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Contraception – Myths Busted

Contraception - Click on the statement to check the facts

  • "Pulling out is an effective way of avoiding getting pregnant"

    Pulling out can seem like a good option if you don’t have any other contraception methods available, but it can be high risk for a number of reasons.

    Precum alone can contain enough semen to get pregnant. It is also difficult to control ejaculation during sex. Remember that sex fluids on your hands or on toys can also create a risk of pregnancy or STI transmission.

  • "The contraceptive pill makes you put on weight"

    The contraceptive pill should not have an effect on your weight. The only method of contraception where there is some evidence around potential weight gain are the injectable methods. 

    There are many different types of pills including progestogen only and the combined pill- not every type will suit each person. Contraceptive practitioners can give you clear information and discuss your options with you to enable you to choose what feels right for you. You can always try different options to see what works for you. 

  • "It is always painful to have a coil fitted"

    Having a coil inserted can be an uncomfortable procedure for some, but practitioners are trained to perform the procedure sensitively and can discuss pain management with you if you have concerns. The procedure is quick. Once inserted coils can last for 5 to 10 years depending on the type so that can make it an attractive choice of contraception method. 

    Have a look at the Unity website  Contraception page to find out about the different kinds of coils – intrauterine device (IUD) and intrauterine system (IUS). Have a discussion with a contraception practitioner to find out how it might suit you.  

  • "Monitoring your menstrual cycle to avoid getting pregnant is effective (for example monitoring via apps)""

    While some might feel this approach works for them, this very much depends on your periods being regular. For this method to be more reliable, it requires daily records of fluctuations in your body, such as your temperature and any discharge. Lots of things can impact on your menstrual cycle such as diet, stress, physical illness and a whole range of medications including those that support your mental health.

  • "You can’t get pregnant if you are having sex for the first time"

    This is not true, you don’t have to have penetrative sex a certain number of times to get pregnant. It is really important to think about protecting yourself from unplanned pregnancy and STIs when you first start having sex. 

  • "Contraception is only for straight women"

    Contraception is not just used to prevent pregnancy; it can also be used to take control of periods or period pains. Whether you are lesbian, bi, straight, a trans man, non-binary or another sexuality or gender, if you menstruate you might want to think about contraception. If you have a penis and there is a chance of your partner getting pregnant and that’s not what you want, contraception is for you and your partner too.

  • "Condoms are the only way to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as pregnancy"

    This one is true! Using condoms is an effective way to protect against STIs, including HIV and unplanned pregnancy. 

    Long-acting reversible forms of contraception will protect against unplanned pregnancy, but not against STIs.  External condoms are 98% effective when used properly. Whichever form of contraception you use, whether it is the pill, the injection or coil, it is important to protect yourself from STIs by using condoms. 

    Regular testing, being informed and being able to discuss safer sex also helps to manage STI transmission. 

  • "Only men can use condoms"

    There are condoms designed for use for a penis, vagina or anus.  Internal condoms can be worn inside the vagina or anus and act as a barrier for semen. They can be inserted into the vagina or anus up to 8 hours before you have penetrative sex and are 95% effective when used properly.  External condoms are designed for use on a penis or on sex toys. 

    Internal and external condoms are available free from sexual health clinics. Find out more about both external and internal condoms on the Unity website. Or have a chat with a contraception practitioner.  

  • "All contraception methods will affect my mood and make me depressed"

    Some people worry that hormonal contraceptive methods might have a negative impact on their mental wellbeing. Whilst hormones can affect your mood, most people find that this is temporary and settles down as their bodies adjust to the hormones. 

    There are a range of contraception methods available, and some have no impact on mood. For instance, the IUD (copper coil) does not contain any hormones.  Make sure you talk to a contraceptive practitioner about the different options and find out what works for you.  

To find out more about current services available or discuss your contraception options then click  here 


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