Parents of sexually active teenagers may find it awkward to discuss birth control options with them and, thus, let their children find the answers on their own. Unfortunately, teens are likely to get incorrect information or use birth control methods like pills and condoms incorrectly, if at all.
The result is an increased risk for unwanted pregnancies, in itself a major issue for unprepared teens. Parents should then discuss the birth control methods available and the best ones with their teens, even when it becomes too awkward for words.
Of course, you as the parent can suggest abstinence since it is 100% guaranteed to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV/AIDS. But it may not be practical considering the norm.
IUDs and Implants
When it comes to effectiveness and ease of use, intrauterine devices (IUDs) like Skyla and implants are the best options for teens. These are long-term yet reversible contraceptives proven to be highly effective in preventing pregnancies – less than 1 in every 100 females will become pregnant during a year with these implants.
Teenagers will also benefit from IUDs and implants because of their ease of use. They don’t have to think about putting on a condom in the heat of the moment or taking a pill at the same time every day.
An IUD, a small T-shaped device, is placed into the womb via vaginal insertion. Depending on its type, it can stay inside for 3-10 years, as well as prevent pregnancy and ease menstrual cramps.
An implant, a small match-sized plastic rod, is placed under the skin on the upper arm. It will provide protection against pregnancy for up to 3 years.
Shots, Patches and Pills
These are less effective than IUDs and implants but will, nonetheless, provide protection against pregnancy in comparison with condoms, rhythm method, and withdrawal method.
The shot, known as medroxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera), contains long-acting progestin lasting for about 3 months. It can result in lighter periods, as well as in bone density loss and weight gain, but it has a higher success rate than birth control pills – only 6 in 100 females will get pregnant in the first year.
The patch contains a combination of estrogen and progestin. It isn’t 100% guaranteed to prevent pregnancy – about 9 in 100 females will become pregnant within the first year – but it’s still easier to use than pills. It should be placed on the body, typically on the backside or upper arm, and worn for 3 weeks; during her monthly period, about a week, the female will take it off.
The pills are popular, too, but there are downsides to its use, especially among teenagers with plenty on their plate. Be sure to discuss its pros and cons closely with your teen since it isn’t as effective as hoped.