IUDs Are Deemed Teen Girl User-able So Don’t All Line Up To Get One At Once

IUDs for teenagersIUDs are the official best in birth control. So say those pregnancy prevention rates and now even the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG reportedly replaced their 2007 guidelines and went IUD-centric. The doctors recommended that IUDs should be “first-line” recommendations for all ladies, including teenage girls. But given how culturally irksome we still are about young girls engaging in sexual behavior, I don’t think many a parent will be giving the thumbs up on the device. At least not just yet.

Assuming that parents are fine with their daughters having heterosexual sex in the first place and simultaneously want them as far from pregnancy as can be, IUDs seem to be the way to go. This particular birth control method is 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, which is the equivalent of being sterilized. Talk about insurance! As essential as condoms are to a sexually active person in this age bracket, they tend to have high failure rates because of reliance on “perfect user compliance.” And because teens tend to dabble in both condoms and birth control pills improperly and without consistency, unplanned pregnancies happen.

So in that respect, a parent who doesn’t expect abstinence from their child has a very clear cut choice in the matter of selecting birth control. Guaranteed no babies practically equals an IUD at this point.

But at present, only about 4.5 percent of teen girls (aged 15 to 19) use IUDs. And we’re still a nation that throws a hissy fit at the thought of young girls (and boys) even getting the HPV vaccine — which is still warranted even if you’re not having sex.

Anxiety about girls and their sexuality manifests not just there but in Obama‘s absurd overturn of Plan B availability last year, asserting his own paternalistic reasons after trumping scientists who declared the pill fine for young girls.

Given how safe, reliable, and maintenance-free IUDs generally seem to be, it would be wonderful if more girls who are choosing to be sexually active could get their hands on them. But I don’t envision the majority of mothers or fathers choosing to give their daughters as close to a pregnancy-free guarantee as we currently have in our possession. After all, we’re still working on sex education.

Sorry! This poll is now closed.

(photo: GRei/ Shutterstock)

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  • melody

    I had my eldest daughter when I was 16 because I “dabbled” in contraception and while I in no way regret having her when I did, I don’t want her having babies until she’s at least well into her 20′s. I even asked my husband what he thought of my getting her one once she’s a teen the other day! Yes, I will most definitely be getting an IUD for my teen daughter.

  • pamzella

    I would have gotten it myself if an option, and would seriously consider it for a young person now, assuming the cost was not prohibitive, because besides being more effective, they are also better protection against blood clots, which long term use of many newer birth control options (not just Yaz). However, I didn’t meet a GYN that was willing to insert an IUD for someone that did not already have one child– curious if that was just because of the small size of the cervix but also because of the older recommendations.

    • CleaK

      My OB/GYN was willing to insert one in me prior to a pregnancy, however he did state that it could be more painful. I had heard from several people who had one w/o having children and they said it was grossly painful to both insert and remove. I opted instead for the ring, which I loved. However, now that I am pregnant, I am super anxious to get an IUD after this baby is born. Does anyone know where the new healthcare mandates on birth control fall as relate to an IUD? Do they cover the device 100% and then you have to pay for the insertion? Or is it all covered just as the pill would be?

    • a

      I am nulliparous ( have never had kids) and my fantastic Dr had no problem with giving me the IUD in my early 20s. She also gave me a paracervical block to numb my cervix for insertion (removal didn’t hurt at all so I was un-numbed). What shocks me about IUDs is how many Drs do not educate patients about them as and option and also do not offer the local freezing for insertion. For anyone considering an IUD who is concerned about pain ask your Dr about the paracervical block.

  • CW

    IUD’s aren’t true contraception because they do nothing to prevent conception. They work as birth control because they are abortifacients. I wouldn’t want my teen daughter to be having sex at all, but if she did, I would want her to double up on barrier contraception (e.g. condoms plus a diaphragm or cervical cap). Even the Pill would be better than the IUD because that primarily works by suppressing ovulation and only sometimes by acting as an abortifacient.

    • a

      copper is also a natural spermacide, So in combination with making the uterus inhospitable to a zygote the copper can act to kill the sperm prior before it meets the egg….

    • AniAngel

      Not to mention Mirena, which also has the hormonal ingredient. Please keep pushing this whole birth control as an abortifacients line though, that’s arguably my new favorite piece of nonsence.

  • Just a mom

    I have to agree with pamzella. Good luck finding a doctor to insert one if you haven’t had a child. They are RECOMMENDED for people who have had a child because it fits better and the pain experienced during insertion is less intense. I honestly don’t care what other choose for their children but with this type of issues parents need to do their homework about what’s best for their life and teens life. There’s also implanon that is about the same effectiveness but anyone can use it. (It is placed under the skin in the arm.) Maybe another option to consider for birth control w/little user involvement. (They have to check to make sure its in the right place very month for both inplanon and an IUD.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pattinichols Patti Nichols

    The only concern I’d have with an IUD being used by a young woman who may not be in monogamous relationships during the course of her insertion is that IUD’s do not prevent STD. However, an IUD plus a properly used condom is a pretty much ideal situation for a young woman, and I wouldn’t hesitate to help my daughters find a doctor willing to insert one in a woman who had not given birth (they’re out there!).

  • Tinyfaeri

    Safe sex when you’re a teen or early 20-something isn’t just about pregnancy prevention, and IUDs do nothing to prevent the spread of HIV or other STDs. If the kid is in a monogamous relationship for 6 months (really, seriously, completely monogamous) and both kids have been tested for everything, I guess that’s one thing…but with how fast most highschool and college relationships change, condoms are still the best solution for disease prevention. Just preventing pregnancy is not enough.

  • Liz Grierson

    I love my IUD. I’m 38 however, and am done having kids. My OB/GYN made sure of this before she agreed to insert it, because she told me an IUD can cause uterine scarring that could make pregnancy difficult if I were planning on children later.

    I would never choose this for my daughter. Increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, risk of uterine puncture, risk of scarring/fibroids, etc.

    If it were up to me, I’d promote Depo Provera shots for teens instead.

  • Jane

    Well, I’m due in 2013, and I got pregnant with paragard in place, so it’s not a method I’ll be using again…

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  • M

    I hope this idea starts catching on with more parents in the future. It’s about time they start recommending IUDs for teen girls and I’ve already made up my mind that my daughters will be getting them when they become teens for all above reasons. No teen pregnancy under my roof and I don’t want them having kids until they’re well out of college or have their careers started. But I think it’s still important to teach girls to use condoms for STD protection even if they have IUDs.