Common contraception myths

There are many common myths surrounding contraception, which can often make the topic seem confusing and scary. Make sure you know the facts, so the myths are put to bed and you can feel safe and you can make an informed decision that is right for you.

Some of the most common myths, which are all false, include:

  • You can only take the ‘morning after pill’ up until the morning following the episode of unprotected intercourse
  • The pill can prevent sexually transmitted diseases
  • Condoms make sex unenjoyable
  • Using contraception always makes it harder to fall pregnant when you stop

Fact or fiction?

  • Fiction: The pill offers the best protection against pregnancy

    Fact: The pill (combined or progestogen-only) is 99% effective if taken correctly, as are the contraceptive injection, implant, patch, intrauterine system (IUS) and intrauterine device (IUD). Find out more about longer acting reversible contraception methods here.

  • Fiction: You won't become pregnant if you miss one pill

    Fact: You can become pregnant if you miss a pill and do not follow the instructions in the leaflet, which comes in your pill packet, about the actions you may need to take. If you miss a pill or pills and are uncertain what to do, contact your doctor, nurse or family planning clinic for advice.

  • Fiction: Long-acting contraceptives are permanent (irreversible) contraception

    Fact: Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) are all long-acting methods of contraception but are not permanent. The four methods of LARCs do not depend on you remembering to take or use them every day, week or month to be effective. If you think you’re too forgetful or busy to take the pill every day, find out more about LARCs here.

  • Fiction: You can use condoms more than once

    Fact: Never use a condom more than once, even if you wash it out. If you've used a condom, throw it away and use a new one if you have sex again. For more information on using condoms click here. If you have been having sex for 30 minutes, make sure you replace the condom you have been using with a new one, as friction can weaken the condom, making it more likely to break or fail.

  • Fiction: You should not be able to feel the position of the implant

    Fact: The implant, which is the size of a hair grip, is placed just under your skin in the inner area of your arm. It only takes a few minutes to put in and feels similar to having an injection, so you won’t need any stitches. Immediately after it’s been fitted, your arm will be checked to make sure it is in position, and you should be asked by the doctor or nurse who inserted your implant to feel it so you can detect it is in place. If you ever become aware that you can no longer feel the implant under the surface of your skin, you should contact your doctor or nurse immediately.

The information on this website is educational only and is not intended to be used for any self-diagnosis purposes nor to replace the advice of your doctor or healthcare professional. Please consult your doctor or healthcare professional for further information on your contraceptive options. This website is intended for use by residents of the Republic of Ireland only. This website is developed and maintained by MSD Ireland (Human Health). See for more information.

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Job code WOMN-1178118-0000 Date of preparation: July 2016