- There are a lot of myths surrounding contraception.
- Hormonal birth control is effective at preventing pregnancy when taken correctly
- INSIDER reached out to two experts to bust some contraception myths
Birth control has always been a hot topic. Since couples have sex for a number of reasons, knowing how to prevent pregnancy safely is important for the health of all involved. Over the past few centuries, people around the world have experimented with ways to prevent pregnancy without abstaining from sex. During the 1600s, people in England used condoms that were made out of animal guts.
As times have evolved, so too has contraception. Today, there are a wide variety of family planning strategies that allow people to have healthy sex lives whilst avoiding unwanted pregnancy. There are still barrier methods such as condoms and diaphragms, but now there are also hormonal methods like the birth control pill, patch, shot, implant, and intrauterine device (IUD).
Despite medical advances and birth control becoming more accessible, unplanned pregnancies still remain fairly common. Although research shows that the rate of unintentional pregnancies in the US has declined over the past 30 years, the numbers still remain considerably high. According to The World Health Organization, „26.5 million unintended pregnancies occur each year because of inappropriate use or method failure of their birth control.“
To find out the truth about some common contraception myths, INSIDER reached out to two experts on this subject.
MYTH: You can’t get pregnant if you have sex during your period
In general, people are their least fertile during and right after their menstrual period. This is the time of the menstrual cycle that happens prior to ovulation when a potentially fertilizable egg is released from the ovaries. As a result, some people may think this means they can have unprotected sex without having to worry about pregnancy.
However, according to Dr. Lauren Streicher, MD, clinical professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University and author of Sex Rx, this isn’t a reliable approach at all.
She told INSIDER, „What happens is somebody may have some bleeding which they interpret as their period, when in fact, it might even be ovulation. Some people bleed a little bit when they ovulate. Or somebody might have bleeding that’s breakthrough bleeding, and it’s still not their period.“
Even if a person has a fairly regular cycle, there’s still a chance that their body might ovulate early, „Now if someone is like clockwork, and they have sex during their period — their true period, the chances of conception are tiny because ovulation is gonna occur 12 to 14 days later,“ said Dr. Streicher. „But you have to keep in mind if someone has sex on day six of their period, and then they ovulate early … you never know.“
Dr. Streicher told INSIDER that sperm can live up to 72 hours and an egg can hang on for 48-72 hours. This means that the window where a person can get pregnant is much wider than people may believe.
MYTH: If a person douches or washes the vagina immediately after sex, pregnancy can be prevented
Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine, told INSIDER, „The problem with this is those sperm are pretty fast little devils. Once ejaculation occurs, sperm can be within the uterus in 20 minutes. And the vigorous ones, the healthiest guys [sperm] tend to be up there the fastest, and those are the ones that are most likely to get you pregnant. [Cleaning the vagina] will get rid of a lot of sperm hanging around, but many will already have made their way into the uterus.“
MYTH: You can’t get pregnant if you have unprotected sex in a hot tub
„It’s not likely, but it is possible,“ said Dr. Minkin. „Sperm do not like heat, it’s true … but the heat doesn’t kill everything.“
She noted that if the penis ejaculates semen into the vagina, the sperm can travel fast enough to make it safely up into the uterus, where they can impregnate a potential egg.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider