Busted! Contraception and Pregnancy Myths

Tackling some of those pesky contraception, fertility and pregnancy myths. Including the one about Dr Pepper …

Everything about conception, pregnancy and contraception below is TRUE, ok?

If you’ve heard any other myths or if you aren’t sure about something, then ask above…

A woman who carries condoms … is not a slag

contraception myths a woman who carries a condom


A woman who carries condoms is sensible, smart, confident and independent. It does not mean that she will have sex all the time or will do it with just anyone. The fact the men aren’t called slags means this is an example of #Sexism.

Pregnant the first time? Yes you can

You can get pregnant (or get someone pregnant) on the 1st or 81st time you have sex. The only reliable way of having penis in vagina sex without having a pregnancy is to use a method of contraception.

But another myth is when people tell you ‘if you get pregnant you will definitely get pregnant’. It’s actually harder than people think. You should read this about how fertility works.

The pill does not make you fat

contraception myths condoms the pill does not make you fat


There is no evidence that hormonal contraception causes weight gain: it’s a rumour: S.Gupta, “Weight Gain on the Combined Pill – Is It Real?” Hum Reprod Update 6, no.5 (2001): 427 – 431 Some women report that they have an increased appetite when they are using the pill or another hormonal method, but that doesn’t mean that the pill makes you fat.

The side effects of contraception are different for everyone

Just because your Aunty got moody on the implant doesn’t mean this will happen to you ok? Some people get side effects from contraception, some don’t and it all depends on the individual and the individual contraception being used. Remember also that not all side effects are ‘bad’: some are beneficial, regular, lighter or no periods for instance. Also some can help with spots.

Sex standing up can still get you pregnant

If you were really desperately trying to get pregnant then having sex standing up is probably not the best way to do it, however gravity is not a recognised method of contraception. If a penis is in a vagina then there is a risk of pregnancy.

Gravity is not a recognised method of contraception

Pulling out … isn’t a good idea

contraception myths pulling out


This might be an effective method if it was done perfectly, but it is very very difficult. Trying not to ejaculate inside someone is a) tricky and b) you can ejaculate without realising. If you are wearing condoms and are anxious about the condom breaking then taking out the penis before cumming is ok and massively reduces the risk of pregnancy.

Read more about pulling out.

Non fertile times do exist

This is explained better here but just to say, pregnancy can only start at certain times of the ‘month’ but it is very difficult to work out when this time is going to be. Which is why we invented contraception. Yeah?

Sex in a swimming pool can get you pregnant

contraception myths sex in a swimming pool


For some reason people think that the sperm will swim away from the fallopian tubes in water: it won’t. Also people have sex in swimming pools? Seriously?

Hormones in contraception …are natural

Hormonal contraception contains additional female hormones which naturally occur in the body (oestrogen and progestogen). They have the effect of fooling the brain into thinking that the woman is pregnant, this means that the eggs don’t get released and/or the womb lining isn’t created and a plug of mucous is created at the base of the cervix. It’s natural.

Crossing fingers …good luck with that!

contraception myths crossing fingers


Just hoping that you or someone else is not pregnant is not an effective method of contraception, mmkay? I know that some people have to try really hard to have kids, but that doesn’t mean that’s true for everyone. You can get pregnant even if you weren’t trying to or if you really don’t want to.

Emergency contraception is safe

Emergency contraception pills (more about this here) are totally safe and can be taken a number of times in a year. A few years ago it was recommended that they weren’t taken that often, this is not the case now ok? Emergency contraception pills are great, just not as reliable as on-going contraception.

Condoms don’t have holes in

contraception myths condoms don't have holes in


Apart from the big hole at one end to get the penis in, condoms do not have holes in. OK?! Also governments do not deliberately put holes in condoms or put HIV in condoms. This is complete b******s (and I don’t use that word lightly).

Washing the vagina doesn’t work

Washing the vagina after sex does not prevent pregnancy. In fact some believe it may actually increase the likelihood of pregnancy (aiding sperm to swim past the cervix).

The Dr Pepper one …

Dr Pepper does not lower your sperm count! I have no idea where this comes from, but when I was young everyone said this about Lilt too. Yes we had fizzy drinks in cans when I was young – we called it pop though.

If you have any others you would like me to add, or investigate then let me know!

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© Justin Hancock, 2022

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Justin Hancock has been a trained sex and relationships educator since 1999. In that time he’s taught and given advice about sex and relationships with thousands of young people in person and millions online. He’s a member of the World Association for Sexual Health.