Sexual Health news - Sexual Health and Behavior

Parents prefer their teens to use birth control pills and condoms

Whether or not parents are happy about their teenagers having sex, a new study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that they prefer that doctors offer birth control pills and condoms, as compared to more long-term contraceptive options like intrauterine devices (IUDs). In addition, collected data revealed that parents who respect their child's autonomy are more likely to accept the use of any kind of birth control method.

Researchers from the University of California at San Francisco surveyed more than 250 mothers and fathers who had a daughter between the ages of 12 and 17 over the phone on their thoughts about different contraceptive options. They found that almost 60 percent of parents preferred that their teen's doctor prescribed them birth control pills and encouraged condom use. Although participants were less likely to want healthcare providers to offer IUDs or implants, even short-term methods can prevent against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), unwanted pregnancies or both if condoms and pills are used in tandem.

"One reason parents may not accept [long-term] methods, the researchers surmised, is that parents might associate long acting contraception, like IUDs, with an ongoing sexual relationship," according to the study.

In addition, the researchers suggested that another reason why parents may not prefer IUDs is the case of the Dalkon shield, which was a device used in the 1970s that was found to be unsafe. Due to this, healthcare providers may want to educate parents about the current long-term contraceptive options, which are widely used and have been proven to be safe.

Parents' preference for birth control pills over IUDs wasn't the only significant finding of the research. The study's investigators reported that the reason parents accepted these contraceptive options was primarily because they recognized their daughters' autonomy. This indicates that more mothers and fathers accept that teens may engage in sexual activity.