IUDs, Implants More Effective Birth Control, Should Be Recommended To Teens

IUDs and implants are the most successful form of birth control, and the nation’s leading gynecologists group stated on Thursday that doctors should be recommending IUDs or other hormonal implants for teenage girls, instead of prescribing the pill or the patch.

Intrauterine devices and implants are safe and almost 100 percent effective at pregnancy prevention, reports The Washington Post. Because of this, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, stated that they should be “first-line recommendations” for teens.

Both kinds of contraception are more invasive than taking the pill. This, as well as the higher cost, are most likely why the pill remains the most popular form of birth control in the US.

But to be 100 percent effective, the pill must be taken at the same time every day to be the most potent. Forgetting to take just one can lead to pregnancy, which is why it is sometimes just 91 percent effective.

In comparison, an IUD is a small, T-shaped piece of plastic that is inserted in the uterus. They have been known to prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years. The implant is a matchstick-sized plastic rod that releases hormones over time. It is usually placed under the skin of the upper arm and lasts about three years.

CBS News notes that, while the new guidelines don’t tell teens they can’t use another method, Dr. Tina Raine-Bennett, head of the committee that wrote the recommendations, states that “if your goal is to prevent a pregnancy, then using an implant or an IUD would be the best way to do this.”

While their previous guidelines also encourage the use of IUDs and implants in teens, the new guidelines say that physicians should talk about the two types of birth control with sexually active teens at every doctor visit.

While some old arguments against IUDs blamed deadly infections as a reason not to get them, newer IUDs have been found to be perfectly safe. Raine-Bennett stated that doctors should be sensitive to peoples’ requests, and also provide detailed information that dispels any myths regarding IUDs and implants, allowing teens to make informed decisions about the birth control they want to use.