths and misunderstanding regarding the use of contraception. It is believed that incomplete knowledge, lack of discussion, ignorance, anecdotal evidence and hearsay are the reasons why these myths exist. Also, the effectiveness of hormonal contraception methods are doubted often since these myths are widespread.

Here are the five most common myths about contraception.

  • Myth: There are no side effects of birth control pills.


Fact: There will be side effects if you indulge in an overdose of contraceptive pills. Fertility issues, nausea, vomiting, headaches, cramps and irregular/heavy bleeding are some of the effects.

Other side effects can be:
-Irregular periods: In some cases, periods may also stop
-Breast tenderness
-Mood swings
-Depression and weight changes

  • Myth: I just have to pop a pill right after sex to avoid pregnancy.


Fact: You should take a mini-pill about the same time of day, every day - even when you are menstruating and not right after intercourse. You can choose your own time of day. For example, you may decide to take one in the afternoon or after dinner. But thereafter, you must adhere to that time. If you are late in taking the pill, by more than three hours, you may become pregnant.

  • Myth: I can't get pregnant, if I am breastfeeding.


Fact: Even though breastfeeding tends to postpone ovulation, there is no guarantee for the same. Ovulation can occur, even when a woman is breastfeeding. Thus, in a bid to stay away from pregnancy, start using birth control during this period if you have an active sexual life. This should happen even when your menstruation has not resumed. However, please be informed that you might suffer from a decrease in breast-milk production after going back to the pill, and this should be thoroughly discussed with your healthcare provider.

  • Myth: I won't get pregnant, because there was no ejaculation.


Fact: The process when the penis is removed from the vagina, before the man ejaculates, also known as the withdrawal technique is at times used as a birth control method, but it comes with no guarantees. This depends on how much a man understands his body, because if the man actually begins to climax, i.e. reach his point of sexual excitement, ejaculation can no longer be postponed.

 

  • Myth: Contraceptive pill causes cancer.

Fact: The use of oral contraceptive pill for many years might increase the risk of cancer, but it cannot cause cancer directly. In fact, there are some contraceptive pills which prove to be helpful in lowering the risk of cancer. There are many combination pill which decrease the chances of ovarian and uterine cancers. Even if you stop taking the pill, the benefits related to it persists.

  • Myth: Contraceptive device or pills can cause infertility.

Fact: Taking contraceptive pills for a long time cannot affect your fertility. However, if a woman is suffering from STI then the intrauterine device (IUD) can trigger its transmission into the uterus and thus interfere in the fertility. A woman who is not suffering from STI and do not have multiple sex partners can safely use IUD. Also, pill usage preserves fertility as it reduces the likelihood of ectopic pregnancies, endometriosis and fibroids.

There are two reasons that this myth persists. Firstly, a lot of women don’t understand how the pill affects their reproductive system and assume that it must be ‘up to no good’. In reality, the pill mimics the hormonal effects of pregnancy, in some way a much more natural state of being when you consider our ancestors spent most of their time either making or having babies.
The second reason is that fertility starts to decline for women from about the age of 30. If you have been on the pill for the last decade, you are naturally a decade older and may find it harder to conceive, regardless of whether you have been on the pill or not.

  • Myth: Emergency contraceptive pills offer protection and will keep me away from sexually transmitted diseases.


Fact: They do not protect you from any sexually transmitted disease or AIDS. It is often seen that young women who used to rely totally on the condom earlier, now use i-pills like morning tea. This is worrisome. The possibility of sexual diseases must be considered when engaging in unsafe sex. 20% of the patients are women who take these pills without being aware of the harmful effects. Taking them without the advice of a doctor can create an imbalance between the body and its natural cycle. Emergency contraceptive pills are beneficial only if used once in a month, but if you keep popping the pill the result could be adverse.

NOTE: Choosing the right contraceptive can be challenging especially after your first baby. Gidimoms i advice you discuss with your doctor on the most suitable for your body before making a decision on which contraceptive to use.

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