Parents play an important role in helping adolescents become healthy and happy adults
This info brief summarizes information about these types of birth control and other methods, such as condoms.
Parents are a trusted source of health information and can help prepare adolescents for developing healthy relationships and navigating challenges.
Talking regularly with your adolescent and paying attention to where they are and who they are with can help reduce unhealthy behaviors. Most youth report discussing health topics with parents, including sexual and reproductive health.
For these conversations to be effective, parents need to know about options to prevent unintended pregnancies, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including not having sex, and using condoms and birth control.
There are health services available for young people that can help prevent pregnancy, and it is important that parents know about these services.
Over the past decade, the percent of high school-aged adolescents having sex has declined, however, 57% are sexually active by 12th grade. The most effective methods of birth control are obtained from a healthcare provider.
What types of birth control methods are available for adolescents?
Many safe and effective birth control methods are available for adolescents who are sexually active or considering having sex.
They can choose the method that works best for them. These include:
Long-acting reversible contraceptives or “LARC” methods
Including intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the hormonal implant.
These methods are inserted by a healthcare provider and provide birth control for up to 3 to 10 years (depending on the method) without any required follow-up.
Short-acting hormonal methods
Including pills, mini pills, the patch, the shot, and the vaginal ring.
These methods are prescribed by a provider, and users must take action daily (pills), weekly (patch), monthly (ring), or every 3 months (shot) for them to work.
Including condoms, diaphragms, the sponge, and the cervical cap.
These methods must be used each time someone has sex. A healthcare provider must initially fit a diaphragm and give a prescription for a cervical cap, but otherwise these methods do not require a visit to the clinic.
Where can I get more information about birth control?
More details and information on additional methods are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website.
How Should Adolescents Choose a Birth Control Method?
Information from parents and healthcare providers can help adolescents decide which birth control method is right for them.
It is important to consider:
How well does it work?
Some birth control methods are more effective at preventing pregnancy than others. IUDs and implants are the most effective reversible methods currently available.
Is it easy to use?
Some methods are easier to use than others. For example, if it is hard to remember to take a pill every day, birth control pills may not be the best option.
What are the possible side effects?
A healthcare provider can explain potential side effects of methods and ensure that a method is safe given an adolescent’s overall health.
Does it prevent STDs?
Most contraceptive methods do not prevent STDs, so it is recommended that adolescents also always use condoms in addition to their primary birth control method for both STD and pregnancy prevention.
How much does it cost?
Most insurance plans, including Medicaid, fully cover most birth control methods. For those without health insurance, some clinics provide free or low-cost birth control.
What About Birth Control And STDs?
- Make sure your adolescent knows that even if they are using another type of birth control, they should use a condom every time they have sex. This reduces the risk for HIV and most other STDs.
- Birth control such as the IUD, implant, pill, patch, ring, or shot provides effective pregnancy prevention, but it does not protect against HIV and other STDs.
- Condoms can reduce the risk to both partners for most STDs, including HIV, as well as the risk for pregnancy.
- Getting tested for STDs is also important.