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10 Common Myths About The Pill

10 Common Myths About The Pill

Birth control pills haven’t been in common use for very long. Whilst women have employed contraceptive methods for centuries, the idea of a pill as contraception is a relatively new concept — and it also isn’t one that people talk about very often. This can create an aura of mystery and misinformation about it, so there are plenty of myths floating around out there concerning contraceptive pills.

We’re going to tackle some of the most dangerous and prevalent myths relating to both birth control pills and birth control in general, so you can get the facts you need to know.

1. Pulling Out Is An Effective Birth Control Measure

Many couples hoping to enjoy intercourse but not become pregnant employ what is known as the pull-out method. This involves the male pulling out of the female before ejaculation. Whilst it sounds good in theory, it’s not very effective in practice. That’s because semen can be released before ejaculation. Additionally, it takes a lot of discipline for the male to be able to pull out in time, and the statistics show that this method results in pregnancy for 25% of couples when it is their only form of birth control.

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2. Use Of Birth Control Pills Leads To Cancer

No matter what you are doing, if people don’t like it or fear it, at some point, somebody will suggest that it causes cancer or increases the risk of cancer. There is some actual research behind the claims that birth control pills will cause cervical cancer, though. Some studies have shown that the hormonal changes that it causes can slightly increase the risk of cancer in younger women. This is a risk that decreases back to its normal levels after they stop taking the pill for at least 10 years.

For women who are 30 or older, the risk factors don’t really change when they use the pill. In fact, quite the opposite occurs. The pill actually protects them from cervical and ovarian cancers, lowering their risk. This is one myth that only holds partial truth for some people.

3. The Longer You Take the Pill, The Harder It Will Be To Become Pregnant When You Stop

This is a myth a lot of people have trouble denouncing, since it seems to make sense. Many people believe that if you take the pill for a long time, once you stop, you will have a difficult time becoming pregnant. They think there are permanent changes that occur and that your body is simply used to the idea of not being pregnant anymore. However, that isn’t true, as you can become pregnant as soon as you stop taking the pill. Your hormone levels won’t shoot back to normal as soon as you stop taking it; so yes it is, in theory, harder for you to become pregnant right away. Pregnancy is still possible though, and the chances of it only increase as you stay off the pill.

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4. You Cannot Become Pregnant While On The Pill

This is a dangerous misconception, and it is one lots of people share. Even though the pharmacist or doctor will tell them up front that there is a chance they will still become pregnant while taking birth control, many people simply won’t believe it. They think that taking the pill is 100% effective. That’s not the case, though, as some people still do become pregnant while on birth control pills. The chance of that occurring is small, but it is still there, and everyone taking the pill or considering taking it needs to realize that and be prepared.

5. You Can’t Become Pregnant While Breastfeeding

This is another common myth that is just plain wrong, and it can lead to an unplanned pregnancy. If you are breastfeeding, your hormone levels will change, which can cause you to experience lower fertility levels, but there is still a chance you can get pregnant. It’s a good rule of thumb that anytime you hear someone say that you can’t be pregnant while doing something, then there is actually still a chance pregnancy is possible.

6. Birth Control Pills Prevent STDs

You may have heard that if you are on the pill, then you are protected from STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). This myth isn’t based on any actual fact, since all the pill protects you from is pregnancy, and it doesn’t even do that 100%. You can still receive STDs as easily as ever while taking the pill. If you are having sex with an infected partner, you always want to wear protection, such as a condom.

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7. Pregnancy Can Be Aborted By The Morning-After Pill

There are misconceptions about the morning-after pill as well. Some people believe it causes an abortion as soon as you use it, but that’s not the case. Instead, its mechanism prevents ovulation or fertilization, depending on what has occurred within the body so far. If you are already pregnant, it won’t do anything for you. It should only be used to prevent a pregnancy and not to try to stop one after it has occurred.

8. Taking A Birth Control Pill Will Be Effective Immediately

It may be easy to conflate or mix up the idea of a birth control pill with a morning-after pill, but they don’t quite work the same way. The birth control pill is meant to be cycled and taken on a schedule that works with your hormonal changes to prevent pregnancy. If you just start taking it whenever you want, it may not work the way it is supposed to, and you can end up with an unplanned pregnancy.

9. You Can’t Become Pregnant During Your Period

While your menstrual cycle will interfere with pregnancy and make it impossible for you to become pregnant during specific days, you can still get pregnant if you had intercourse during those days. That’s because the semen can sit inside your vagina for almost a week, still viable and ready to fertilize any eggs that emerge.

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10. You Should Take Breaks From Using Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are not actually dangerous for most women, and they should be safe for you to use as long as you want. However, if you take the birth control shot, then your body can start to lose minerals over time, and it may be necessary to break every now and then to let your body replenish its supply.

Featured photo credit: CDDEP Communications via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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