Contraceptives and tenacious myths about them
Think you know everything about birth control? Learn the truth about common misconceptions and myths!
In Reality: the truth is that it all depends on the recipe. In 2011, scientists from the statistics center “Cochran Database System Review” analyzed 49 studies, which compared different contraceptives, and found no evidence that the contraceptive pill causes weight gain. However, a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology revealed that women who received an injection of the contraceptive drug Depo-Provera, gain 5 kg and increased body fat by 3.4% over 3 years. If you are afraid to gain weight after taking contraceptives, it would be better to consult with your doctor.
Myth 2: You Don’t Have to Take Contraceptives During Breast-Feeding
In Reality: this common myth has nothing to do with reality, and that it is likely to be the reason for many unplanned pregnancies, says Mary Jane Minkin, clinical Professor of gynecology at Yale School of Medicine. The truth is that breastfeeding with a complete rejection of infant formula, can suppress the hormones produced by the pituitary gland, which is responsible for ovulation. But although this leads to a reduced ability to conceive, breastfeeding does not guarantee 100% safety from an unplanned pregnancy. “And if you still sometimes use the infant formula, adds Professor Minkin, your chance to avoid pregnancy equals zero”.
Myth 3: Birth Control Pills Should Be Taken at the Same Time
In Reality: regardless of the common belief, taking a pill strictly at the same time every day does not affect its performance, said Vice-President of the International Medical Family Planning Union Vanessa Cullins. This myth is true just regarding “mini-pill” (a contraceptive based on the progestin, which should be taken at the same time), but the vast majority of women take birth control pills containing the combination of estrogen and progestin. However, you should stick to the schedule in case you suffer from a certain forgetfulness.
Myth 4: Long-Term Use of Birth Control Pills Lowers the Chance of Getting Pregnant in the Future
In Reality: it’s hard to believe, but it is possible to get pregnant immediately after you stop taking birth control pills, says Dr. Minkin. And this applies to all methods of contraception, with the exception of injection of Depo Provera (it can take you from 6 to 9 months before the hormones return to their normal levels allowing you to get pregnant). But even in this case, don’t overestimate your chances of avoiding an unplanned pregnancy. The result: contraceptives will not affect your ability to conceive a child in the future.
Myth 5: Modern Forms of Contraception Are Less Reliable Than the Old Ones
In Reality: Perhaps you have heard that the new contraceptives contain higher amounts of hormones and are much more dangerous than older proven drugs. The truth is, says Professor Minkin, that the new contraceptives contain fewer hormones. Although studies have revealed a slight increase in the risk of blood clots in women taking modern means of contraception; however, this risk is negligible and even lower than during pregnancy.
Myth 6: The Intra-uterine Device Should Be Put Only After a Birth of a Desirable Number of Children
In Reality: Any woman, who wants to receive a maximum guarantee against unwanted pregnancy, should speak with her gynecologist on the subject of IUDs, even if she has no children. The myth that the device should only be put when you do not plan to have children in the future has grown on the basis of the recommendations of this method of contraception to women who already gave birth to several children because their uterus and cervix were slightly dilated, which makes the installation of the helix more comfortable, professor Minkin explains. But now new variants of this device have appeared, they are smaller and the dose of hormones is suitable for women who have not given birth to children yet. Moreover, the intrauterine device gives 99% guarantee of preventing an unplanned pregnancy.
Myth 7: It Is Bad to Use Birth Control Pills to Skip Menstruation
In Reality: the change of the menstrual cycle by means of the contraceptive pill is considered to be something unacceptable and forbidden. “If you get a prescription for birth control pills, so the doctor has already considered you a generally healthy person who has no problems with the blood pressure, who is older than 35 and who does not smoke. And it gives you the right to change your cycle a little bit,” said professor Minkin.
Myth 8: Condoms Reduce Pleasure Significantly
In Reality: forget about the bad reputation of condoms. Both men and women get the same pleasure from sex with a condom or without — according to a recent study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. So if you want to avoid hormonal changes associated with birth control pills, do not rush to reject this option.
Myth 9: The Body Needs “Rest” From Pills
In Reality: the only reason to refuse contraception is a desire to get pregnant. Otherwise, stick to the chosen method of contraception as long as you need, recommends Professor Minkin.