/ by Stephanie J. Stockburger, MD
Did you know that only about half of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by the time they're 22? Additionally, children of teen parents are more likely to have lower school achievement, drop out of high school, have more health problems, be incarcerated at some time during adolescence, give birth as a teenager, and be unemployed as a young adult.
If you are a parent to a teen – whether a son or a daughter, it's important to teach them about how to practice safe sex in order to prevent teen pregnancy. Try to start this conversation before they become sexually active.
There are several different types of birth control for girls and women as well as other contraception methods. Setting up an appointment with your doctor is a great opportunity to talk about what would be the best option for your teenager and to clear up any misconceptions about sex and pregnancy. And don't forget to teach your teen that two different forms of protection is recommended every time. For example, using both hormonal birth control in addition to a condom reduces their risk for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
Remember that the safest contraception method is abstinence.
Types of birth control
Here are some different types of hormonal birth control for girls and women:
- Birth control pills: Take one pill every day.
- Patch: Put a new patch on each week for three weeks, with no patch the fourth week, then restart a new pack.
- Ring: Insert hormone-releasing ring in the vagina for three weeks, out for the fourth week, then restart a new ring.
- Depo: Shot every 12 weeks.
- Implant: Implantable rod placed in the upper arm at the doctor’s office that lasts for three years.
- Intra-uterine device (IUD): T-shaped device that is placed in the uterus at the doctor’s office; lasts for three to 10 years depending on the type.
Implants and IUDs are considered long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) and are often recommended for teens who may have difficulty remembering a daily or weekly method. The beauty of LARCs is that once they are in place, they work for a number of years.
Talk to your doctor
UK Adolescent Medicine provides contraceptive education and care for teenagers and their families. Our counselors are experts at communicating with adolescents and will work with you and your family to address any concerns you might have related to pregnancy or contraception.