5 Common Misconceptions About Birth Control Busted, So You Can Rest (And Sex) Easier
Birth control: Some of us learned about it from our parents. Some of us from school. Some of us had the Internet. And some of us just had each other, Miley Cyrus, and Cosmopolitan. It’s no wonder that somewhere along the line, we amassed a well of misinformation about the pregnancy-preventing technology we have available to us. In fact, a study by the Guttmacher Institute found that of the women they studied who got pregnant on the pill, 76 percent of them were using it incorrectly. That’s a lot of accidental babies.
Lucky for you, I'm here with five of the biggest misconceptions I've heard over the years. Hopefully you already know what's up. But if not, no judgment — better now than never, right? And if you have lingering questions or your gut tells you that something you’ve learned wouldn’t stand the test of time (or science), a face-to-face or phone-to-phone chat with your doctor or one of the birth control experts at Planned Parenthood can make you the birth control expert of all your friends and family.
And why wouldn’t you want that? Next time you bust a birth control myth in your circle of friends, they can lavish you with expensive gifts. Or probably just post a kick-ass selfie of your non-pregnant selves at some super cool music festival. You know, whatevs.
1. I just started the pill, so I am good to GO
ALL WRONG. The pill isn't a magic pregnancy prevention cloak that locks down your uterus the second you put it on. Depending on when you start the pill, you could need up to a week before you're fully protected, according to Planned Parenthood. Your doctor might advise you to use a back up method, such as condoms, for the entire first month.
2. I can't use birth control because I'll gain weight
We all know someone who took birth control and gained weight. Still, science keeps looking into the link between weight gain and contraceptives and coming up empty. You might have some bloating or appetite changes in the beginning, but once you get adjusted, you shouldn't see any weight fluctuations because of the medication. The exception to this rule is Depo Provera, or "the shot," which has been linked to weight gain in some women.
3. Birth control kills babies
Yeah, NO. Most forms of birth control work by preventing ovulation and/or fertilization. That means the egg and sperm never meet, and never join forces to create your progeny. If the sperm and egg do meet, birth control keeps them from implanting. It isn't until after implantation that pregnancy hormones happen. So rest easy.
4. Condoms don't fit my man
As a former sex ed professional, please allow me to pause for the world's largest eye roll. OK, I'm done. Sorry. Let me put it this way: I once saw a sex ed teacher put a regular-sized condom on a 20-ounce soda bottle with room to spare. So unless your man has a Guinness Book of World Records situation happening in his pants, there is a condom brand out there with his name all over it.
5. I can't get an IUD because I haven't had kids
This used to be true, so if you've recently heard this, your medical professional might need an update. Skyla, a new, smaller IDU is specifically designed for women who haven't had children. The Mirena and ParaGuard IUDs are easier to insert for women who have had children, but you no longer need to have given birth to get one. So why is schooling your doctor worth it? Because IUDs can last 3 to 10 years, depending on which one you get. And they can come out any time you change your mind about pregnancy.
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