Hearing Khensani say to Tsholo “I’m only 15, I can’t be pregnant” makes us think of all the old wives’ tales we hear about fertility and pregnancy. Below we debunk these and other common pregnancy myths.
#1: Can someone be too young to get pregnant?
No. Once a woman is ovulating, she can become pregnant. This can happen even before your first period (since ovulation begins 14 days before your period). So yes, even a 15 year old can get pregnant too.
#2: You can’t fall pregnant if you’re on your period
While there’s a lesser chance of conceiving when you’re on your period, it’s not impossible. Conception happens when you ovulate (around two weeks before you get your period), but if you experience short cycles or irregular periods, there’s a chance you could fall pregnant even on your period.
#3: Being on the pill too long will delay pregnancy
This is an enduring myth, but scientists have found no evidence to prove that being on the pill – whether for one year or 10 – has an effect on fertility. In fact, studies show that within one year of stopping the pill, 80% of women who want to fall pregnant do.
#4: If it’s your first time having sex, you can’t fall pregnant
Absolutely not true. Any time sperm enters your vagina unprotected, you can fall pregnant. That means that even if it’s your first time, there’s a chance you could conceive if you’re not on birth control or using condoms.
#5: You won’t fall pregnant if you douche afterwards
This pregnancy myth dates back to Cleopatra’s time. The vaginal muscles contract during orgasm as a way to draw the sperm closer to the egg. Therefore, even if you wash or douche straight afterwards, some semen will already be too deep to be flushed out. Plus, using anything unnatural on or inside your vagina can cause irritation and infections – don’t do it.
#6: You can only fall pregnant on two specific days of your cycle
There are in fact six days in a cycle during which a woman can fall pregnant: the five days before she ovulates and the 24 hours afterwards. If your periods are irregular, or if your cycles are longer/shorter than normal, it can be very difficult to tell when your fertile days are. Even if your periods are regular, ovulation might not occur on the same days in every cycle.
Best way to prevent pregnancy is to find the right contraceptive for you. For decades, contraception has empowered women and improved their quality of life, giving them the freedom to choose when or if to become parents. You can pop into your nearest Marie Stopes centre, where we’ll be able to advise you and provide the type of birth control you’re looking for.