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You can rest easy. While it’s a common misconception that weight gain can be caused by a hormone-replacing contraceptive such as the pill or having an IUD, there is no definitive proof of it.

The misconception probably harks back to when birth control pills were first sold in the 1960s with high levels of both oestrogen and progestin hormones, which can cause an increased appetite and fluid retention, leading to weight gain.

Today, with different formulations and the right GP-prescribed dose suitable for you, while fluid retention might be experienced in the first two or three months, it should only be temporary and can be helped by drinking plenty of fluids.

Read: How to lose the baby weight: The surprising facts about weight loss after pregnancy 

Other birth control side effects

Birth control side effects

Information about the different side effects of birth control can be overwhelming.

Hormone-influencing contraceptives, such as the combined oral contraceptive pill, vaginal rings, hormone impregnated intrauterine devices (IUDs), and implantable birth control and injections can have some advantages, including treating:

  • irregular menstruation
  • painful periods
  • acne
  • endometriosis
  • premenstrual syndrome

Disadvantages can be:

  • inter-menstrual spotting
  • mood changes
  • headaches or migraines
  • nausea
  • missed periods
  • breast tenderness
  • possible decreased libido

Other non-hormonal options include condoms, copper IUDs and diaphragms. Side effects from these are less common than hormonal contraception and use of these is up to the individual.

Non-reversible options include vasectomy and tubal ligation, both of which require surgery and possible associated complications.

The place to start is a discussion with your doctor about what might suit you best.

Relevant: What is the best birth control after giving birth?


Any advice given is general in nature and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice and must not be relied upon as such. For any healthcare advice, always consult a healthcare practitioner.

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