Myth: If your partner withdraws before ejaculation, you won't get pregnant
Fact: This so-called 'withdrawal method' is not an effective method of contraception. This is because it's still possible for sperm to be present at the tip of the penis before ejaculation, which can result in a pregnancy.
Myth: You can't get pregnant if you have sex during your period.
Also, as sperm may live in a woman's body for some days it may be possible to conceive several days after unprotected sex if you ovulate early.
Myth: You can't get pregnant the first time you have sex
Fact: If the egg meets sperm then it's possible to get pregnant, whether or not it's the first time you've had sex.
Myth: Emergency contraception is only effective the morning after unprotected sex
Fact: The is sometimes called the 'morning-after-pill'. Although the ECP should be taken as soon as possible, it does not have to be taken in the morning. There are two types of ECP that work for up to 4 or 5 days after sex and they are both more effective when taken as soon as possible. The ECP is not an abortion pill. If you are already pregnant, ECP will not work.
ECPs are available from the chemist with no prescription.
Myth: Long-term use of contraception can make it harder to get pregnant later
Fact: Once women stop using contraception, their periods and fertility will usually soon return to normal.
- (Depo-Provera® or Depo-Ralovera® shot) – it can take up to 12-18 months for the hormones to leave your body and for your fertility to be fully restored
- (or tubal ligation) – which is intended to be permanent.
Myth: You can't get pregnant if you're breastfeeding
exclusively (without supplementing with formula or food) can stop you from ovulating, but even though there's a dip in your fertility at this time, breastfeeding is not a reliable method of contraception.
Long-acting reversible contraception
Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) methods of contraception provide effective contraception for an extended period of time without requiring user action. They are known as ‘reversible’ because they can be stopped or removed so that fertility returns and include:
- – placed in the uterus (womb) – last for 5 to 10 years
- – placed in the upper arm under the skin – last for 3 years
- – given in the upper arm or buttock muscle – last for 12 weeks.
Myth: Intrauterine devices (IUDs) cause infection in the reproductive organs (known as pelvic inflammatory disease or PID)
Myth: IUDs cause ectopic pregnancy
In the unusual case of a woman becoming pregnant while using LARC, it is recommended to check for an ectopic pregnancy.
Myth: IUDs cause infertility
Fact: In a rare circumstance a complication from a perforation, infection or ectopic pregnancy could affect fertility. However, contemporary IUDs have not been shown to increase . The effects of the IUD wear off very quickly after it is removed.
Myth: LARC causes menstrual problems
Fact: Different types of LARC can cause different menstrual changes. Some women have lighter and reduced cycles when using LARC and welcome this change. Some women who continue to have a period may prefer this, even though it may be heavier in some women.
Your preference for one or the other may dictate which type of LARC you choose.
Accurate information about the available options will help you to make a choice that best suits your circumstances and your current needs.
Myth: Teenagers prefer condoms and the pill
Fact: Studies show that when teens receive accurate information about LARC options they are more likely to use and be satisfied with it. Many teenagers do not know about LARC, or have only heard the myths about it.
Myth: Parental consent is required
Fact: Most young people who require are able to obtain it without parental consent. Your GP will explain about the method you choose and check that you have a suitable understanding of it, and that it is appropriate for you.
Myth: Teenagers and women who have not had a child shouldn't use an IUD
Fact: IUDs and contraceptive implants have the highest effectiveness, continuation rates and user satisfaction of all forms of LARC – including for teenagers and women who have not had a child.
The IUD is now recommended as a good first choice for women who have not been pregnant or given birth to a baby, and can usually be inserted without difficulty.
Myth: An IUD should not be inserted immediately after giving birth
Fact: Although there is a slightly higher risk of the IUD coming out if it is inserted just after giving birth, the overall risk is low.