Birth control has always been a very personal choice for women and thankfully there are a few options out there for them to choose from. From the birth control pill to IUDs to condoms, women and teenage girls have a choice in how they want to manage their birth control, but it's not always easy to choose the method that's right for them.
Many women and teens assume that the pill is the default method of birth control they should start with. But, for the first time ever the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) has issued an actual recommended form of birth control for teen girls who are considering birth control for the first time. The Huffington Post reports that the CPS has recommended intrauterine devices, or IUDs, as a first choice for birth control over birth control pills.
The IUD, which is placed inside the uterus, has the most successful rate for preventing pregnancy at 99% effective. Compared to the birth control pill and condoms, which have an effective rate of 91% and 82% respectively when typically used, IUDs are providing more protection for young girls.
Principal author of the paper Dr. Giuseppina Di Meglio reiterated that birth control options need to be more accessible for younger girls. "We’d like to see more ease with recommending the use of IUDs," she said."Intrauterine contraception and the long-acting reversible contraceptives in general ... those should be your first line because they're the most effective."
The CPS recommendation also stated that it has to be made easier for teens to have access to birth control, as the "personal, health care and social costs of a single unintended or mistimed pregnancy are substantial."
Aside from the effectiveness benefits, copper-based IUDs can last from 5-10 years without needing to be replaced. For many teens this is a better option than having to remember to take a pill daily. The CPS also recommends always using condoms regardless of any other birth control to help further prevent pregnancy as well as transmitting any sexually transmitted infections (STI)
DiMeglio told HuffPost that the idea of having an IUD inserted may be nerve wracking for some teens, but it's really not any worse than having a bad period.
"You get a few pretty intense cramps, but nothing more than you would have with a really bad period," she said. "It subsides pretty quickly and then for the next few days, you might have a few cramps on and off."
The CPS also suggests that in addition to counseling teens about the options available to them, they need to make birth control easier to get. They also state that doctors should be discussing sexual health with both boys and girls before they're sexually active to ensure they both know their responsibilities and options.
"At the end of the day, we just want to facilitate whatever contraceptive they choose," Di Meglio said.
This is a big step in making sure our teenagers are well informed and practicing healthy methods of birth control.