4 Falsehoods TikTok Has Spread About Birth Control

TikTok sure has some great uses. It's a fun way to pass the time when you have a few hours to kill, it's a quick and easy way to get inspiration for, well, pretty much anything, and it's full of hilarious content to brighten your mood. One thing it shouldn't be used for, though? Getting crucial medical advice. At least not unless you're going to consult a few other sources as well.


Like Twitter, TikTok has become somewhat of a hotbed for falsehoods and skewed information about almost anything and everything. Nearly anybody on the planet can make and upload their own videos about any subject. It's no wonder the social media site has helped spread some questionable info around the globe.

One of the big topics on the platform that seems to have plenty of videos sharing the truths and well, not such truths, has to be birth control. While TikTok can be useful in hearing other people's stories and experiences with different methods, there's also unfortunately some oh-so-wrong information out there too. Here, we're setting the record straight on some videos you may have seen.

Myth 1: The symptothermal method is almost 100% effective

TikTok has been flooded with advice on more "natural" birth control methods. And while they may work for some people who aren't suited to traditional birth control approaches like the pill or condoms, it's most certainly not recommended for everyone. That includes the symptothermal method, which a dubious video from @naturalfertilitycollect claims is between 98% and 99.6% effective — but there's something the clip left out.


The approach involves carefully tracking the ovulation cycle using a combination of basal body temperature and cervical mucus testing methods to work out when the woman is most fertile. But the video didn't share that it's only this effective if couples have been properly informed about using the method and do it thoroughly and consistently. Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science confirmed those numbers only reflect couples who have been doing the approach properly for over a year, while it's recommended that anyone attempting a technique like this spends at least six months tracking their cycle first. Equally, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists claim, out of 100 people, between one and five are likely to get pregnant within the first 12 months of using the method, rising to 12 to 24 when the technique isn't done religiously.


There are also many women who take the pill because of issues like irregular periods (NICHD found between 14% and 25% of all women have irregular menstrual cycles!), which makes this method near impossible for them to implement.

Myth 2: It's easy to avoid pregnancy without birth control

TikTok seems to be flooded with videos from women boasting that they've not used traditional birth control methods in years and have relied on things like the calendar method and cycle tracking to avoid getting pregnant. "There's actually a very small window every single month where you can get pregnant, and that's when you're ovulating, it's called your fertile window," TikTok user @kurinadele shared in a clip, claiming it was very easy to not get pregnant while not on birth control saying, "All you have to do is track your cycle, find out when you're ovulating, and be a lot more careful when you're fertile. You can take your body basal temperature, take ovulation tests and also just look at your cervical mucus." She adds, "It is possible to not be on traditional birth control and not get pregnant."


But while there are a few women this may work for, it's certainly not recommended. What the video leaves out is this method is only really suitable for women who have regular cycles and can accurately track them, while also suggesting using birth control that doesn't rely on period tracking is unnatural, foreign, or harmful to the body. But that's just not true. Each method comes with many benefits in addition to just preventing unwanted pregnancies. Condoms and other barrier methods, for example, may not be considered "natural," but they're by far the most effective way to protect against STDs.

Myth 3: The COVID vaccine interferes with birth control

It seems like ever since the COVID-19 vaccine was first announced, social media has been flooded with falsehoods about the apparent effects it can have on the body. One of the biggest unproven allegations spread on TikTok is the claim that seemingly any brand of the vaccine could make the birth control pill less effective. That included a video from TikToker @shelbycless, which showed her taking her birth control pill every day before then showing off an ultrasound scan. "When the COVID shot decreases the effectiveness of your birth control," she captioned the upload.


Only, that's not true. There's actually no proof at all to suggest that the vaccine had any impact at all on how effective the birth control pill is. It's more likely anyone who falls pregnant soon after getting vaccinated while taking the pill is just a coincidence. The Cleveland Clinic confirmed taking a birth control pill every day is only 99% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy, which means there's always that 1% chance of conceiving a child if you're sexually active.

Myth 4: Birth control pills aren't a necessity for any women

Some videos condemning birth control pills fail to take into account that not all women have regular cycles and not all women can accurately predict their cycles. It's false to claim that many women are on the pill unnecessarily and can avoid pregnancy in other ways. This TikTok video from @healingwithher suggested there are many cases where women don't actually need to religiously take their birth control pill every day. They just need to be careful during their six days of potential ovulation.


Like many other similar videos, it also doesn't take into consideration that people use birth control methods for a whole host of reasons that don't always boil down to being sexually active. We already know that condoms and femidoms can prevent STDs and there are many women who take the birth control pill because of issues like PCOS and irregular periods, but there are several other benefits too. Some birth control pills, as well as the contraception injection, are sometimes used to help with skin conditions like acne and can also improve painful periods. These methods have been known to lower the chances of developing some cancers, including womb cancer, and pelvic inflammatory disease, while they can also help with Endometriosis issues and inflammation.


So next time you see a video urging you to try a particular birth control method, do yourself a favor and do your own research first!