Birth control pills: Debunking myths
Shutterstock/AJP/Person in the photo is a model

Birth control pills: Debunking myths

Are birth control pills not safe for younger women? Can they hinder the chances of getting pregnant in future? What is a myth and what is a fact when it comes to taking birth control pills? This article is all about debunking some myths.

Myth 1: Taking ‘rest’ from birth control pills is recommended 

Fact: There is no evidence to prove that taking a break from birth control pills is helpful. On the contrary, it can put you at risk of unwanted pregnancies. These pills can be used for years at a stretch. In fact, it’s perfectly safe to have them from menarche (onset of periods) to menopause

Myth 2: The pill is not safe for adolescents 

Fact: There are two types of birth control pills. The first variety is called combined oral contraceptives (COC), as it contains two hormones - estrogen and progesterone (for example, Mala D, Mala N, Ovral, and Loette). Birth control pills can be an appropriate method for adolescents. Adolescents may need extra support and encouragement to use COCs consistently and effectively.

Myth 3: If you’ve been on the pill a long time, you will be protected from pregnancy even after discontinuing it use 

Fact: You’re protected only as long as you take your pills regularly and in the prescribed manner. 

Myth 4: Being on the pill can interfere with your ability to conceive when you try to get pregnant 

Fact: Once a woman stops using the pill, she can get pregnant as quickly as women who stop non-hormonal methods of contraception. The pill does not delay the return of a woman’s fertility. For some women, however, the usual bleeding pattern during menstruation may take a few months to normalise after stopping the pill. 

Myth 5: The pill can cause abortion 

Fact: As per research, birth control pills do not disrupt an existing pregnancy. They should not be used to try to cause an abortion

Myth 6: Birth control pills cause birth defects and can harm the foetus if a woman accidentally takes the pill while pregnant

Fact: There is good evidence to suggest that COCs do not cause birth defects or harm the foetus in any way even if a woman becomes pregnant while being on the pill or accidentally takes it when she is already pregnant. 

Myth 7: The pill can cause women to gain or lose weight

Fact: Most women do not experience any change in weight because of the pill. Weight changes may happen due to life circumstances or age. Since these weight changes are common, many women presume that they’re caused by the pill. Studies, however, indicate that, on average, COCs do not affect weight.

Myth 8: The pill affects sex drive 

Fact: Well, this belief can be true in part. Many women do report improvement in their sexual drive after going on the pill. This may simply be because the woman is now free from the fear of getting pregnant. 

In essence, unless there is an underlying medical condition at play, the pill isn’t the ominous choice of contraception it’s often made out to be. We hope this lowdown on everything you need to know about birth control pills will empower you to make informed decisions about your sex life and sexual health.

This myth buster was prepared after consultation with Maj. (Dr) Sameena Parikh (retd), MS, PGDMLS. 

The person in the picture is a model. 

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