Standardised birth control methods have been around since 1960, when the contraceptive pill was first approved.
Thankfully, since then, contraceptive science has evolved, but some misinformation about birth control seems to have stood the test of time.
Ever wondered if you really need to take the pill at the same time every day, or whether birth control will make you gain weight? Read on for some myth-busting facts that should put your mind at ease.
Myth #1: Birth control can ruin your fertility.
This is a common myth, but there is no scientific backing to this statement.
The shot, the pill, and even long-acting forms of contraception like the implant and IUDs do not hinder fertility. Vagina-holders who had irregular periods before starting birth control may see delayed ovulation, but that is due to their biological makeup–not their contraception.
So, rest easy. If/when you want to have a baby, your ovaries will still be in working order and ready for you to go for it.
Myth #2: Everyone’s on it because they’re having sex.
This antiquated view is just plain false. Birth control methods can be prescribed to help a myriad of issues including polycystic ovary syndrome, cramps, acne, period regulation and even depression.
In the UK, doctors won’t require you to be in a relationship or having sex to get the pill, either. If you’re honest about why you want to be on birth control, your doctor can provide you with the best option.
Myth #3: If I forget to take a pill, I will get pregnant.
Overslept your pill alarm, or forgot to take it before a night out? Relax, you’re (probably) protected. As long as you have taken your pills regularly until this point, you’ll be okay.
Don’t try and double up–that can lead to nausea and vomiting, which counteracts taking them in the first place. If you had sex, don’t rush out to buy Plan B–again, you run a high risk of getting unnecessary nausea and vomiting.
Pills do not have to be taken every 24 hours on the exact dot, and everyone misses them. Make a note not to do it again, and carry on. If you find yourself often missing doses, ask your doctor about other contraceptive methods like the IUD, patch or implant.
Myth #4: Birth control isn’t effective if you’re overweight
The only truth to this myth is that, based on a small amount of data, the pill and emergency contraception is slightly less effective in women with a BMI over 30.
However, plenty of doctors will still prescribe the pill to overweight and obese patients, because the effectiveness is still very high. Additionally, long-acting and reversible methods of contraception (the implant or IUD, for instance) are equally effective in underweight, normal, overweight or obese individuals.
Myth #5: Birth control makes you gain weight
Google nearly any medication, and it’ll likely autocomplete the phrase with “weight gain.” Unfortunately, birth control isn’t immune to this hysteria, but you can relax: the majority of birth control methods don’t cause weight gain.
The only recent, substantial data about weight gain on birth control comes from a study involving the contraceptive shot. Individuals using this method generally do gain weight, but only when they use this method of contraception.
More often than not, environmental factors are to blame for weight gain–you’re in a better mood, feel more comfortable, or you’re just bloated from your incoming period. But, if you find yourself struggling to lose weight with exercise and diet, it can be worth evaluating your birth control.
Don’t let the fear of gaining weight keep you from seeking out contraception, and don’t be afraid to ask your doctor if you’re concerned about any aspect of your contraception.
If you’re interested in changing your birth control, or getting on it for the first time, you can drop by the Wolverton Centre in Kingston Hospital or schedule an appointment with a GP at the Penrhyn Road Campus.
Looking for some additional protection? Check out our article on Hanx’s new all-natural, vegan condoms here.