There are new recommendations from the nation’s pediatricians when it comes to birth control for teens. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued guidelines stating that long acting forms of birth control such as the IUD or a hormone implant should be the first choices. Right now, condoms and the birth control pills are the top choices for teens who choose not to be abstinent.
The reasons for the recommendation are twofold. First, these longer acting forms are shown over the years to be safe. Second, their level of effectiveness is higher than the pill—in many ways because there is nothing to remember or do as compared with these other forms.
Here are the rates of protection from pregnancy in a real-world setting according to the CDC:
Implant – 99.98% (this is a matchstick sized device that releases hormones and is placed under the skin of the arm through a minor outpatient procedure.
IUD – 99.8%. The brand name is Mirena and it works by releasing a progestin (a hormone) that primarily prevents sperm from entering the uterus. It works for 5 years and is placed through the cervix in a procedure in the doctor’s office.
IUD – 99.2%. There is a second one available, one coated with copper, which is effective for 10 years. It also works by preventing sperm from reaching the egg.
Injectable hormone – 94% – Depo-Provera. One injection every 3 months.
Birth control pill – 91%, with less effectiveness in women who are overweight.
Patch – 91%
Ring – 91%
Diaphragm – 88%
Condom – 82%
Rhythm – 76%
Spermacide – 72%
Neither of the long acting methods protects against STDs, and they can be expensive — $400-800 at once. Yet more insurers are picking up the tab, plus that amount is offset over the use of the devices over the years.