NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 09:36
The Medicines Evaluation Board (MEB) warns young women against incorrect information about contraception on social media. The medicines watchdog sees how influencers promote unreliable contraceptive methods or spread disinformation.
“I found out that a woman is actually only fertile for three days and I think it would be a shame to have to take hormones every day for that.” It is a statement in a video by a young YouTuber with more than 80,000 followers, in which she explains why she stopped taking the pill.
But a woman is not fertile for three days per cycle. That is longer, says chairman Ton de Boer of the MEB: “That is already approaching eight days; sperm cells can survive in the woman’s body for five days.” To combat this type of misinformation, the medicines watchdog has started a campaign in which the facts and myths about contraception are listed.
Go to a doctor
According to De Boer, for example, social media often emphasizes the side effects of contraception, but these differ per person. “If you suffer from this, consult your doctor. A doctor can tell you whether these side effects are part of it or whether there are alternatives that you can use.”
According to the MEB, the consequence of these unscientific statements by influencers is that young women become unwanted pregnant. Abortion clinics previously expressed their concerns about the number of young women who distrust contraception.
This summer, the Dutch Society of Abortion Doctors (NGVA) reported that they are increasingly seeing women who use an app to keep track of when they are fertile and do not use any other form of contraception.
“And then things sometimes go wrong. It mainly concerns women between the ages of 18 and 28. But we are also increasingly seeing younger girls. The increase seems to be associated with a so-called hormone phobia,” said NGVA chairman Raina Brethouwer at the time.
This summer, NOS Stories spoke to young people who exchanged hormones for ‘natural contraception’:
It is not the first time that authorities have expressed concerns about the promotion of natural contraceptive methods. In 2018, doctors already warned against the use of apps such as Ladycomp and Natural Cycle, which use your body temperature to let you know when you can become pregnant and when the coast is clear.
General practitioner and MEB member Janneke Belo says she hears these methods more and more often in her practice. “It’s good to get to know your body better, but don’t use these methods if you don’t want to get pregnant,” she says. “The chance that you will be that way is no less than 20 percent.”