Contraception – Myth vs. Fact
We asked our experts to expose some of the most common myths about oral contraception.
- Taking a birth control pill delays pregnancy
One of the myths, that is prevalent across the globe, is that pregnancy is delayed when you are on contraceptive pills for months. On the contrary, you can get pregnant as soon as you stop taking the pill. A woman can get pregnant within a week, after stopping the pill. Infact, oral contraceptive pills reduce the likelihood of infertility ; specifically because of all the good effects mentioned below
The pill can also reduce or help prevent:
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Cysts in the breasts and ovaries
- Ectopic pregnancy—a pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus, particularly in the fallopian tubes
- Some kinds of cancers- the pill is also known to decrease the risk of ovarian and uterine cancers. In addition, researchers are also investigating whether birth control pills decrease the chance of developing colon or rectal cancers.
- Serious infections in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus
- Iron deficiency (anaemia)
- Taking contraceptive pills makes you gain weight
Another popular misunderstanding is that oral contraceptive pills result in weight gain. Hormonal disturbances can cause weight gain but the pills are not directly responsible for it. There is also cyclical weight gain that is due to fluid retention; this is more noticeable in some than others. The NHS has published several papers and studies to show that there is little medical evidence that the latest contraceptive pills cause women to gain weight. The most important factor in weight gain is a poor, high-calorie diet and lack of exercise.
- Oral contraception has to be taken at the same time every day
A difference by a couple of hours is not going to make any difference. If you stick to the same time, the only advantage is that you will not forget taking it. If you miss one pill (late by up to 24 hours), take a pill as soon as you remember and take your next pill, of the day too. Even if that means taking two in one day.
- Hormonal problems can be caused by using contraceptives for long
Minor side effects can be breast enlargement, cramps, pains in the legs, headache and nausea. The hormone levels present in these pills isn’t too high, and they can be safely used for years. Before rushing to change formulations, never forget that there might be another, non-pill related explanation for these side effects.
- Using 2 condoms makes sex safer
Condoms are 98% effective. But using 2 at the same time will not cut the risk of 2%. On the contrary, they rub against each other and tear off easily.
Same goes for baby oils; these oils destroy over 90% of a condom’s strength after only 15 min of contact.
- Use only good quality condoms
- Avoid any oil based lubricants
- Use each condom once only
- Breastfeeding is a natural contraceptive
Ask a gynaecology specialist for a safe contraceptive when breastfeeding, because it is not going to cut down the chances of getting pregnant. The absence of periods during the initial days of motherhood is also believed to prevent pregnancy, which is not true. If your baby is 6 months old, you have resumed periods, or your baby has started top feed; consult an expert gynaecologist and start another method of contraception.
- Taking pills can lead to other problems
Contraceptive pills can protect you against endometrial and ovarian cancer. There is no data suggesting that oral contraceptive pills causes depression or any other psychiatric disorder.
- Contraceptive methods cannot be used by everyone
Women who are obese, who smoke, are under age of 35 years and are diabetic can also resort to pills and UTI to prevent pregnancy.
- Sex during periods is safe
Being on your period is not going to stop your chances of getting pregnant. The sperm will live in the body till 7 days. The moment your period ends, and the eggs are produced, there are high chances of getting pregnant.
- Emergency contraceptive pills should be taken only in the morning
ECP is meant to be taken immediately after unprotected sex. But many women who do not have pills ready take it the next morning, and still, they are effective. In fact, a few pellets are active even if taken after 5 to 6 days after sex. We should be aware that abdominal pain after EC pill can be due to pregnancy in the fallopian tube. Consult your gynaecologist if you experience any discomfort or pain after taking ECP.
Visit our consultants at the CK Birla Hospital to know more.