If you're sexually active, you'll want to know the truth about these common contraceptive myths.
If You Use the Withdrawal Method, You Won't Get Pregnant
It's not that simple. Semen is released from the penis even pre-ejaculation. Even this tiny amount of semen can deliver a powerful punch. It only takes one sperm to fertilize an egg. Don't trust the withdrawal method. Besides, a man may tell you he's going to pull out before he ejaculates, but you can't know for sure if he will have the self-control to do so once you get going.
Homemade Condoms are Effective Options
If you forgot the condom, don't talk yourself into thinking a piece of saran wrap, balloon or baggie is going to do the trick because it won't work. Drive to the drug store, go to your school nurse or visit Planned Parenthood and pick up a set of condoms. For maximum pregnancy prevention, use condoms lubricated with a spermicidal lubricant and be sure to use them according to the instructions.
You are Only Fertile Mid-Cycle
Sure, they told you in health class that you could only get pregnant mid-cycle because you ovulate on the fourteenth day of your cycle, right? Don't trust this! Every woman's cycle is different, and you may be one of those women who ovulates early or late in your cycle. Don't take the chance of getting pregnant by trusting the calendar method unless you can handle an accidental pregnancy.
You Won't Get Pregnant if You Just Started the Pill
You started taking birth control pills (oral contraceptives) on Sunday, but you want to have sex on Thursday. Don't engage in sexual activity without backup protection! While some birth control pills will be effective that first month, many will not be effective, and you just don't know how your body is going to respond to the pill. Use back up protection for that first month just to be sure.
All Birth Control Pills Have Negative Side Effects
Thanks to modern medicine, you may be able to find birth control pills with side effects you would enjoy. Some pills cause you to bleed less during menstruation or stop having periods altogether (for a couple of months at a time). Others can help clear up acne or decrease PMS symptoms. Ask your doctor about side effects when choosing a brand of oral contraceptives.
There's Nothing You Can Do if You Had Unprotected Sex
Don't forget about emergency contraception. Get to your doctor within five days of unprotected sex and you may be able to get a prescription for the morning after pill, which is actually good for 120 hours after the incident.
If You're on Birth Control, You Can't Get an STD
Just because you're smart enough to be on the pill doesn't mean you won't get an STD. Use a condom if you're at all concerned about the transmission of an STD.
Condoms Can Be Used for More Than One Encounter
Always use a new condom for each experience. Don't trust rinsing the condom to get rid of all of the sperm from the first encounter. Sperm are tiny, and if you miss even one, you could get pregnant.
IUDs (Intrauterine Devices) are Unsafe
While IUDs got a bad rap in the 1970s and 1980s, modern IUDs are safe and effective.
The types of contraception available for women today are many and varied. Some methods help protect against STDs while others are designed for women in monogamous relationships who value convenience. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the methods available so you can choose the best one for you.
Because so many contraceptives work by injecting hormones into your body (usually estrogen and/or progestin), these contraceptives have side effects that mimic pregnancy or PMS.
The contraceptive sponge is a simple form of birth control that works much like a diaphragm without a prescription.
If you want a form of birth control you won't have to think about, that does not put unwanted hormones into your body and is highly effective, you may want to consider using the IUD or Intrauterine contraceptive device.