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Insights in reproductive health research and practice from CompassCare's medical team.

Myths and Misconceptions About Sex & Pregnancy

woman holding sign that says Facts vs. MythsWhen women come to CompassCare because they’re considering abortion, they often share how they thought they couldn’t become pregnant or why they thought they were safe. There are many widely believed myths about sex and pregnancy, which is why we wanted to look at some of the more common misconceptions here.

If you’re concerned you might be pregnant or you’re pursuing an abortion, call or text CompassCare today: (716) 800-2306 in Buffalo, NY or (585) 232-2350 in Rochester, NY.

Myth #1: I Can’t Get Pregnant When I’m On My Period

This is one of the most common myths about sex. Many women believe they cannot become pregnant during their menstrual periods, but the possibility does exist. The sperm’s ability to live inside the woman’s body for up to a week and/or irregular menstrual cycles can both contribute to pregnancy after having sex during menstruation.

Note that STDs can also be passed between partners any day of the month, even during menstruation.

Myth #2: Certain Positions Prevent Pregnancy

Some people believe that by having sex in a certain position it is impossible to get pregnant, or that you can prevent pregnancy by positioning yourself a certain way after intercourse. Both of these ideas are false. Sperm can travel into the uterus and fertilize an egg regardless of the position you use. Again, a man’s sperm can stay alive inside the body for up to seven days after sex, making position irrelevant.

Myth #3: You Can’t Get Pregnant the First Time You Have Sex

Many young women believe that if you are a virgin having sex for the first time, you cannot get pregnant. A similar myth is that you can’t get pregnant if you only have sex once and that you have to have sex multiple times to conceive.  In both of these situations, the reality is that the chance of pregnancy exists every time you have sex.

Myth #4: Condoms and Birth Control Prevent All Pregnancies

While condoms and prescription birth control can help prevent pregnancy, no birth control method is 100% effective. Pregnancies can happen even when birth control is used correctly. All forms of birth control include information about their failure rate (percentage of times they weren’t effective).

You should also note that prescription birth control methods don’t provide any protection against STDs. According to the CDC, the only way to keep yourself completely safe from STDs is to not have sex, or only have sex in a mutually-monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.1 

Myth #5: The Morning After Pill is for Everyone

The morning after pill is marketed as a safe way to prevent pregnancy if you have had unprotected sex or if your birth control fails. However, the effectiveness of this medication varies depending on factors such as weight, the time it is taken after intercourse, and other medications you may be taking, such as barbiturates or St. John’s Wort. All of these factors lower the effectiveness of these medications and make pregnancy more likely to occur.2

Myth #6: Birth Control is Safe and Simple

Birth control is often marketed as a safe way to prevent pregnancy with no downsides or serious side effects. Some common side effects of birth control include spotting or bleeding between periods, nausea, breast tenderness, and headaches. However, there are more serious side effects that, while less common, can become serious. These include high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. If you are considering taking birth control, it’s important to talk with your doctor about any other medications you are taking and be informed of any potential risks.3

Be Informed

The best decision is an informed decision. If you thought you couldn’t get pregnant and now find yourself contemplating abortion, contact CompassCare today.  Our caring staff will help you, take the time to listen to your concerns, and answer any questions you may have. All of our services are 100% confidential and at no cost to you. Call or text us today at 716-800-2306 in Buffalo or 585-232-2350 in Rochester, NY.  We inform. You decide.

References


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). How You Can Prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Retrieved 8/7/19 from https://www.cdc.gov/std/prevention/default.htm

2 Mayo Clinic. (2018). Morning-after pill. Retrieved 8/7/19 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/morning-after-pill/about/pac-20394730

3 United States Food & Drug Administration. 2018. Birth Control. Retrieved 8/11/19 from https://www.fda.gov/consumers/free-publications-women/birth-control#ShortActingHormonalMethods