There’s so much misinformation about birth control. It can be hard to know what’s true and what’s false. When choosing a birth control method, be aware of common myths, and the truth behind them.

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Myth #1: Birth control always or usually makes you gain weight.

There are many personal factors that influence weight gain, and, for some, the hormones in birth control add to these factors. For most women, birth control causes no weight gain.

Myth #2: Birth control makes everyone a hormonal mess.

Everyone’s body chemistry is different, and what makes your friend miserable might work miracles for you.

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Myth #3: Hormonal birth control causes cancer.

The pill causes a very small increase in breast cancer in women under 35 years old but decreases your chances of developing ovarian and endometrial cancers by more than 50%. There are other (minimal) health risks, but cancer isn’t one of them.

Myth #4: It protects against STIs.

Condoms are the only form of birth control that offer protection against STIs. Even with condoms, there are still some STIs that you can get from skin-to-skin contact.

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Myth #5: It’s 100% effective.

Aside from abstinence, all birth control methods have a slim chance that you could still get pregnant. Most of these pregnancies are caused by the imperfect use of a birth control method. Make sure you know the proper way to use your method(s).

Myth #6: You don’t need it when you’re on your period.

Pregnancy happens around the time you are ovulating when an egg is present. Although it’s unlikely, you could still ovulate during your period. Moreover, sperm can live in a person’s body for up to 6 days, so you can get pregnant from period-sex sperm well after your period.

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Myth#7: You don’t need it if you use the pull out method.

The pull-out method is surprisingly effective, but it’s not a substitute for birth control. You can still get pregnant from the sperm in pre-ejaculate, even if your partner doesn’t finish inside you.

Myth#8: It starts working as soon as you start taking it.

Typically, hormonal birth control becomes effective after one month of continuous use. Use a back-up birth control method like condoms throughout the first month of the pill.

Myth #9: It’s bad to use birth control to skip your period.

It may seem like a weird body-trick to skip your period, but it is possible and totally safe. You can jump right into your next pill pack or ring to skip your period. You may still get some spotting, but it won’t hurt your health.

Myth #10: It’s a one size fits all solution.

Each birth control method has its pros and cons. Speak with your doctor about what options are available to you. Don’t be afraid to try several methods until you find the one that is perfect for you.

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