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Myth busters

In this section you will learn about the myths that exist around contraception.

There are many myths and unfounded concerns about the different contraceptives, often exaggerated on social media, and it is important to explore whether she has any specific concerns.

  • She may have ideas about the methods through previous personal experience which may have led to her discontinuing a method. 
  • She may have concerns about side effects or perceptions about different methods so care must be taken to unpick any myths she may have. 
  • And appreciate any expectations she may have about efficacy of the methods, or whether she is hoping the method may provide additional non-contraceptive benefits, such as reducing menstrual loss. 

Examples of myths

  • Pills work well 
    • The contraceptive pills do work well if taken on a daily basis but many women have busy lives and the pill may be forgotten.  User error makes pills less effective at preventing pregnancy.  The estimated failure rate of typical use is 9% in the first year of use. 
  • Contraception makes you put on weight 
    • The majority of contraceptive methods have no effect on increasing a woman’s weight.  The contraceptive injection may cause weight gain but that is usually in younger women when they first start using it. 
  • A monthly bleed is necessary 
    • Hormonal contraception (pills, injection, implant, hormone ‘coil’) all have an effect on thinning the lining of the womb which may reduce or stop bleeding.  This is not a medical concern and may be beneficial especially to those who have heavy periods. 
  • You don’t need contraception when you are breast feeding 
    • Fully breast feeding when the baby is aged less than 6 months reduces fertility but as soon as any milk supplement is introduced or the baby is over the age of 6 months then pregnancy may occur.   
  • You can’t have a coil if you haven’t had a baby. 
    • A coil is an excellent method of contraception and can be used by women who have had children, those who have had children by caesarian section and those who have never had children. 
  • Contraception makes you infertile
    • Sterilisation operations for the man or woman mean that no further pregnancies are possible but all other methods once stopped do not cause infertility. 

Do you know other concerns about contraception and where you could find information to help women with their choices?