DENVER (CBS4) – The nation’s most influential pediatrician’s group is making new recommendations to prevent teen pregnancy.
Teenagers are encouraged to delay sexual activity, but data shows most teens in high school — more than half — have sex. Now the pediatricians are recommending long-acting birth control methods that are nearly 100 percent effective.READ MORE: Heat and Haze Causes Front Range Air Quality To Drop Amid Some Of The Worst In The Country
After years of taking birth control pills, Jennifer Ortiz, 23, is now choosing an intrauterine device or IUD.
“It’s not like the pill where I have to remember, or a patch where I have to change it,” Ortiz said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending IUDs and hormonal implants as first-line options for preventing pregnancy in adolescents.
“It’s very safe and highly reliable. Once these devices are inserted, there’s basically a 100 percent efficacy against pregnancy,” Dr. Rebecca O’Brien with Boston Children’s Hospital said.
IUDs last 3 to 10 years and the implants work for 3 years.
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Teen pregnancy rates have been going down the past two decades. Doctors say with those methods the tes will drop even further.
“These are great methods,” Dr. Grace Cheng at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood said.
Cheng says the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has made the same recommendations.
“The reality is most teenagers are going to be having sexual intercourse at some point,” she said.
A 19-year-old CBS4 spoke with says she’s careful to take the pill daily, but is thinking about a long-term option.
“The IUD, which is something I’m also going to consider, honestly because I don’t love to take the pill every day,” she said.
Doctors also remind teens to always use condoms to protect against sexually transmitted diseases.MORE NEWS: Planned Power Outage: Douglas County Residents Should Expect Drop In Power
Long-term contraceptives involve a medical procedure usually done in a doctor’s office. There is the risk of infection at the time they are placed and a rare complication of uterine rupture with the IUD. But doctors say all methods of hormonal birth control are safer than pregnancy.