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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

IUDs for Teenagers

To emphasize the "importance of appropriate contraception" for teenagers, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' (ACOG) Committee on Adolescent Health Care has issued an opinion (#392) that is strongly in favor of providing IUDs to adolescents.

In the opinion statement that addresses common misperceptions about teenagers' use of these devices as well as possible adverse effects and contraindications to use, the committee reviewed data on the safety and efficacy of the IUD and said: "Because adolescents contribute disproportionately to the epidemic of unintended pregnancy in this country, top tier methods of contraception including IUDs ..., should be considered as first-line choices" for them. "After thorough counseling regarding contraceptive options, health care providers should strongly encourage young women who are appropriate candidates to use this method."

In spite of this recommendation, we have heard from teens that their doctors will not provide them with IUDs, so teens may have to call a few doctors before they find one willing to insert an IUD.

Photo credit: Steve Rhodes
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.