World Contraception Day (WCD), celebrated on the 26th of September every year, is a day set aside to raise awareness on all contraceptive methods available and also enable women to make informed choices. With so many options ranging from pills, arm implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs), it has become easy for women to find contraceptives that work for them. However, with a lot of misinformation out there, women tend to be scared and refrain from using the best contraceptive suited for them. The 2018 National Demographic and Health Survey reported a 12% and 28% use of any modern method of contraception among married and sexually active unmarried women in Nigeria respectively.
Some common myths about birth control/contraceptives include:
You Can’t Get Pregnant if You’re on Birth Control: No matter what contraceptive you use, pregnancy is still possible. No contraceptive method is 100% effective as even sterilization, which is over 99% effective, is not perfect.
Contraceptives Cause Weight Gain: Research has shown that contraceptives do not cause weight gain or that the average user only gains a few pounds. A Cochrane review conducted in 2016 shows little or no evidence of weight gain.
Taking the Morning After-Pill is Similar to Having an Abortion: The morning after pill also known as Plan B, is a high dose birth control pill used in emergency cases where a person has had sex without using birth control. Currently, there is only evidence that the pill delays ovulation. It does not disrupt an established pregnancy and therefore cannot cause an abortion. The morning after pill is commonly confused for the abortion pill.
Contraceptives Can Damage a Woman’s Fertility: Although it can take a few months for a person’s menstrual cycle to return to normal following the use of hormonal birth control, there is no evidence that they affect fertility long term. A study in 2011 showed that the rate of pregnancy among previous birth control users and those who had never used it were similar.
What other myths concerning contraception have you heard?
N.B: Always consult with a health practitioner when choosing a contraceptive method.