7 Birth Control Myths You Should Never Believe
Important stuff, guys
Babies are sweet and lovely (and smell delicious) but also a massive commitment and life-changing responsibility, so if you’re not trying to have one any time soon, you should probably make it your business to really understand birth control. Therefore, we present seven common misconceptions about preventing pregnancy.
Myth: If you’re breastfeeding, you don’t need to be on birth control
Yes, breastfeeding can suppress the hormones from the pituitary gland that make you ovulate, which often causes a dip in fertility but definitely doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant again. Especially if you’re supplementing breastfeeding with formula, this is by no means an effective form of birth control. For the time being, use backup protection.
Myth: You shouldn’t get an IUD unless you’ve already had a baby
The idea here is that once you’ve had a child, it’s easier to get an IUD (a small, T-shaped contraceptive device that's inserted into the uterus and stops sperm from reaching and fertilizing eggs) into your uterus. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, though, IUDs should be the “first-line contraceptive choice for adolescents” because of how effective they are.
Myth: You have to take the pill at the exact time every day for it to work
Nope. Most women on the pill are taking a combination of estrogen and progestin, but a small fraction of women take what’s called the mini-pill (a progestin-only birth control that you do have to take at the same time). For those on the regular pill, though, there’s no difference in when you take it each day.
Myth: It's no big deal to skip a day
Missing one day isn't cause for major concern, but if and when you do space out, take that day's pill as soon as you realize. That might mean taking two in one day, but it's totally fine. If you miss more than one day, consult your doctor on how to get back on schedule. And maybe use a second method of control that month just to be safe.
Myth: Being on birth control for a long time will make it hard to get pregnant
There’s no research that backs up the idea that long-term contraceptive use impacts future fertility. That said, while some women start ovulating almost immediately after going off the pill, in other women it can take up to nine months for all the hormones to leave the body. (Though it’s definitely still possible to get pregnant during this time.)
Myth: Being on the pill will make you gain weight
Not the case--necessarily. Every body is different and as such responds differently to birth control. However, a 2014 study by the Cochrane Library didn’t find sufficient evidence that birth control causes weight gain. That’s not to say that you won’t, but it isn’t guaranteed.
Myth: The pill is effective immediately after you start taking it
Not in every case, which is important to know. Some women have to go through a complete menstrual cycle for the pill’s hormones to work to prevent ovulation. Always use a second method of protection until you’ve hit your second month.