Dr Chioma busts 9 contraception myths
Have you ever heard that contraceptives can cause infertility. And have you also wondered if antibiotics can work as contraceptives. If yes, this is the blog you should be reading. I will be answering such frequently asked questions and busting many contraception myths. Let’s get started!
Myth 1: Contraceptives lead to infertility
Fact: No, contraceptives do not cause infertility.
Some women complain that after they used contraceptives, they haven’t been able to conceive. There could be a few things that might be the reason behind your inability to get pregnant after stopping contraceptive use. First, were you aware of your fertility status before you started using a contraceptive method? There could be underlying factors that existed even before you used a contraceptive method. Second, you might be having unprotected sex on your safe days – days in your menstrual cycle when there’s no egg available to be fertilized by the sperm.
If you haven’t been able to get pregnant after a year of regular, adequate, unprotected and ejaculatory sexual intercourse, please visit your gynaecologist or a fertility specialist.
Myth 2: Using contraceptives mean you are promiscuous
Fact: No, using contraceptives doesn’t mean you are promiscuous. In fact, it means you are responsible enough to not change your life plans for momentary sexual pleasure.
Family planning and life planning is important and contraceptives can help you achieve your dreams at a set time. No one has the right to judge anyone for these choices; and when you are speaking to a sexual and reproductive healthcare professional, you don’t have to worry about this because you won’t be judged and your information will remain confidential.
Myth 3: Herbal concoctions and antibiotics can work as contraceptives
Fact: No, they don’t work as contraceptives.
I have heard of salt water, Ampiclox, lime, balm, and all of this mixed in different forms and percentages of alcohol to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. They don’t work. You either have been lucky because you are not aware of your own cycle and had sex on your safe days; or you might have an underlying fertility issue which you haven’t been diagnosed with yet.
These concoctions are not just ineffective, they are also dangerous to your health. You need to stop now. Only approved forms of contraceptives are to be used; there are plenty of options to choose from.
Myth 4: Contraceptives are for abortion
Fact: No, contraceptives are not abortifacients; they are not for abortion.
Contraceptives only prevent pregnancy. If someone is already pregnant, this means the contraceptive will not work for them. It is very important for you to use contraceptives when you are not pregnant; if you are not sure, take a pregnancy test and if the test is negative, you can go ahead and use the method you want to use.
After unprotected sex, the only verified form of contraceptive you can use that can prevent pregnancy are the emergency contraceptives. They are used in the first 72 hours of unprotected sex.
Myth 5: Contraceptives cause bleeding
Fact: No, contraceptives don’t cause bleeding per se.
Some hormonal contraceptives can cause irregular bleeding and this doesn’t happen because something is wrong, but because this is a result of hormonal changes. Irregular bleeding means you might not see your period at the usual time; it might have a different pattern, a different flow.
If you are having heavy bleeding after using any form of contraceptive, reach out to your healthcare provider, especially the person who helped you start the contraceptive method. They will review your situation and will know what the problem is. If the heavy bleeding is the result of your contraceptive method, you might have to stop using it and switch to a method that will suit you better.
Myth 6: Contraceptives are just for married people
Fact: No. If you are single and if you are having sex, it means you can also get pregnant. Pregnancy is not linked to marriage or a ring on your finger.
That being said, please access a suitable form of contraceptive for yourself. There are about 18 methods of contraception and there will be one suitable for you. Being single is no excuse for not using contraceptives. And remember, condoms are also a form of contraceptive.
Myth 7: Contraceptives are just for women
Fact: No, contraceptives are for both women and men.
Men have active and passive roles to play during sex. Active role is using a condom and using it properly. You should know the condom rules: don’t store it in extremely cold or extremely hot places like your wallet in your back pocket, don’t tear the wrapper with your teeth, don’t reuse it or wash it after use, it is not recyclable – dispose of it, thanks bro!
Second method of contraception for men is vasectomy. Many men argue against it, many are not comfortable with this option. They say: how am I going to cut what the good Lord gave me! But at the end of the day, it is a safe and effective – even though permanent – method of contraceptive. In my opinion, this is a win-win situation. You have sex just like always, but you ejaculate semen that can’t lead to pregnancy. Think about it.
Myth 8: Jumping after sex can prevent pregnancy
Fact: No. Jumping up and down after sex is not going to stop the pregnancy. What is supposed to happen, is going to happen; because all it takes is for the sperm to be deposited around or inside the vagina.
You might want it to work, but it won’t. You might be lucky because you had sex on your safe days. But stop depending on luck as your only form of contraceptive.
Myth 9: Flushing the vagina with water can prevent pregnancy
Fact: Doesn’t work! Also known as douching, it is when women jet water into their vagina after sex to wash off the semen.
You must know the sperm cells are really, really fast. Once they are in, they want to come to this world. They want to experience life on this planet. Important thing to note is that semen is just a transport medium for sperm cells which lead to pregnancy; so even if you wash out the semen after sex, the sperm cell might have already travelled far away.
There are many myths about contraceptives and even more questions. Educate yourself about them and don’t rely on luck as a method of contraception. Find a method that works for you and use it.
This blog was transcribed from this video by Find My Method’s Communications Team.
About the author: Dr Chioma Nwakanma-Akanno is a public health practitioner based in Nigeria, with experience in healthcare communications and advocacy. She founded SMILE With Me, an NGO which leverages digital health technology to reduce mortality rates from preventable diseases.
Do you have something to share? Leave your comments below, contact us on our social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on contraception, visit findmymethod.org