IUDs and implants are the best way to prevent pregnancy
IUDs are highly effective and safe long term, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The device is a small, T-shaped piece of plastic that is inserted into the uterus by a gynecologist and releases a steady stream of hormones into the body. The only downside is that they don't protect against sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and genital herpes, which is why it's important to also use condoms while engaging in sexual activity. An implant works similarly, except it is a small rod that is embedded into the underside of a patient's arm.
Recently, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists updated its guidance for teenagers to say that IUDs and implants should be "first-line recommendation" when it comes to contraceptives, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. This can eliminate the risk of pregnancy associated with inconsistent pill taking. So far, the patient reviews of the method are mixed.
"Some of them say, 'Great! Something that I don't have to think about.' Others are, like, 'Hmmm, something in my body?' It really varies," said Tina Raine-Bennett, M.D., a research director for women's health at Kaiser Permanente, who wrote the recommendations.
The best thing for doctors to do now is give their patients more information about IUDs and implants, so they can make an informed choice about their birth control method.