ACOG: Recommendations for Counseling Teens About Contraception

Ob-gyns should address contraceptive needs, expectations, and concerns, regardless of patient age
Ob-gyns should address contraceptive needs, expectations, and concerns, regardless of patient age

(HealthDay News) — Recommendations for counseling adolescents about contraception are presented in a committee opinion published in the August issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Karen R. Gerancher, M.D., from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) Committee on Adolescent Health Care discusses effective counseling regarding contraceptive options and provision of resources for adolescents.

The researchers note that the obstetrician-gynecologist should routinely address contraceptive needs, expectations, and concerns, regardless of a patient's age or previous sexual activity; they should also address common misconceptions about contraceptive methods in an age-appropriate way. Discussions about contraception should begin with information on the most effective methods; emergency contraception, including access, should be included in discussions. ACOG recommends that office procedures and routines should be established to safeguard the privacy of adolescent patients where possible. Obstetrician-gynecologists should address adolescents' right of refusal for initiating or discontinuing a method. An adolescent patient should not be forced to use a contraception method chosen by someone other than herself.

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"Contraception should be a conversation with patients as early as appropriate," Gerancher said in a statement. "When we're able to reach patients before they become sexually active, or early on in their sexually active life, we empower them to take control of their reproductive health, and prevent sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies that could permanently impact the future they've envisioned for themselves."

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