Throughout history, there have been many myths about preventing pregnancy. Here are 10 of the most common.
Myth #1. Showering, bathing or douching right after sex prevents pregnancy.
Suite101.com debunked that myth. It only takes a second for sperm to travel to the cervix. Therefore, by the time you take a shower, a bath or douche, the sperm has already done its work.
Myth #2. You won’t get pregnant if you urinate immediately after sex.
Wrong again. Peeing after sex doesn’t stop sperm that has already entered the uterus.
Myth #3. You can't get pregnant the first time you have sex or if you have it infrequently.
TeensAdvisor.com said the chances of getting pregnant the first time you have sex are the same as the 100th time you do it.
Myth #4. A woman can’t get pregnant if she doesn’t have an orgasm.
The American Pregnancy Association said pregnancy can occur even if a woman doesn’t have an orgasm. Orgasm isn’t related to an egg being available for fertilization.
Myth #5. You can’t get pregnant if your partner pulls out before ejaculation.
Suite 101 gave three reasons why this isn’t true. First, men release a small amount of pre-ejaculation which contains sperm. Second, sometimes it’s difficult to know when ejaculation occurs. And third, your partner may not have the willpower to pull out before ejaculation or may pull out and still ejaculate close to the vagina, where sperm can still swim.
Myth #6. If you are having your period, you can’t get pregnant.
This one is tough since there are conflicting theories. But Suite101 wrote that in the past, the fertile period of a women’s cycle was considered to between the 10th and 17th day. A 2000 study completed by the National Institute of Environmental Sciences debunked this theory. According to their research, at least 2 percent of women enter their fertile period only 4 days into their menstrual cycle and 17 percent by the seventh day. Since sperm can live for up to five days, this would indicate women could become pregnant even on their period.
Myth # 7. You are too old to get pregnant.
Women can get pregnant from the time they get their first period until one year after their periods have completely stopped.
Myth #8. If you’re breastfeeding, you can’t get pregnant.
While breastfeeding tends to postpone ovulation, the Cleveland Clinic said this isn’t a guarantee. Ovulation can occur even during breastfeeding.
Myth #9. You don’t need contraception if you only have sex during the "safe" time.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, while a woman’s cycle is more or less regular at most times, this balance of hormones can be disrupted by various factors, including age, stress and medicine. Therefore, pinpointing the time of ovulation and predicting any "safe" days can be difficult.
Myth #10. You can’t get pregnant if you have sex standing up or if the woman is on top.
Sexual positions have nothing to do with whether or not insemination occurs.
The only 100 percent effective way to prevent pregnancy is abstinence. Other than that, do your research and use birth control that is right for you and has been proven safe and effective.
Reviewed July 7, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Alison Stanton