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12 Common Contraception Myths: Fact Or Fiction?

Navigating the world of sexual health can be challenging for teenagers, parents, and educators alike. One topic that often leads to confusion and misinformation is contraception. It is crucial to separate facts from fiction to make informed decisions about contraception. This article will delve into the misconceptions and facts surrounding contraception, and debunk common contraception myths.

Myth 1: Oral contraceptive pills (aka birth control pills) cause weight gain.


Several large studies have been conducted to investigate the potential link between oral contraceptive use and weight gain. These studies have consistently shown that there is no significant association between the use of oral contraceptives and weight gain. While some women may experience minor weight fluctuations while using oral contraceptives, any changes are generally attributed to factors such as fluid retention or natural weight fluctuations rather than the contraceptive pills themselves. However, this is usually temporary and tends to subside within a few months as the body adjusts to the hormonal changes brought about by the oral contraceptive pills. It's essential to remember that weight can be influenced by various factors, including lifestyle, diet, genetics, and hormonal changes, unrelated to birth control use.

Myth 2: You can't get pregnant during your period.


While the likelihood of becoming pregnant during menstruation is relatively low, it is still possible. Ovulation, the release of an egg from the ovary, typically occurs about halfway through the menstrual cycle. However, every woman's cycle varies, and some women may experience irregular cycles or ovulate at different times. Sperm can survive in the female reproductive system for up to five days. So if a person has sex without proper contraception towards the end of their period, and ovulation occurs soon after, there is a possibility of a pregnancy. Thus, it's important to use an appropriate form of contraception if a person is sexually active and aims to prevent pregnancy.

Myth 3: Emergency contraception pill (aka morning-after pill) is the same as an abortion pill.


An emergency contraception pill is not an abortion pill. It works by preventing or delaying ovulation (release of the egg from the ovary) if taken up to 72 hours before unprotected sex has occurred, thus preventing unintended pregnancy. This method is not effective if a pregnancy has already occurred, unlike an abortion pill. An emergency contraceptive pill does not terminate an existing pregnancy but rather prevents it. If you have concerns or questions about emergency contraception, refer to our post for more information.

Myth 4: An IUD can get lost inside the body.


An Intrauterine device (IUD) is designed to stay securely in place inside the uterus. Once inserted, it is extremely rare for an IUD to become dislodged or get "lost" inside the body. The IUD has a string attached to it that hangs down into the vagina, allowing for easy removal if desired. These can be checked regularly to ensure that the IUD is still in place.

Myth 5: You need to take a break from hormonal contraception periodically.


There is no medical necessity to take extended breaks from hormonal contraception, other than the 4-day or 7-day break at the end of each cycle when using methods like the oral contraceptive pill or vaginal ring. In fact, continuously using hormonal methods without extended breaks can provide continuous contraceptive protection. The decision to take breaks should be made in consultation with a doctor based on individual circumstances. Regular check-ups and discussions with your doctor can ensure that your contraceptive method remains suitable for your needs and lifestyle.

Myth 6: “Pulling out” (aka withdrawal method) is an effective contraceptive method.


Withdrawal, also known as the "pull-out" method, has a 22% failure rate. It relies on the ability of the individual to withdraw the penis before ejaculation occurs during sex, which can be difficult to time accurately. Pre-ejaculate fluid can also contain sperm, which can cause an unintended pregnancy.

Therefore, it is advisable to use more reliable contraceptive methods for better protection, such as a condom, oral contraceptive pill, contraceptive injection, implant, or intrauterine device (IUD).

Myth 7: Using contraception will make you infertile.


Using contraception does not cause infertility. Contraceptive methods are designed to avoid unintended pregnancies and do not permanently affect fertility. Most methods are reversible - once stopped, fertility returns to normal. However, it's important to note that certain medical conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis, can affect fertility. If you have concerns about your fertility, it's recommended to consult with a doctor for a thorough evaluation and personalized advice.

Myth 8: Contraception is only for preventing pregnancy.


While contraception is primarily used to prevent unintended pregnancies, some methods also play a vital role in protecting against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Barrier methods, such as condoms, can not only prevent pregnancy but also reduce the risk of STIs, if used correctly. Additionally, hormonal methods like oral contraceptive pills, can help regulate menstrual cycles, reduce menstrual cramps, and manage hormonal conditions like acne or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), amongst other benefits. It's important to choose a method that aligns with both your pregnancy prevention goals and overall sexual health needs.

Myth 9: All contraceptive methods are equally effective.


Different contraceptive methods have varying levels of effectiveness. It's important to understand the effectiveness rates of different methods and choose one that aligns with your needs and preferences.

Methods such as hormonal implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs) have an effectiveness rate of 99.9% and 99.2%, respectively. These methods offer long-term protection against pregnancy and require minimal user involvement once inserted correctly.

Oral contraceptive pills have an effectiveness rate of 99.7% when used correctly and consistently. However, in case of incorrect or inconsistent use, the effectiveness rate can drop to 93%. On the other hand, barrier methods like male and female condoms, and diaphragms also have varying levels of reliability. Male condoms, for example, have a reliability rate of around 98% when used perfectly. While female condoms are 95% reliable and diaphragms are 94% reliable when used perfectly. However, typical reliability due to inconsistent or incorrect use is 87% for male condoms, 79% for female condoms, and 83% for diaphragms.

It's important to discuss the effectiveness rates of different methods with a doctor to make an informed decision.

Myth 10: Contraception is only a woman's responsibility.


Contraception affects both partners involved and is, therefore, a shared responsibility. It's essential for partners involved to discuss contraception and actively participate in choosing and using a method that suits their needs. Open and honest communication about sexual health and contraception can strengthen the relationship and ensure that the partners feel empowered and supported. It's important to remember that contraception is not solely the responsibility of one gender, and there are contraceptive methods available for both men and women.

Myth 11: Contraception is only necessary until a certain age or stage in life.


Contraception is important for individuals of all ages and life stages who are sexually active. Unplanned pregnancies can happen due to unprotected sex at any point in an individual’s reproductive life. Contraception helps them prevent it and allows them to become parents only when they are ready.

Additionally, contraception can offer other benefits beyond pregnancy prevention, such as managing menstrual symptoms, hormonal imbalance, or other medical conditions.

It's important to discuss your contraceptive needs and goals with a doctor to find the most suitable method for you.

Myth 12: Contraception leads to promiscuity or encourages unsafe sexual behaviour.


There is no evidence to suggest that contraception leads to promiscuity or encourages unsafe sexual behaviour. Contraception is an essential tool for individuals to exercise control over their reproductive health and make responsible choices regarding their sexual health. It enables individuals to protect themselves and their partners from unintended pregnancies and STIs, prioritizing their well-being and that of their partners.


Dispelling contraception myths is crucial for promoting responsible and safe sexual practices.

Understanding the facts and debunking common misconceptions empowers individuals to make informed decisions. It is important to consult with a doctor to discuss your individual needs and receive personalized guidance on the best-suited contraception for you.



  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2018). FAQ: Adolescents and long-acting reversible contraception.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Contraception for Adolescents and Young Adults.

  • Planned Parenthood. (2022). Birth Control Methods.

  • World Health Organization. (2019). Family Planning/Contraception.


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