Many women and young teens may opt for the pill as their preferred birth control. However, new guidelines suggest IUDs or hormone implants to be the most effective way to prevent pregnancy.
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small T-shaped plastic device that is wrapped in copper or contains hormones. The IUD is inserted into a female's uterus by her doctor. A plastic string tied to the end of the implant hangs down through the cervix into the vagina. A female may check the implant is in place by feeling for the string. It is also the way the doctor removes the IUD.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are replacing 2007 guidelines that once instructed doctors to view IUD as just an option, but did not emphasize a preference for them in women and teenage girls.
More specifically the new guidelines are geared to sexually active teens. "Implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs) should be offered as first-line contraceptive options for sexually active adolescents," The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stated in a news release.
According to ACOG, IUDs and implants have the highest rates of patient satisfaction. These methods help eliminate any chance of inconsistent use like other birth control options. Additionally, complications from using IUDs and implants are rare and IUDs can prevent pregnancy up to 10 years.
The guidelines go on to state IUDs will not increase a teen's risk of infertility. With 42 percent of teens between the ages of 15-19 having sexual intercourse and eight out of 10 teen pregnancies are unintended, ACOG stress the importance of a reliable and safe way to prevent unplanned pregnancies.
The ACOG continues to advocate for the use of condoms. They warn that the IUDs do not protect against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted disease.
According to Dr. Paula Braverman, a physician at the University of Cincinnati who was involved in the academy's update, believe the guidelines are effective in clarifying any misconceptions about IUDs and implants.
For more information visit the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website.