Teens are more likely to use emergency contraception if it's prescribed in advance, says a new policy statement from American Academy of Pediatrics.
Teenage pregnancies have declined worldwide. Even in the U.S., the rate of teenage pregnancy has reduced over the years. However, many teenage girls still suffer from unwanted pregnancies. AAP says that availability of emergency contraceptive methods can bring down the rates of teenage pregnancies.
AAP says that pediatricians can play an important role in counseling and helping teens access emergency contraceptive choices like Plan B and Next Choice that will help prevent unwanted pregnancies.
"Emergency contraception should be available, and it should be available over the counter. Education should be provided in the pediatrician's office..." Dr. Cora Collette Breuner, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, told HuffPost. Now, all teenagers under the age of 17 are required a prescription for emergency contraceptive pills.
However, these contraceptive methods don't cut the risk of the teen being infected with sexually transmitted diseases.
"Patients should also know that emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and pediatricians should discuss the importance of STI testing, or treatment if needed," said AAP.
AAP added that it encourages pediatricians to "advocate for better insurance coverage and increased access to emergency contraception for teens" regardless of the age of the patient.
"As pediatricians, our job is to help make sure adolescents have healthy, productive lives with families that they plan. Our job is to [explain] that there are options out there. Knowledge is power," Breuner said to HuffPost.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen birth rate declined by 8 percent in 2011. The agency says that the reasons for this drop aren't clear; teens are less sexually active now and even those who are active use birth control methods.
Published by Medicaldaily.com