Birth Control Mistakes

When it comes to birth control, many people want to just set it and forget it. It’s there, it does its job, who wants to think about it, right?

But bungling birth control is all too common. In fact, half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. Yikes.

To make sure you can count on your contraceptive, here are the potential pitfalls.

It’s no secret that birth control is a touchy subject, particularly in the US. Political and religious leaders fight about it endlessly, and it’s all tangled up in personal choices about—shhhh!—sex.

But the bottom line is if you’re sexually active, and now isn’t a great time to start a family, you should select a type of birth control that works for you. Luckily, there are a ton of birth control options out there.

The antibiotic rifampin can undermine hormonal contraception, including the pill, the patch (Ortho Evra), or the vaginal ring (NuvaRing).

Some anticonvulsants, oral medications for yeast infections, HIV drugs, and the herbal supplement St. John’s wort can also be a problem for these types of birth control, as well as for contraceptive implants (Implanon), according to Planned Parenthood.

Bottom line? Check with your doctor about possible interactions and medications that can make your birth control less effective.

Oils or oil-based lubricants (including Vaseline, baby oil, and mineral oil-based body lotions) can dramatically weaken latex condoms in just 60 seconds.

Choose a water- or silicone-based lubricant, available in the family-planning aisle in drugstores and supermarkets. Also keep in mind that many lipsticks contain oils that can weaken latex.