As the options and availability of birth control has increased, surprisingly several age-old myths and misconceptions continue to be pervasive — in particular among younger women who might not be getting all their facts straight. We’d like to dispel a few of the most common here today, specifically a few “old wives’ tales” that never seem to fully go away.
First, there’s the old “have sex standing up” canard; a variation on the theme is that it’s somehow more difficult to become pregnant if the woman is on top. In truth there is nothing relevant about particular positions in terms of whether or not a pregnancy occurs; sperm will make their way through the cervical canal no matter what angle or positioning is used.
Another story is that a woman can avoid unwanted pregnancies by douching, urinating, or taking a quick shower right after sex. Again, by the time ejaculation has taken place, the sperm are well on their way and well past the reach of any water or urine.
There’s another whispered story that woman cannot get pregnant unless they themselves have an orgasm; again, this simply illustrates a misunderstanding of the process. Pregnancy takes place when a man’s sperm fertilizes the woman’s egg, and the egg is released well in advance of any sexual act. There is no need for the woman to have an orgasm for her to become pregnant.
Finally, many women who have just given birth are under the misapprehension that they cannot become pregnant while they are breastfeeding their newborn child. Pregnancy during nursing is somewhat less common, for several reasons; most relevantly, many women’s bodies postpone ovulation until they finish breastfeeding, which may have led to this tale being widely spread. But it’s by no means the case for all women; if you’re going to be sexually active while nursing and don’t want to become pregnant, you need to use birth control.