5 Common Myths About Birth Control & Fertility

Young woman on edge of bed holding birth control pills thinking about fertility

5 Common Myths About Birth Control & Fertility

It is no myth that hormonal birth control pills are one of the most comprehensively researched medications in history. While the pill has been extensively studied and on the market for more than 50 years, there is still quite a bit of confusion about how it works and exactly what it does.

Fertility Specialists Medical Group (FSMG) has put together five myths about birth control and fertility that should be exposed once and for all.

Myth #1: Taking birth control pills can damage a woman’s fertility.

The pill is a safe. The pill is 100 percent a reversible method of contraception. There is no scientific evidence that the pill causes female infertility. In fact, once a woman stops taking the pill, she can ovulate immediately and become pregnant shortly after ending birth control. The pill does not cause a woman to become infertile by permanently suppressing ovulation. The misunderstanding surrounding this myth is targeted on women who most likely experience a delay in fertility and ovulation who have had irregular periods before they started taking the pill.

Myth #2: It’s not safe to take birth control pills continuously to prevent monthly bleeding.

Taking the pill prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg — and stops the uterus from developing a thick lining for an implanted egg. When a woman takes birth control pills, she has a withdrawal bleed at the end of each monthly birth control pack because of the drop in progesterone when stopping the pill; this is not a “hormonal” bleed like a real period, but simply due to stopping the pill. Bleeding once per month while taking birth control pills is not needed.

Many women start taking hormonal birth control for the express purposes of preventing menstruation. Menstrual periods can be painful, disruptive, and they can also lead to iron-deficiency anemia. For women who have complications resulting from menstruation, the pill and other forms of hormonal birth control is perfectly safe and — to many women — a blessing.

Myth #3: The longer you take birth control pills, the harder it is to get pregnant.

This is a myth. As stated above, it is also a myth that the pill reduces fertility.  Once hormonal birth control is halted, fertility swiftly returns to what it would have been without the medication. In fact, contraceptive use — irrespective of its duration and type — does not have a negative effect on the ability of women to conceive following termination of use, and it doesn’t delay fertility.

Myth #4: Birth control pills prevents sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Barrier methods, such as condoms, reduce the possibility of transmitting numerous sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, these methods do NOT prevent all STIs. Any birth control method that does not create a barrier between people’s bodies cannot prevent STIs. Hormonal birth control like birth control pills still allows STIs to spread from one partner to the other during sexual intercourse.

Myth #5: You need to take breaks from birth control pills.

You don’t need to take a break from hormonal birth control. It is a myth that women need a break from hormonal birth control. Birth control pills are all safe for long-term use and may be used for as long as a woman wants to prevent pregnancy.

If you have concerns about how birth control pills might affect your health and your ability to conceive in the future, always talk to your OB-GYN or fertility specialist.

You’re unique.
Your fertility plan should be too.