Teen pregnancy rates have dropped in the US in the last few years. This is great news and due partly to the availability of birth control and also to technology. Teens today are more informed than ever regarding their pregnancy prevention options. Here, Marla Ahlgrimm answers some common questions about birth control for teens and why it’s important.
Q: How do I know if I should be using birth control?
Marla Ahlgrimm: There are two reasons that a young woman should use birth control. The first is if you experience heavy and painful bleeding during your period. Oral contraceptives can help regulate your cycle and you have the option to skip it altogether. The second, and most important, reason is to prevent pregnancy. If you are not ready to become a parent but are sexually active, you should consider taking steps to prevent pregnancy.
Q: What types of birth control are available to me?
Marla Ahlgrimm: The most common form of birth control is the pill. However, there are many options nowadays. Reversible methods include hormone implants, IUDs, injections, patches, vaginal rings, diaphragm, and a few others, which are less effective. Your doctor can help you decide.
Q: Which is the best?
Marla Ahlgrimm: The most effective form of birth control is abstinence, followed by the implant and IUD. Sterilization is usually reserved for older women who already have children and wish to keep their family as-is.
Q: Does birth control prevent STDs?
Marla Ahlgrimm: None of the ones lists above. Condoms are the most effective for STD prevention and may be used in conjunction with other forms of birth control. STDs are a huge concern for young people, as they can have a negative effect on your future health and relationships.