The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention think Long-Acting Reversible Contraception options are best for teens having vaginal intercourse and wishing to prevent preganacy.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorse the usage of LARCs as birth control for teens too. Hormonal implants and intrauterine devices are very effective for preventing pregnancy and require very little management and upkeep. They really are amazing.
When I was a teen, the go-to birth control was the pill. But let’s face it, imperfect use means lower efficacy and what with being human and all, perfect usage seems… unlikely. Perhaps I’m just remembering my own experience, but using the pill consistently as a teenager may be more precarious. I don’t think it is necessarily irresponsibility but the amazing amount of new responsibility that teens have to contend with and manage that might challenge the pill as the go-to method.
When I was a teen, I don’t think implants existed and the IUD was a method for ‘married’ women and/or women who had given birth. I remember hearing that STIs could spread faster and move through and beyond the cervix if an IUD was used. That meant anyone having penatrative vaginal sex outside of a ‘long-term trusted relationship’ was at a greater risk. So, at that time, it was considered a terrible choice for most teens despite the incredible efficacy. I don’t even remember it as an option offered to me.
Myth busting time:
- IUDs are experiencing a serious comeback – and not just for married mothers.
- IUDs are really safe.
- IUDs don’t protect people from STIs but neither do they increase the risk of contracting one.
- IUDs and hormonal impants are more expensive at the time of insertion, but overall they are much more cost effective.
Our kids may or may not be hooking up but likely our ideas of what constitutes a ‘long term’ relationship is different than how they might define the term. Either way, if the relationship lasts one looong night or 5 years, the birth control ought to be reliable.
Don’t let misconceptions or misinformation (yours or theirs) steer them away from the best choice. Investigate all the possibilities and ask questions. Options for Sexual Health offers great information about the different birth control options including good beta on the IUD.
Supporting a teen in their choice to use an IUD or implants as birth control is part of helping to keep our kids safe. But don’t stop there! Help them develop communication skills for negotiating (safe and consensual) sex. Support their use of condoms and encourge them to get tested for STIs regularly.
Like this post? Maybe check out this one on the Pill too.