There are a number of birth control methods that are highly effective in preventing pregnancy. There is also a lot of misinformation about how to use contraception, as well as some methods that simply do not work.
Following are some common myths about birth control:
1. Fertility is affected when you go off hormonal contraceptives
Rumor has it that you spend all that time and energy trying to prevent pregnancy, only to find that it’s harder to get pregnant after you get off the Pill. But the truth is: While there may be a slight delay in the return of your fertility, no permanent harm will have been done — infertility is not a birth control side effect. Once ovulation resumes, you can become pregnant. Most women will begin to ovulate in the first three to six months after stopping the Pill.
2. The pill makes you gain tons of weight
This is not true. Of course, some people gain weight and some people lose weight while taking the pill, but there’s not enough evidence to blame it on the birth control.
3. You should take a break from my birth control periodically
There’s no reason to take a break from your birth control. Doing so won’t make you healthier, but it could make you pregnant. In fact, you could get pregnant pretty immediately after stopping the pill or taking out your IUD. The moral of the story is don’t take a break from your birth control unless you’re aiming for a baby.
4. Using an IUC (intrauterine contraceptive) ruins your chances of having a baby in the future
When a woman uses an IUC, it does not change her chances of having a baby. Women who use an IUC can get pregnant later just as quickly as women who use other methods. IUCs are safe for women of any age. IUCs work well for women who haven’t had any children yet.
4. All antibiotics cancel out the pill
Most antibiotics won’t affect your birth control – the only antibiotics that can make hormonal contraceptives less effective are rifampicin and rifabutin. These drugs increase the enzymes in your body and are used to treat diseases such as tuberculosis and meningitis. The extra enzymes that these antibiotics produce can prevent the pill from being absorbed, making women vulnerable to unwanted pregnancy.
If you’re taking rifampicin or rifabutin, it’s wise to use a different form of contraception, like condoms, as a precaution. Since every woman’s body responds differently to antibiotics, it’s impossible to determine if other medication will make the pill less effective.
5. You don’t need to be on birth control if you’re breastfeeding
This very common myth is totally false—and probably to blame for many unplanned pregnancies. Breastfeeding exclusively (without supplementing with formula) can suppress the hormones from the pituitary gland that make you ovulate. So while there’s certainly a dip in your fertility at this time, it’s nowhere near foolproof. And if you breastfeed sometimes while supplementing with formula, all bets are off.