Gynos Share the Most Common Birth Control Misconceptions
Birth control is a great thing. Not only does it help prevent unwanted pregnancies, but depending on what kind you use, it can cut your odds of ovarian and endometrial cancers, clear up acne, and ease super-painful period cramps (to name just a few of the benefits). So in anticipation of Thanks, Birth Control Day on November 10, we partnered with Bedsider.org for a series all about contraception. You can join in on the birth control celebration by using the hashtag #ThxBirthControl.
There are a lot of misconceptions about birth control floating around out there—and gynos have just about heard it all from their patients. Here, five experts in the field and Bedsider.org advisers share some of the most prevalent—and weirdest—misinformation they've come across
Colleen Krajewski, M.D., ob-gyn in Pittsburgh
“The most common misconceptions I hear surround IUDs—such as that women who haven’t had children can’t use them, women who aren’t in a long-term relationship can’t use them, and women with tilted uteruses can’t use them. And speaking of tilted uteruses, I have far too many patients believing that something is wrong or bad about their uterus because it’s tilted. But all uteruses point somewhere—some forward, some backward, and some to the left or right. None of these things are bad. I like to compare it to having curly or straight hair—one isn’t better than other, but your hairstylist has to use different products on each. Inserting an IUD into a uterus is very similar.
"Another dangerous misconception I hear is that you can’t get pregnant the first month after stopping the Pill. In fact, in some cases you can be more fertile soon after stopping. If you stop taking your Pill, you should consider yourself at risk of pregnancy right away.”
Eve Espey, M.D., head of the ob-gyn department at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine
“One of the most common ones I’ve heard from patients is that they can feel their IUD moving.”
Christine Dehlendorf, M.D., associate professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine
“I’ve heard patients say that they think birth control causes weight gain and that it can cause infertility. And while misinformation about birth control methods is quite common, I try to figure out where patients have gotten their information and how they are thinking of using it. By asking questions about things patients tell me, I can figure out, for example, that they don’t understand their own anatomy and how the vagina is connected to the uterus. This then helps me to make sure I am giving them the best information possible.”
Leah Torres, M.D., ob-gyn in private practice in Salt Lake City
“There are so many misconceptions out there due to lack of education in schools and at home. I think it’s very strange that old myths are still floating around, including that the Pill can cause infertility, that the IUD can cause infertility or move into the abdomen, and that teens can’t have the IUD. I’ve also heard patients say that birth control can’t be used for a ‘long time’ because of concerns about infertility or cancer.”
Linda Dominguez, nurse practitioner in gynecology practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico
“The strangest birth control misconception I’ve heard from a patient is that if you start taking it as a teen, you won’t have any eggs to hatch when you’re in your thirties. And the most common one I’ve heard is that contraception—especially hormonal ones, like the Pill—make you get fat.