Ideally, every human with functional reproductive organs should be well versed on the basics of birth control from the moment they hit puberty. But if you’ve emerged from your teens with foggy information about pregnancy prevention, it’s not too late to get some clarity. Taking control of your reproductive health will help you get further in your career, thrive financially, and have better relationships – simply put, an unplanned pregnancy could seriously cramp your style.
Here are the top five myths about birth control you can write off as fiction, as well as some facts about how to have safer sex.
The pill makes you fat
Aside from the Depo Provera injection, there is no evidence to support claims that birth control causes weight gain.
IUDs are for moms only
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small T-shaped device that a doctor places inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. Not only is the IUD more than 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, but it lasts for up to ten years. So why aren’t women lining up around the block to get IUDs? There’s a common misconception that this birth control method is intended only for women who have given birth. But just because you haven’t had a baby, doesn’t mean this option isn’t available to you. So if you’re tired of taking the pill or using barrier methods, an IUD is a nice alternative.
Plan B causes abortions
Without getting into the ugly specifics, I can assure you Plan B (the morning after pill) simply prevents pregnancy from taking place. If you’re already pregnant, Plan B will NOT terminate the pregnancy. Take it within 72 hours of unprotected sex to increase your chances of skirting fertilization.
Pulling out counts as contraception
Just because your partner manages to catch the glass before wine spills on the carpet doesn’t mean a few drops won’t stain the floor. If you didn’t catch my tactful metaphor, no worries, just remember that pulling out is only about 70 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. I don’t like those odds, but it’s your rug, I suppose.
Just one time won’t hurt
Speaking of odds, please don’t kid yourself into thinking one instance of unprotected sex will go unnoticed by the pregnancy gods. There’s an up to 25 percent chance you’ll conceive depending on where you are in your ovulatory cycle. That means there’s a one in four possibility that one sexual encounter will get you knocked up. So don’t chance it. Use some damn birth control.
For more on sexual health, check out Planned Parenthood.