Myth: If your partner withdraws before he ejaculates you won’t get pregnant.

This so-called ‘withdrawal method’ is not an effective method of contraception. This is because it’s still possible for sperm to be present at the tip of the penis before ejaculation, which can result in a pregnancy.

Myth: You can’t get pregnant if you have sex during your period.

Despite many women believing this is a ‘safe’ time to have sex without the risk of getting pregnant, it may not be. Ovulation (when an egg is released) can take place earlier than expected.

Also, as sperm may live in a woman’s body for some days it may be possible to conceive several days after unprotected sex if you ovulate early.

Myth: Emergency contraception is only effective the morning after unprotected sex.

If the egg meets sperm then it’s possible to get pregnant, whether or not it’s the first time you’ve had sex.

Myth: Abortions are unsafe and often fatal, even with specialist providers.

The emergency contraception pill (ECP) is sometimes called the ‘morning-after-pill’. Although the ECP should be taken as soon as possible, it does not have to be taken in the morning. There are two types of ECP that work for up to four or five days after sex and they are both more effective when taken as soon as possible. The ECP is not an abortion pill. If you are already pregnant, ECP will not work.

ECPs are available from the chemist with no prescription.

A copper IUD is the most effective form of emergency contraceptive if inserted up to five days after unprotected sex, and can provide effective contraception for five years or more.

Myth: Long-term use of contraception can make it harder to get pregnant later.

Once women stop using contraception their periods and fertility will usually soon return to what is normal for them.

Exceptions include:

the contraceptive injection (Depo-Provera® or Depo-Ralovera® shot) – it can take up to 12-18 months for the hormones to leave your body and for your fertility to be fully restored
sterilisation – which is intended to be permantent.

Myth: You can’t get pregnant if you’re breastfeeding.

Many unplanned pregnancies happen in the first few months after childbirth.

Breastfeeding exclusively (without supplementing with formula or food) can stop you from ovulating, but even though there’s a dip in your fertility at this time, breastfeeding is not a reliable method of contraception – it’s much safer to arrange other forms of contraception after giving birth.

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