Teen girls who have sex should use IUDs or hormonal implants — long-acting birth control methods that are effective, safe and easy to use, the nation’s most influential pediatricians’ group recommends.
In an updated policy, the American Academy of Pediatrics says condoms also should be used every time teens have sex, to provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases that other forms of birth control don’t provide, and to boost chances of preventing pregnancy.
Condoms alone are the most common birth control choice among teens, but with typical use they’re among the least effective methods at preventing pregnancy. Both long-acting methods are nearly 100 percent effective, with lower failure rates than birth control pills, patches and injections, the academy says.
IUDs and hormonal implants cost more, usually hundreds of dollars, because inserting them involves a medical procedure typically done in doctors’ offices. But they’re less expensive in the long run than over-the-counter condoms or prescription birth control pills, said Dr. Mary Ott, an adolescent medicine specialist and associate pediatrics professor at Indiana University. She is the policy statement’s lead author,