Contraception

Contraception, also known as birth control, family planning or fertility control, is a method or device used to prevent pregnancy.

Contraception - myths and facts

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:

Long-acting reversible contraception – myths and facts

  • Myth: Intrauterine devices (IUDs) cause infection in the reproductive organs (known as pelvic inflammatory disease or PID)
    Fact: There is a very small risk of PID in the first three weeks after an IUD is inserted. After that, IUD users have the same risk of developing PID as anyone else. Sexually transmissible infections (STIs) are the main cause of PID. Those at risk of STIs will be screened for them before an IUD is inserted.  
  • Myth: IUDs cause ectopic pregnancy

    Fact: An IUD reduces the overall chance of pregnancy therefore lowers the overall risk of 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 infertility. 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 contraception 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.

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Fertility

Contraception

Sexually transmissible infections

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Family Planning Victoria

Last updated: February 2018

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