11 ridiculous birth control myths about how to avoid pregnancy
Our experts bust some of the weirdest and most common myths about how to avoid pregnancy. Some of these are just plain strange!
Myth#1: You may not get pregnant if you eat papaya before sex. Myth#2: You can avoid getting pregnant if you quickly wash yourself after the act. Myth#3: You can avoid getting pregnant if you stand throughout the act. You may have heard similar or even stranger birth control myths about how to avoid pregnancy. But experts suggest that they are simply myths and these birth control myths must never be taken seriously.
“Birth control methods like pills and injections are quite effective in preventing pregnancy. And even though contraceptives have been in the market for decades, people still tend to believe many myths about ways to prevent pregnancy. This leads to unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortions,” says Dr Priyanka Mehta, gyneacologist, ePsyClinic.com, Delhi.
Birth Control Myths
Here’s a look at some of the weirdest birth control myths and the actual truth behind them:
Myth #1: Masturbating before sex
Fact: “The fact is that after masturbation it takes some time to get sexually excited or experience penile erection. This means that during this time of rest, the semen starts creating new sperms. So the man can have enough sperm quantity even after masturbation,” explains Dr Nupur Gupta, consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician, Director, Well Woman Clinic, Gurgaon. In fact, Dr Mehta adds that semen reserves get replenished during the act and in order to become pregnant, a woman only needs that one good sperm.
Myth #2: Certain sexual positions
Fact: There is no particular position that can prevent a woman for getting pregnant. Whatever may be the sexual position, the semen is ejaculated near the cervix and the sperms can easily travel inside the uterus increasing the chances of pregnancy. Only oral sex is the one position in which a woman can’t get pregnant since sperms are not entering into the vagina. “A single drop of semen ejaculated inside a woman’s body in any position can lead to pregnancy,” says Dr Smriti Sawhney Joshi, Delhi-based clinical psychologist atePsyClinic.com.
Myth #3: Pulling out
Fact: Dr Gupta explains, “This is commonly known as the ‘withdrawal method.’ But this method has a high failure rate because the pre-ejaculatory fluid also has some amount of sperm in it which may cause pregnancy. Also, sometimes the withdrawal judgement fails.” She adds that there are about 78 percent chances of failure leaving behind 22 per cent chances of getting pregnant.
Myth #4: Drinking Mountain Dew
Fact: Several people believe that this soda can lower men’s fertility because it contains high caffeine levels. “There is no such scientific reason which proves that Mountain Dew reduces sperm count at all, much less squelch it to zero, which would be the only way it could prevent pregnancy. So remember, even if you have had ‘dew’ before sex, use some alternative, reliable birth control option to prevent the pregnancy,” says Dr Gupta.
Myth #5: Use of excessive alcohol and drugs like marijuana
Fact: Use of excessive alcohol drugs could be the most dangerous idea. “That’s because drugs and alcohol can have serious negative effects on your health. There is absolutely no truth to the idea that drugs would lower sperm count or motility and prevent pregnancy,” says Dr Mehta.
As for drugs like marijuana, there are two aspects of its use. “There is enough study that shows that smoking marijuana can lower a man’s testosterone level leading to lower sperm count and poor sperm mobility. But since only one sperm is sufficient for pregnancy, even if the count is low, the chances of conception are high. There’s even less evidence of exactly how marijuana might affect a woman’s ovulation—definitely not enough to suggest that it could protect against pregnancy,” says Dr Gupta. The same goes for eating marijuana stems or seeds.
Continue reading to know some other strange birth control myths.
Myth #6: Using makeshift condoms
Fact: We’re not going to beat around the bush here. This doesn’t work. “No plastic baggie or rubber band or balloon or twist-tie combination will provide you the protection of a traditional, approved condom,” says Dr Gupta. The market is loaded with various kinds of condoms with different, attractive things but no one can guarantee its effectiveness. So it’s better to play safely and take care of quality.
Myth #7: Douching immediately after sex
Fact: Several people question the use of regular douching fluid or bubbly soda water (like Coca-Cola) to get all the sperm out after sex. Questioning this method is right, using, however, is not. “The fact is that women’s vaginal muscles contract during an orgasm. It is the body’s way of bringing the semen toward her eggs, so even if she douches right after sex, some of the sperms will already be too deep to be flushed out. Also soda or other liquids are not meant for douching purpose and they will cause irritation and infection at the site. So it is better to avoid them,” says Dr Gupta.
Myth #8: Jumping up and down
Fact: This is probably the weirdest of all the birth control myths and is simply not true. “The semen remains in vagina for a particular time. So you may run, jump up and down, the semen can’t get out preventing the pregnancy,” says Dr Gupta. All we can say is that, it’s good for health to jump up and down, but not to prevent the pregnancy.
Myth #9: Can you get pregnant from dry sperm?
Fact: Half life of a sperm is 4-5 days in warm, moist conditions such as the vagina. However, dried sperms will die in a few minutes. “If you had wiped the semen from your hand or your vagina immediately after its ejaculation, you would still be at risk for an unwanted pregnancy,” says Dr Gupta.
Myth #10: You can’t get pregnant unless there is full penetration
Fact: This is the strangest of all the birth control myths is not at all true. A female can get pregnant even if the male does not put his penis all the way inside of her. Pregnancy can happen if the male pre-ejaculates or ejaculates in or near the vagina. Dr Smriti Sawhney Joshi, clinical psychologist, ePsyClinic.com, Delhi, adds, “You might hear that if your partner withdraws his penis before ejaculation, you won’t get pregnant. In reality, a single drop of semen that is present in the precum, which is a discharge before actual ejaculation, can lead to pregnancy.”
Myth #11: Breastfeeding is a natural contraceptive
Fact: There’s is no proof of this myth being true and many woman have become pregnant due to its unpredictability. “Remember that individuals differ in the rise and fall of hormonal levels post pregnancy and while breastfeeding,” says Dr Joshi. So there is no truth to this myth and must not be taken seriously. Dr Priyanka Mehta, a Delhi-based gynecologist adds, “Breastfeeding may postpone ovulation, but it’s no guarantee that you are risk-free when breastfeeding. Oral contraceptive pills or Copper-T (intra-uterine device) can be safely used after advise from your gyneacologist.”
As you take a while to digest all these myths, lets us just say that stop leaning on to weird superstitions and figments of someone’s imagination. Just consult a specialist. Better yet, use protection.
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