Common misconceptions about contraception
Contraception has transformed our lifestyles and expanded the choices we have in regards to pregnancy timing and controlling our menstrual cycle. From intrauterine devices and patches, to condoms and both hormonal or non-hormonal contraceptive pills, there are a wide range of contraceptives available to control our fertility. With so much information available about contraception and sexual health, it can be difficult to know what's accurate and what is a common contraception myth.
Let’s take a look at seven common misconceptions about contraception, so you can feel comfortable knowing that you’re making the right decisions when it comes to your contraception and sexual health.
Contraception Myth 1: The Contraceptive pill makes me gain weight
False! One of the most common contraception misconceptions is that contraceptive pills cause weight gain. However, scientific research has consistently shown that there is no significant relationship between weight gain and taking the contraceptive pill. While all medicines have their own side effects, with some people experiencing slight water retention or changes in appetite, they are usually temporary and do not result in a higher weight gain.
Contraception Myth 2: Wearing condoms are uncomfortable
This common contraception misconception is false! While it’s true that wearing the wrong size condom can be uncomfortable, condoms have been specially designed to prioritise comfort. They come in a range of different shapes and sizes, to make sure that they are as comfortable as possible from king-size condoms to trim. There is even a Silk Thin Condom, our thinnest ever condom, designed to provide an ultra sensitive and close sexual experience.
Also, by using the right size condom, you experience increased intimacy and sexual pleasure knowing that you are fully protected against sexually transmitted infections and the risk of unintended pregnancy - making condoms the perfect contraceptive choice!
Contraception Myth 3: Contraception is only for females
False! Everyone has a responsibility to protect their own sexual health, regardless of gender and identity. Whilst there are more contraceptive options for those with a vagina, those with a penis also have options; condoms or a more permanent contraception such as a vasectomy. It’s important for both partners to communicate openly about their contraception choices and the best option for them.
Contraception Myth 4: I don’t need contraception, as we use the pull-out method
False! Even if you use the pull-out method, you can be at risk of unintended pregnancy, as pre-ejaculate, also known as pre-cum, still contains a small amount of sperm. In addition, using the pull-out method as a contraceptive option doesn’t protect you against sexually transmitted infections, as there’s no barrier against sexual fluids being transferred, in the same way condoms offer that protection.
Contraception Myth 5: Long-term contraception can be harmful
False! Another common misconception is that long-term contraception can be harmful, however, long-term contraception, such as IUD’s and implants are some of the most reliable forms of contraception available, and can be used for several years before being replaced. While long-term contraception protects you from unintended pregnancy, it still doesn’t protect you from the risk of sexually transmitted infections, so it’s a good idea to always use a condom alongside another method of contraception. It’s important to talk to a contraception expert to help you make the best decision in long-term contraception for you.
Contraception Myth 6: You can’t get pregnant on your period
False! While the risk of pregnancy is lower during your period, it is still possible, especially if you have a shorter menstrual cycle. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days, with women typically ovulating about 12-14 days before their period. Sperm can live in the body for up to seven days so the risk of pregnancy could occur if sexual activity happens shortly before or after menstruation.
Contraception Myth 7: It’s good to take a break from contraception
False! Some people believe the body needs to take a rest from taking contraception regularly, however it’s completely safe to be on contraception long-term if your contraception nurse or doctor is happy for you to continue. Sometimes, a review of your contraception options occurs, to make sure you are still happy with the contraception you are using and it works for your lifestyle. Those that have particular problems, such as high blood pressure or migraines might be advised to not use contraceptives that contain oestrogen, but your medical provider will discuss that with you if you fall into those categories.