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World Contraception Day is observed on 26 September every year. Launched in 2007, World Contraception Day aims to improve awareness of contraception and to enable young people to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health. The day also focuses on spreading the message that every pregnancy is wanted. That is, the annual worldwide campaign focuses on allowing women to make informed choices about their reproductive health, in the hope that every pregnancy is intentional  .
Why Is Contraception Important?
Primarily, contraception is focused on the aspects of family planning. It is the best available protection against STIs, convenient to use and effective  .
Planning a pregnancy through the use of effective contraception has several advantages such as,
- it helps optimise the health of the woman before pregnancy by stabilising her medical condition or getting the medical condition under better control and
- avoid complications in pregnancy by entering pregnancy in the best state of health.
Apart from these, contraception help reduce the teenage pregnancies, promote healthy babies and more importantly, use of contraception help slow down population growth - which is extremely important for a country like India which is the second most populated country of the world after China .
Even in the 21st century, a large part of the global population refrain from the discussions on contraception, where some even does not 'believe' in the use of contraception. In one part if it is their religious beliefs that are stopping them from using contraceptive measures, for others it can simply be, lack of awareness!
On this World Contraception Day, Boldsky will give you the real data behind the myths about contraception and contraceptive measures.
Contraception Myths Debunked!
Myth 1: There is a risk of birth defects
Fact: NO it doesn't. Some women believe that using contraceptive pills can cause birth defects in their babies. Studies and scientific data reveal that contraceptive pills will not cause any birth defects or even cause any harm to the foetus. It is completely safe if the woman becomes pregnant while taking pills or accidentally takes a pill when she already pregnant  .
Myth 2: Hormonal contraceptives increase the risk of cancer
Fact: A common misconception is that contraceptive pills can cause breast cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer. Studies have revealed that the use of pills, in fact, can reduce the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers  . Although more studies have to be conducted on exploring its exact impact on breast cancer and cervical cancer, the possibility of it increasing the risks are invalid  .
Myth 3: Birth control is 100 per cent effective
Fact: Let me break it to you (with the support of hundreds of studies), no contraceptive measure is 100 per cent effective. Intrauterine devices or IUDs are the most effective non-surgical form of contraception  .
Myth 4: You will experience general health problems
Fact: There is a common misconception that using contraception can cause hair loss (alopecia), asthma and headaches  . It is common to experience short term side effects such as changes in bleeding patterns, headaches, and nausea. However, these stop within the first few months of usage.
Myth 5: There is a risk of infertility or a delayed return to fertility
Fact: Research shows long-term birth control methods do not affect future fertility and also that fertility varies from one person to the other. Despite the facts such as, how long a woman has taken the pill, the number of children the woman has had, or the age of the woman, the pills do not affect a woman's fertility  .
On the other hand, it can safeguard one's fertility by offering protection against pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, and ectopic pregnancy  .
Myth 6: Contraceptive pills can get absorbed into the wrong part of the body
Fact: Surveys and studies revealed that a large number of women believe that the pills can accumulate in the body and eventually get stored in stomach, ovaries, or uterus and form stones. However, scientific proof shows that the pills dissolve in the digestive system and the hormones in it are absorbed into the bloodstream  .
Once it is used up by your body, the hormones are metabolised in the liver and gut and are then eliminated from the body.
Myth 7: Contraceptive pills encourage 'promiscuity'
Fact: Yes, there have been reports where people refrain from using contraceptive pills because it encourages infidelity or promiscuity in women. There is no evidence that the pills affect women's sexual behaviour  . General evidence reveals that sexual behaviour is unrelated to contraceptive use.
Myth 8: Pills can reduce sexual desire and pleasure
Fact: It is a common misconception that pills can reduce sexual pleasure or interest in women. However, studies point out that while in some it does decrease the sex drive, in some it has been shown to increase it  . Therefore, suggesting that pills do not really reduce the sexual desire for all.
Myth 9: Hormonal contraceptives cause weight gain
Fact: Research shows that the pill and IUDs do not cause weight gain. However, when it comes to injected progesterone-only methods, it can be slightly true as some studies have revealed it to cause a small increase in weight in some women  .
Myth 10: I don't need contraception because we only have sex during the "safe" time
Fact: While a woman's cycle is more or less regular at most times, an imbalance in the hormones due to factors such as age, stress and medicine can make it difficult to exactly pinpoint the 'safe' time. So, it is a basic lack of menstrual cycle understanding that causes people to have these thoughts  .
Myth 11: The pill is effective immediately after you begin taking it
Fact: NO IT IS NOT! In most women, at least one week is needed for the pills to be effective and to prevent ovulation  .
Myth 12: All contraceptive methods are appropriate for all women
Fact: No! Choosing a contraceptive is an important health decision. Various factors have to be taken into consideration for choosing the right type of contraceptive method. Every woman is different, so it is advised to make an appointment with your physician to discuss the options  .
Myth 13: No one uses methods other than birth control pills and condoms
Fact: While birth control pills paired with condoms serve as a common method, another type of methods are also in prominence now. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the implants are some of the most used measures .
Myth 14: I've had unprotected sex and didn't get pregnant, so I don't need birth control
Fact: Out of luck, you may have not gotten pregnant without the use of contraceptive measures. However, it does not mean that you can never get pregnant. Be it the first time or the hundredth, the chances of pregnancy are extremely high in the absence of contraceptive measures  .
Myth 15: You can use plastic wrap or a balloon if you don't have a condom
Fact: Please don't! Here, the importance of awareness is yet again brought to the forefront. Plastic wrap and balloons are not good to be used as condoms. Apart from the question of hygiene and comfort, it can easily fall off or tear off during sex.
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