There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding birth control (also known as family planning or contraceptives), and these myths could cause fear, misinformation, and deter people from choosing and using the right birth control for them. In this post, I will be debunking some of these myths, and providing some facts about some of these misconceptions.
BIRTH CONTROL CAUSES INFERTILITY
This is probably the most common and popular myth about birth control that I have come across. A lot of people believe using birth control could cause delay in pregnancy, miscarriages, or even infertility.
Truth is; there is absolutely no evidence to that effect. BIRTH CONTROL DOES NOT CAUSE INFERTILITY. Depending on the birth control method, it could take some weeks or months for a woman’s cycle to get back to normal after stopping. But other than that, other things being equal (i.e if there are no external factors), you should be able to conceive after you stop using birth control. So please, now that you know, do away with this mentality, don’t spread this false information and don’t let the fear of infertility stop you from doing your research and getting on the right birth control method for you and your family.
BIRTH CONTROL IS A WOMAN’S PROBLEM
I disagree with this with my whole chest. lol. While it is true that currently, the birth control options available are mostly for women, I believe men also have a role to play. Planning a family should be a discussion between both parties, and both parties should agree on which method works best for them. It takes 2 to make a child. The fact that the burden to prevent pregnancy lies majorly on the woman, and at times she could get blamed if she has an unplanned pregnancy is just unfair. Men should purpose to play a somewhat active role in this process too. Besides there are birth control options for men; condoms, withdrawal method (Side eye for this, but I just have to mention it sha) and even vasectomies if they are done having kids. So men, get involved in this process! Initiate the discussions with your partner, follow your wives for family planning appointments, and be a support system.
ANYBODY ON BIRTH CONTROL IS SEXUALLY ACTIVE/BIRTH CONTROL INCREASES PROMISCUITY.
While the first part of this myth might be mostly correct, it is not an absolute truth. Girls/Ladies/Women can be on birth control for different reasons apart from preventing pregnancy. Some ladies stay on birth control for hormone regulation or period regulation. Birth control could also help with PMS (premenstrual syndrome)or even symptoms such as heavy bleeding, migraines, menstrual cramps etc. And ladies could be on birth control for health conditions like ovarian cysts, endometriosis, PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome) etc. So be aware that someone being on birth control does not necessarily mean the person is sexually active.
Now for the second part, there have actually been studies done to show the relationship between taking contraceptives and risky sexual behavior. And these studies have found that contraceptives do not increase ‘promiscuous’ behavior in women. Being on birth control reduces the incidences of unintended pregnancies and abortions. I think a sexually active lady taking birth control should be seen as a positive attribute as it shows she is informed, and following safe practices to prevent unintended pregnancies. So let’s stop stigmatizing young ladies, and let’s do better in educating our young ones on the different birth control options available.
BIRTH CONTROL IS 100% EFFECTIVE
This is also not true.
No birth control option is 100% effective. The only sure way to avoid pregnancy is abstinence. Even sterilization methods i.e tubal ligation or vasectomies can fail, albeit very rarely. For the most part though, birth control methods, when used correctly, are effective against unintended pregnancies.
BREASTFEEDING IS 100% EFFECTIVE BIRTH CONTROL
First of all, from my previous post, you should know by now that no birth control method is 100% effective.
Secondly, a lot of couples have learnt this the hard way i.e after welcoming Duduke, lol. While exclusive breastfeeding (and by exclusive, I mean 100% exclusive ) could delay the start of a woman’s period after childbirth, Breastfeeding, when used correctly, is only about 98% effective in preventing pregnancy. Its effectiveness also decreases significantly after the first 6 months. Also, it is important to note that the effectiveness of breastfeeding is based on the fact that lactation delays the period; ovulation however starts before the period onset, so while you might think you haven’t gotten your period back after your baby, having unprotected sex while you are ovulating could lead to pregnancy. And that is why it is important you use alternative birth control methods in addition to breastfeeding, to avoid “BOLUWATIFEs” (IYKYK lol).
WITHDRAWAL METHOD (A.K.A PULLING OUT) IS ENOUGH TO PREVENT PREGNANCY
I remember the first time I heard about this method during Biology class in secondary school (special shout out to Mrs Onigbinde, best biology teacher ever), we all laughed it off and I definitely thought nobody would rely on this method. Well, turns out I couldn’t be more wrong. Apparently, a lot of couples rely on withdrawal method as their sole contraceptive method. Withdrawal method has one of the highest failure rates among contraceptives and that is because you can not always rely on your partner to pull out at the right time. No matter how much a man tries to convince you that he is a pro at this, there is the “human factor” (i.e human beings cannot always be trusted, lol) to consider. If withdrawal is not properly timed, sperm could enter the vagina. Pre ejaculate fluid (i.e pre cum, the fluid a man expels before ejaculation) is also a “thing” and evidence shows that this could contain sperm. So even if the guy withdraws, if pre cum gets into your vagina, you could get pregnant. Remember it only takes 1 sperm to get pregnant and seminal fluid contains millions of sperm. So please, Take Note.
PEEING AFTER SEX PREVENTS PREGNANCY
This is a big NO.
The vagina and the urethra are 2 different holes and 2 different passageways. So, there is no correlation. While peeing after sex might be helpful for preventing urinary tract infections, It won’t stop you from getting pregnant.
And neither will bathing after having sex. Or washing your vagina after sex. Or douching after sex.
THE SIDE EFFECTS OF BIRTH CONTROL OUTWEIGH THE BENEFITS
I know some women stay off birth control because of the various side effects, whether ones they have experienced personally, or ones they have heard of. True, birth control methods could have side effects like headaches, weight gain, excessive bleeding etc. It is important to however note that these side effects vary from person to person i.e what one person experiences may not be the same for the other person.
Also, there are different birth control options to try. If one does not work for you, don’t be quick to give up. In consultation with your family doctor or OB/GYN and partner, give other methods a try till you find one that best suits your needs.
BIRTH CONTROL IS A SIN
I struggled to add this one in. Maybe cause I feel I am not in the right position to say what is and what is not a sin. I know some religions and sects frown against the use of birth control. I also know that birth control can be very empowering for women and families. I am a Christian and I also know that it is not explicitly stated anywhere in the bible that birth control is a sin.
So what I will say at the end of the day is: Go with your convictions. Study the Bible or whichever holy book your religion uses. Do your own personal research on the topic and do not automatically believe or accept what the consensus might be.
And there you have it guys, some of the most common birth control myths. Have you heard any of these before? Are there others I didn’t mention? Any questions? Leave your thoughts in the comment section. I would love to hear from you.
Thank you for reading.
PS: This post should in no way substitute for professional medical advice. If you are having any concerns, please speak to a medical practitioner.