The Top 10 Contraceptive Myths

It's no wonder that myths about contraceptives keep making the rounds. During the last hundred years, sex education was often lacking and always controversial. In the early 1900s, birth control was illegal and some religions prohibited its use. When oral contraceptives were developed, debates were waged over their use, even in marriage. Learn the truths about 10 contraceptive myths that still circulate.


I Won't Get Pregnant Having Sex on My Period

A pregnancy test laying on a bathroom sink

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False. Many women believe that having unprotected sex during menstruation or the first or last part of their menstrual cycle will keep them from becoming pregnant. While women usually are more likely to become pregnant mid-cycle, the chance of conceiving at any time of the month may be higher than was previously thought. Another fact to know is that sperm can live up to five days in a woman's body.


I Won't Get Pregnant or Get STDs When I'm on the Pill

False. The birth control pill does not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases. It's true that oral contraceptives are an effective method of birth control when used properly. However, when you first start taking hormonal birth control pills, if you miss a dose, or if you take certain other drugs, they may not be as effective. The only 100 percent foolproof method of preventing an unwanted pregnancy or STDs is abstinence.


Breastfeeding Protects Me From Pregnancy

False. While ovulation and menstruation are not likely to happen while you are regularly breastfeeding your baby, eventually menstruation will return and you may ovulate without knowing it. So, yes it is possible to become pregnant while still breastfeeding your child.


I Won't Get Pregnant Because He Always Pulls out Before Ejaculation

False. This is one of the biggest falsehoods that women believe. Yes, you can get pregnant even if your boyfriend or husband pulls out before ejaculation. Before ejaculation occurs, a small amount of lubricating fluid, which contains sperm, is released. Any vaginal penetration by the penis can result in pregnancy, even if he always pulls out before ejaculation.


Using Vaginal Douches After Sex Can Prevent Pregnancy

FalseVaginal douching, or taking baths or showers after sexual intercourse, does not prevent pregnancy. The sperm has already traveled up towards the egg.


I Won't Get Pregnant the First Time I Have Sex

False. Generally, younger girls are more fertile than older women and can get pregnant very easily. If you've already had your first period, you can become pregnant any time you have sex. Don't believe anyone who tells you that you won't get pregnant "just this one time." Insist on protection!


I Had Unprotected Sex Only One Time, I Can't Be Pregnant

False. One time is all it takes to get pregnant or to get an STD. Don't let anyone talk you into having unprotected sex even once. You may pay for a lifetime through an unplanned pregnancy and the resulting consequences. Take care of yourself and your body and refuse unprotected sex.


I'm Too Old to Get Pregnant

As long as you are having periods, you can become pregnant. While it is true that the older you get the less fertile you are, you must consider yourself fertile and able to get pregnant until you have been without periods for at least one full year. After one year without periods, you no longer need birth control, but you can still catch an STD. Don't engage in unprotected sex unless you are in a monogamous relationship.


I Don't Have Sex Often Enough to Use the Pill

If it is hard to know when you are going to need to use birth control, try using condoms or the Today Sponge. Both can be saved for use when needed. The Sponge offers the benefit of 24-hour protection, so you can insert it in the morning and be protected all day.

If you use condoms, store them in a cool place rather than in your pocket or purse, or they may degrade and fail. In addition, using a spermicide with condoms increases their effectiveness for birth control.


I Have Female Problems, so I Don't Think I Can Get Pregnant

Unless your doctor has told you that you cannot get pregnant due to a medical condition, you need protection. Even if your doctor has told you that you "probably won't get pregnant" without surgery or treatment, use birth control. Many women have had "miracle babies."

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Article Sources
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  2. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Can contraception reduce the risk of getting an infection? Updated January 31, 2017.

  3. Health and Human Services. Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM). Updated May 19, 2019.

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  5. Office on Women's Health. Douching. Updated April 01, 2019.

  6. TeensHealth. Can a Girl Get Pregnant the First Time She Has Sex? Updated January 2017.

  7. National Institute on Aging. What Is Menopause? Updated June 27, 2017.