Ovaries are way more complicated than they seem. While it'd be great if our high school health classes taught us everything we need to know, that is rarely the case. The following are seven things that I, or someone I know, was surprised to learn.
1. Antibiotics can make birth control ineffective
Not all antibiotics impact the efficacy of birth control, but some can make it possible to get pregnant even if you take your birth control consistently. It's always a good idea to ask your doctor when you're prescribed any new medications.
2. Inconsistency can also make birth control ineffective
Taking the pill at the same time every day, getting your shot on the right day, replacing the patch at the right time — consistency is key. If you mess up the timing of any form of birth control, it can cause issues. If you do miss your birth control, always take it as close to the right time as possible and look up your specific birth control to make sure you're still covered.
3. You don't have a period the entire time you're pregnant
This one might seem obvious to most of us, but I know an 18-year-old who thought you just got your period later than normal. Pregnant women don't get periods until after they give birth, and nursing mothers often don't have periods either.
4. You don't need to put up with negative side effects
There are so many forms of birth control and so many brands of each form, including pills, rings, patches, the shot, and implants. A lot of women just accept their negative side effects, but with so many options you can find one that works for you.
5. You can get pregnant during your period
The likelihood of getting pregnant during your period is close to zero, but not close enough that you should have sex without using birth control.
6. Breakthrough bleeding might mean your birth control isn't working
Breakthrough bleeding (spotting or bleeding between periods) can mean that your birth control isn't working. If this happens, you should talk to your birth control provider.
7. "Regular" just means "regular for you"
You should always talk to your reproductive health care provider about any irregularities in your cycle, but that doesn't mean you need to worry if your normal period is different from the average. If your regular period is longer or shorter than the average, there's no need to worry as long as it's normal for you.