Birth Control Methods

Is intrauterine device use safe for teenagers?

IUD is safe and efficient birth control method also for teenage girls with no previous pregnancy. It does not increase the risk of infertility. The risk of unintended pregnancy and its consequences outweigh the few side effects that birth control methods could have, including the IUD (intrauterine device).

Teenage pregnancy

Every year millions of babies are born to teenage mothers. The survival rate of these babies is worldwide low due to various social and developmental issues.

Teenage pregnancies are almost always unintended.

Teenage girls are neither physically nor emotionally ready for pregnancy and childbirth. Most of them give up their education and get into lifelong insecurities; professional and financial. Consequently, their children also suffer developmental and educational setbacks.

Prevention of teenage pregnancy

The use of long-acting reversible contraceptive like IUD is crucial to prevent unintended pregnancies among teenagers, but statistics from the U.S show that only 3.6% of teens aged 15–19 years use IUD. Most popular birth control method among teenagers and their parents is contraceptive hormone pills.

In event of unprotected or under protected sexual intercourse
emergency contraception
is recommended to prevent the risk of unintended pregnancy.

Why are contraceptive pills not the recommended birth control method for teenagers?

• They have to be taken regularly to be effective

• Being hormone pills, it could interfere with attainment of normal bone mass, which is critical during teens.

• Contraceptive pills are less frequently recommended for girls with diabetes; both type 1 & 2

What are the barriers for IUD use among teenagers?

• Availability.

• Cost involved.

• People look at it as invasive medical procedure.

• Misinformed regarding eligibility of teenage girl for IUD use.

• Sexual activity among teenage girls is often not perceived as a regular phenomenon requiring long-acting contraceptive.

• Prevailing misconceptions regarding the risks involved with IUD use.

• Apprehension of having foreign material placed inside ones body and fear that it could cause damage and/or bleeding.

Is IUD use safe for teenage girls?

Currently available IUDs are safe; also for teens:
The currently available IUDs (the copper T 380A (ParaGard, Teva Women’s Health, Inc., North Wales, PA) and the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (Mirena, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc., Wayne, NJ) are proclaimed safe by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

• IUDs can be used in patients with no previous pregnancies.

• They do not increase the risk of infertility.

• IUDs are long-acting and reversible birth control method.

• They do not increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy.

• IUDs do not increase the long-term risk of cervical dysplasia.

• IUDs do not have to be inserted during menstruation.

IUDs do not increase the long-term risk of infections:
PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) or the other sexually transmitted infections.

Condom use

A recent study by Lauren Hartman et al, published in the Journal of Adolescent health shows that many teenagers indulge in unsafe sex; and do not use condom to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases. Use of condom is highly recommended even along with IUD in place. Condom alone may not prevent pregnancy.

Are abortions an acceptable means to discard unintended pregnancies?

Doctors discourage abortions in favor of the use of contraceptives.
Click here for the answer.


1. Julia E. Kohn, Ph.D., Jordan G. Hacker, M.P.H., Marissa A. Rousselle, M.P.H., and Marji Gold, M.D.: Knowledge and Likelihood to Recommend Intrauterine Devices for Adolescents Among School-based Health Center Providers. Journal of Adolescent Health, 2011; doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.12.024

2. Lauren B. Hartman, Mary-Ann Shafer, Lance M. Pollack, Charles Wibbelsman, Fay Chang, Kathleen P. Tebb. Parental Acceptability of Contraceptive Methods Offered to Their Teen During a Confidential Health Care Visit. Journal of Adolescent Health, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.06.013

3. Contraception and pregnancy in adolescents with type 1 diabetes: Review article; Pediatric Diabetes 2012: 13: 108–123 doi: 10.1111/j.1399-5448.2011.00825.x

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