[Valid Atom 1.0] Love & Indulgence Blog: Contraception myths: The withdrawal method, the 'morning after' pill and period sex

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Contraception myths: The withdrawal method, the 'morning after' pill and period sex

Written by Natika H Halil
A story recently hit the headlines of a woman in Colombia using a potato as a method of contraception - which went badly wrong. According to Colombia Reports, she began to feel abdominal pain as roots were growing on the potato after two weeks, and doctors had to remove the object. She reportedly said her mother had advised her to try the contraception method.

At sexual health charity FPA we’ve never come across anyone using vegetables as contraception, but whether this story actually happened or not, we do know that people of all ages are relying on myths and misinformation to prevent pregnancy instead of finding a contraceptive method to suit them.

We take a look at some commons myths, and why it's so important to understand the facts:

MYTH: If your partner withdraws before he ejaculates you won’t get pregnant

There’s been a lot in the news recently about the so-called withdrawal method. But having a partner pull out before he comes is NOT a method of contraception and leaves women at risk of pregnancy. This is because it’s still possible for a sexually excited man to release fluid from his penis even without having an orgasm. This is known as pre-ejaculation fluid or pre-cum and, as it has sperm in it, it can lead to pregnancy.

MYTH: The only contraception choices are condoms or the pill

Although these two methods are still the most well know there are actually 15 methods of contraception available in the UK, all free through the NHS. Sadly, there are still only two choices for men (the male condom and sterilisation), although research into both the male pill and male contraceptive injection is ongoing. Women have a choice of 13 methods, including four methods of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) which they don’t need to remember to take or use every day or every time they have sex.

MYTH: You can’t get pregnant if you do it standing up

We still hear this one a lot. Sperm are very strong swimmers and gravity alone is not going to stop them reaching and trying to fertilise an egg! If you don’t use contraception then it’s possible for a woman to get pregnant whatever position you were having sex in.

MYTH: You can’t get pregnant if you have sex during your period

Many women think that they’re only fertile for a few days each month, and so they believe they can’t get pregnant during their period and throughout most of their menstrual cycle. There are two factors that make this a myth. Firstly, many women have irregular menstrual cycles so it can be very hard to know for sure ovulation (when an egg is released) has taken place. Secondly, sperm can actually live in the body for up to 7 days so they can be hanging around ready and waiting to fertilise an egg.

MYTH: You can’t get pregnant if it’s the first time you have sex

This persistent myth is still out there and leading to unplanned pregnancies. If egg meets sperm then it’s possible to get pregnant, whether it’s the first, tenth or thousandth time you’ve had sex.

MYTH: Two condoms are safer than one

Although you might think that an extra layer will offer you extra protection, this isn’t true, and using two condoms actually increases the risk of them splitting or breaking. A male condom used correctly is 98% effective at preventing pregnancy and a female condoms used correctly is 95% effective.

MYTH: You can’t get pregnant if you go to the loo or douche straight after sex

Going to the loo or douching (washing the inner and outer female genitals) won’t help to prevent a pregnancy. Again, this is down to sperm being fantastic swimmers. By the time a woman has got to the loo, or started to have a wash, the sperm are already well on their way and this isn’t going to stop them.

MYTH: It’s OK to re-use a condom if you haven’t got a new one

This isn’t safe – condoms (both male and female) are designed to be used once only, so don’t attempt to wash them out and use them again.

No comments :

Post a Comment