5 Common Misconceptions about Contraception

1. All contraceptives cause weight gain.
This is not entirely true. The only contraceptive method that may cause increase in weight is the injectable type (DMPA). Young women who are already overweight or obese are advised to use a different method of contraception. If you start gaining weight after using it, you can stop and try another method.

2. All contraceptives cause infertility.
The effects of most contraceptive methods are easily reversible once you stop using them. The only exceptions are the permanent methods (bilateral tubal ligation or vasectomy) and the injectable hormonal contraceptives. There is a very small failure rate of about 1% for the permanent methods. The chances of reversal is much lower for vasectomy. If you’re using the injectable type, you need to wait for about 12 months before your fertility comes back to baseline.

3. All contraceptives interfere with your menstrual cycle.
This is correct to some extent. However, this interference is temporary and in some cases, it may even become an added advantage. For example, after the insertion of the hormonal intrauterine contraceptive device (LNG-IUS), you may experience irregularities in your menses for the first three to six months. After this initial period, your cycle will go back to normal and you will see a significant reduction in the amount of flow (this is beneficial for women who suffer from heavy bleeding and anaemia).

4. Male condoms reduce sexual satisfaction.
While condoms are largely user-dependent and may affect the spontaneity of sex, they do not reduce the overall quality of the sexual experience. In fact, some condoms are specifically designed to improve pleasure by delaying ejaculation and maximising sexual arousal for both partners. Where both partners are adequately motivated and educated on the proper use, condoms are highly effective contraceptives.

5. Men have no role in the use of contraceptives.
They surely do! Family planning should not be a women-only affair. Husbands should always play an active role in the process. There is a high rate of unmet need for contraception (when you really need to use it but you don’t use it) which often leads to unwanted pregnancies, marital discord, unsafe abortion and other sequelae. These problems can be prevented if all men are actively involved in contraceptive counselling, decision making and continuous support.

Bottomline: Contraception is not something to be ashamed of. There are genuine reasons why couples really need to consider contraception, whether for medical or social reasons. They should feel free to discuss with certified sexual and reproductive health professionals instead of listening to mere hearsay.