For Quick Alerts
For Daily Alerts

World Contraception Day 2019: Myths And Facts About Contraception Methods

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 [1] .

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 [2] .

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[3] .

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 [4] .

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 [5] . 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 [6] .

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 [7] .

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 [8] . 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 [9] .

On the other hand, it can safeguard one's fertility by offering protection against pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, and ectopic pregnancy [10] .

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 [11] .

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 [12] . 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 [13] . Therefore, suggesting that pills do not really reduce the sexual desire for all.

How Can Birth Control Pills Affect A Woman's Life

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 [14] .

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 [15] .

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 [16] .

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 [17] .

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[18] .

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 [19] .

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.

View Article References
  1. [1] McLaren, A. (1990). A history of contraception: from antiquity to the present day.
  2. [2] Nelson, A. L., Westhoff, C., & Schnare, S. M. (2008). Real-world patterns of prescription refills for branded hormonal contraceptives: a reflection of contraceptive discontinuation. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 112(4), 782-787.
  3. [3] Aitken, R. J., Baker, M. A., Doncel, G. F., Matzuk, M. M., Mauck, C. K., & Harper, M. J. (2008). As the world grows: contraception in the 21st century. The Journal of clinical investigation, 118(4), 1330-1343.
  4. [4] Charlton, B. M., Mølgaard-Nielsen, D., Svanström, H., Wohlfahrt, J., Pasternak, B., & Melbye, M. (2016). Maternal use of oral contraceptives and risk of birth defects in Denmark: prospective, nationwide cohort study. bmj, 352, h6712.
  5. [5] Mørch, L. S., Skovlund, C. W., Hannaford, P. C., Iversen, L., Fielding, S., & Lidegaard, Ø. (2017). Contemporary hormonal contraception and the risk of breast cancer. New England Journal of Medicine, 377(23), 2228-2239.
  6. [6] Iversen, L., Sivasubramaniam, S., Lee, A. J., Fielding, S., & Hannaford, P. C. (2017). Lifetime cancer risk and combined oral contraceptives: the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Oral Contraception Study. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 216(6), 580-e1.
  7. [7] Mei, J. Y., Afshar, Y., Gregory, K. D., Kilpatrick, S. J., & Esakoff, T. F. (2016). Birth plans: what matters for birth experience satisfaction. Birth, 43(2), 144-150.
  8. [8] Quint, E. H. (2016). Adolescents with special needs: clinical challenges in reproductive health care. Journal of pediatric and adolescent gynecology, 29(1), 2-6.
  9. [9] Grentzer, J. M., Parks, C., & Peipert, J. F. (2017). Contraception and Sterilization. In Clinical Reproductive Medicine and Surgery (pp. 447-460). Springer, Cham.
  10. [10] Balbás, B. P. B., Balbás, L. A. B., & Rivera, A. P. (2018). Contraceptive Methods and the Subsequent Search for a Pregnancy. Family Planning, 213.
  11. [11] Griffith, H. W. (2017). Complete Guide to Prescription and Nonprescription Drugs 2018-2019. Penguin.
  12. [12] Boozalis, M. A., Tutlam, N. T., Robbins, C. C., & Peipert, J. F. (2016). Sexual desire and hormonal contraception. Obstetrics and gynecology, 127(3), 563.
  13. [13] Caruso, S., Cianci, S., Cariola, M., Fava, V., Di Pasqua, S., & Cianci, A. (2017). Improvement of low sexual desire due to antiandrogenic combined oral contraceptives after switching to an oral contraceptive containing 17 β-estradiol. Journal of Women's Health, 26(7), 728-734.
  14. [14] Perez, M. J., Squires, K. J., Parks, L., & Peipert, J. F. (2015). Perceived Weight Gain Among Adolescents Using Contraception. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, 28(2), e70.
  15. [15] Richters, J., Grulich, A. E., de Visser, R. O., Smith, A. M., & Rissel, C. E. (2003). Sex in Australia: contraceptive practices among a representative sample of women. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health, 27(2), 210-216.
  16. [16] Hatcher, R. A. (1997). The essentials of contraceptive technology. Johns Hopkins INFO Project.
  17. [17] Ceylan, A., Ertem, M., Saka, G., & Akdeniz, N. (2009). Post abortion family planning counseling as a tool to increase contraception use. BMC Public Health, 9(1), 20.
  18. [18] Santelli, J. S., Lindberg, L. D., Finer, L. B., & Singh, S. (2007). Explaining recent declines in adolescent pregnancy in the United States: the contribution of abstinence and improved contraceptive use. American journal of public health, 97(1), 150-156.
  19. [19] Brown, S., & Guthrie, K. (2010). Why don't teenagers use contraception? A qualitative interview study. The European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care, 15(3), 197-204.
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Boldsky sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Boldsky website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more