Sex

What you don't know about your pill...

You might take it every day, but do you really understand it? We uncover the myths and shockers of oral contraceptives.

1) Less than one in 100 women who are on the pill and taking it as advised will become pregnant. Nine in 100 will get pregnant if they are not taking it daily. The pill is only as effective as it claims if used day-in and day-out. So set your alarm, carry it with you and DON’T FORGET. Because if you're that person who misses it one day so doubles up the next - your chances of falling preggo are significantly higher.

2) In some sort of twisted, medical witchcraft - the pill can actually control who you are and aren’t attracted to. (Seriously.) Women are more likely to prefer ‘less masculine’ men while they’re taking oral contraceptives. Studies have also found that it can affect your choice of boyfriend – meaning you could potentially come off your pill and feel differently about your other half. Spooky, eh?

3) Newsflash - all brands of the pill are equally effective. Different effects arise because of how different brands will react with your body. "Gynecologists will prescribe the pill they have the most experience with or the one they currently have free samples of in the closet," says Dr. James Simon of the Women's Health Research Center in Laurel, US. So basically, it’s up to you to figure out which is your best option. Cheers for nothing, doc.

4) IUDs are 20 times better at preventing unintended pregnancies than the pill. And for fans of long words and explanations – intrauterine devices are small t-shaped contraceptive items which are inserted into the uterus. And the reason they’re so good is that they eliminate the possibility for human error. So in other words, if you want a job doing – don’t do it yourself.

5) Earlier versions of the pill contained a higher dose of hormones – causing women to gain weight as a result. However, most modern versions don’t. Many studies into links between the pill and gaining weight have also ruled that there is none. So your weight gain is not due to your pill. More likely your love of cake.

6) In most brands, the last week of pills in your packet contain added iron. This is to help deal with the iron loss you suffer while menstruating. Although in some women, iron supplements can cause nasty side effects like nausea, constipation, diarrhoea and abdominal disease – so if you experience any of this during the last week of the cycle, this could be why.

7) Although many women think the opposite, you don’t need a break from the pill to get pregnant. “The hormones in birth control pills don't linger in your system," according to the Mayo Clinic. Your body will return to normal as soon as you come off the pill, regardless of how long you’ve been on it. Similarly, being on the pill for a long period of time also has no effect on your fertility levels.

8) Coming to a drug store near you soon: ‘The pill pour homme’. That’s right, your man will also, FINALLY, get to share the daily burden of baby prevention. Scientists have found both hormonal and non-hormonal birth control methods for men, it’s just a matter of time before they’re made available.