Teen Pregnancy Prevention Tips

While sex education programs are often available in schools, parents remain the best teachers for their children regarding the prevention of pregnancy. Here are some tips for initiating the “sex talk”:

Maintain Open Communication

Foster an atmosphere of open communication throughout your child's life. Be a parent that your teen can talk to without fear of yelling or repercussion. Ask questions about your child's life, and give honest answers to her questions. Do not give your daughter the perception that you feel she is perfect, as this can cause her to avoid telling you about her imperfections. See your child and yourself as good people who occasionally get things wrong but learn from it.

Discuss Your Expectations

Discuss your expectations for your child. While saying that you expect your daughter to become a doctor is not appropriate, saying that you expect your child to graduate high school and consider going to college is fine. Encourage goal setting and follow up on personal achievement. According to the University of California, having strong educational and career plans helps prevent teen pregnancy.

Discuss Sex and Healthy Relationships

"The talk" should actually be dozens of talks, spread out from early childhood through adulthood for both sexes. Discuss healthy sexual relationships and why it is important to wait until she is mature enough to engage in sex and deal with its consequences. Some girls have a glamorized view of pregnancy and intentionally become pregnant before they are prepared.

Talk about the basics of birth control and your feelings on abstinence. Discuss appropriate boundaries and why the teenage years are the time to learn about sharing nonphysical intimacy with others. Make it clear that abusive relationships are always to be avoided, no matter how much she loves someone. Discuss how healthy people do not pressure others to engage in activities they are not ready for. Engage your child in conversations about the ramifications of pregnancy and the enormous responsibility of raising a child. Relate sex to love, intimacy, caring and respect for one’s self and one’s partner.

Encourage Good Health Care

Take your child to the physician for regular appointments. Once your child is a teen, ask him/her if they would like you to wait in the lobby or stay with them throughout the visit. Ensure that the move from medical care as a child to medical care as an adult, is a seamless transition.

Know Who Your Child Is Dating

You should know well your child's friends and whom she is currently dating. The Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting reminds parents that a child's friends have a large amount of influence on her behavior.

Set Limits

It is important to set limits for teens. This gives your child a compass to go by and an excuse when pressure strikes. Know where your teen will be, and with whom. Be alert for large amounts of time spent alone with a love interest. While this is a normal part of growing up, it is helpful if most of that time is supervised.

More Considerations

If you are not the parent of a teen, but you are interested in teen pregnancy prevention, become involved as a mentor. Promote healthy activities for teens and ensure that birth control and abstinence information are available for adolescents in your community.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/91447-teen-pregnancy-prevention-tips/

Barrier Methods: Devices

Barrier or device methods of contraceptives are physical or chemical barriers designed to stop sperm from entering a woman's uterus.

Male Condom

The male condom is a tube of thin material (latex rubber) that is rolled over the erect penis prior to contact with the vagina. The male condom is the most common barrier method.

  • Advantages of using a male condom:

    • The condom is the best method for reducing the risk of STIs and for those who choose to have intercourse.
    • Allows men to share responsibility for pregnancy prevention and protection against STDs.
    • Can be easily obtained and does not require a prescription.

  • Disadvantages of using a male condom:
    • Some people are allergic to latex. Polyurethane condoms can be used as an alternative.
    • Some individuals argue that condoms reduce sensitivity and pleasure during intercourse.
    • Condoms may break if they are put on incorrectly.
*Note: The Female and Male condom should not be used together.

Female Condom

The female condom is a seven-inch long pouch of polyurethane with two flexible rings and is inserted into the vagina prior to intercourse. The female condom covers the cervix, vaginal canal, and the immediate area around the vagina.

  • Advantages of using a female condom:
    • Can be purchased at grocery and drugstores without a prescription from a doctor.
    • Insertion is easy once the technique is learned.
    • Stays in place even when a man loses his erection, unlike the male condom.
    • Allows the woman to take responsibility and protect herself against STIs, STDs and pregnancy.
  • Disadvantages of using a female condom:
    • The condom may slip into the vagina during intercourse.
    • The outer ring may irritate the female's vagina/vulva.
    • The inner ring may irritate the male's penis.
    • Some argue that the feeling/pleasure from intercourse is reduced or that it is noisy, which means more lubrication is needed.

Spermicides

Spermicides are chemicals that are designed to kill sperm. Spermicide chemicals are available as foam, jelly, foaming tablets and vaginal suppositories.

  • Advantages of Spermicides:
    • Spermicide is easy to obtain and can be purchased in drugstores and supermarkets.
    • No prescription or fitting is required.
    • Insertion of spermicide is easy once the correct technique is learned.
    • It protects against pregnancy
  • Disadvantages of Spermicides:
    • Spermicide is easy to obtain and can be purchased in drugstores and supermarkets.
    • No prescription or fitting is required.
    • Insertion of spermicide is easy once the correct technique is learned.
    • Spermicide may protect against certain STIs including gonorrhea and chlamydia, but it DOES NOT protect against others, such as HIV and herpes.

Contraceptive Sponge

The contraceptive sponge is a soft saucer-shaped device made from polyurethane foam.

  • Advantages of using the contraceptive sponge: 
    • The sponge protects for 24 hours and multiple acts of intercourse during that time.
    • The sponge does not require a prescription. You can purchase it at the grocery or drugstore.
    • Protects against pregnancy

  • Disadvantages of using the contraceptive sponge:
    • The sponge must not be left in the vagina for more than 30 hours or you run the risk of toxic shock syndrome.
    • The contraceptive sponge DOES NOT protect against STIs, STDs, or HIV.

Diaphragm

The diaphragm is a soft rubber dome stretched over a flexible ring; the dome is filled with a spermicidal cream or jelly. The diaphragm is inserted into the vagina and placed over the cervix no more than 3 hours prior to intercourse.

  • Advantages of the Diaphragm:

    • The diaphragm is often not felt by either partner during sex.
    • The diaphragm is easier for women to learn to insert and remove than a similar contraceptive device.
  • Disadvantages of the Diaphragm:

    • If the diaphragm is left inside the vagina for more than one day (24 hours), the female runs the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a serious bacterial infection.
    •  Mild allergic reactions to the rubber or spermicide occasionally occur.
    • The diaphragm protects against certain STIs, including gonorrhea and chlamydia, but DOES NOT protect against others such as HIV and herpes.
    • It protects against pregnancy

Cervical Cap

The cervical cap is a small cup made of latex rubber or plastic. The cervical cap is filled with a spermicidal cream or jelly and inserted into the vagina and placed over the cervix.

Advantages of the Cervical Cap:

    • Unlike the diaphragm, the cervical cap protects against pregnancy for two days (48 hours) and for multiple acts of intercourse within that time frame.
    •  When placed appropriately, the cervical cap is often not felt by either partner during sexual intercourse.
    • It protects against pregnancy

Disadvantages of the Cervical Cap:

  • The cervical cap is more difficult for women to learn to insert and remove than the diaphragm.
  •  If worn for more than two days (48 hours) you run the risk of:
    •         Toxic shock syndrome
    •         Unpleasant vaginal odor
    •         Unpleasant vaginal discharge
  • Mild allergic reactions to the rubber or spermicide occasionally occur
  • Cervical caps must be fitted by clinicians and purchased from a drugstore or clinic.
  • The Cervical Cap protects against certain STIs, including gonorrhea and chlamydia, but DOES NOT protect against others such as HIV and Herpes.

Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills (BCPs) are taken daily as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

  • Advantages of using birth control pills:
    • Highly effective reversible contraception. Birth control pills provide highly reliable contraceptive protection, exceeding 99%. Even when imperfect use (skipping an occasional pill) is considered, the BCPs are still very effective in preventing pregnancy.
    • Menstrual cycle regulation. Birth control pills cause menstrual cycles to occur regularly and predictably. This is especially helpful for women with periods that come too often or too infrequently. Periods also tend to be lighter and shorter.
    • Reduce menstrual cramps. Birth control pills can offer significant relief to women with painful menstrual cramps.
    • Decreased risk of iron deficiency (anemia). Birth control pills reduce the amount of blood flow during the period. Less blood loss is helpful in preventing anemia.
    • Reduce the risk of ovarian cysts. The risk of developing ovarian cysts is greatly reduced for birth control pills users because they help prevent ovulation. An ovarian cyst is a fluid - filled growth that can develop in the ovary during ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary).
  • Disadvantages of using birth control pills:
    • Heart attack. The chances of birth control pills contributing to a heart attack are small unless you smoke. Studies have shown that smoking dramatically increases the risk of heart attack in women age 35 years or older, which is why pills are generally not prescribed to women in this age group who smoke.
    • Blood pressure. Women taking birth control pills usually have a small increase in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, although readings usually remain within the normal range. Blood pressure should be closely monitored for several months after women start taking oral contraceptives, and followed yearly thereafter.
    • Migraines and stroke. Women who take oral contraceptive and have a history of migraines have an increased risk of stroke compared to nonusers with a history of migraine.
  • Headaches may start in women who have not previously had headaches, or can get worse in those who do.
    • Depression (sometimes severe) and other mood changes may occur.
    • Nausea and vomiting. This side effect usually goes away after the first few months of use or can be prevented by taking the pill with a meal.
    • Breast tenderness. Your breasts may become tender or may get larger. Breast tenderness is relatively common during the first month of BCPs and uncommon thereafter.
    • Breakthrough bleeding or spotting. Spotting or bleeding between menstrual periods is very common in the first cycle of pills or if pills are missed or taken late.
    • Decreased enjoyment of sex. Some women experience a decreased interest in sex or a decreased ability to have orgasms.

The Birth Control Shot

The Birth Control Shot is an injection given by your health care provider that prevents pregnancy for three months.

  • Advantages of using the shot:
  • Disadvantages of using the shot:
    • Using the birth control shot for 2 or more years can cause bone loss, which may not be fully reversible after stopping the medicine. This concern may be greatest during the teen years, when young women should be building bone mass.
    • Often causes irregular spotting
    • Causes slight weight gain
    • Fertility may not return for 6 to 8 months after stopping the medicine
    • May decrease levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol
    • Provides no protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
    • May increase the risk of chlamydia or gonorrhea infection among women who are sexually exposed to these bacteria

NuvaRing/Vaginal Ring

NuvaRing, or vaginal ring, is a flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina for three weeks, removed for one week, and then replaced with a new ring. The ring releases estrogen and progesterone into your body.

  • Advantages of using this method:

    • Using the vaginal ring is safe, simple, and convenient. There is nothing to do right before having sex. Some women say it improves their sex lives because it helps them feel more spontaneous
    • Many women who use the vaginal ring have more regular, lighter, and shorter periods. And a woman’s ability to become pregnant returns quickly when use of the ring is stopped
  • Disadvantages of using this method:

    • bleeding between periods
    • breast tenderness
    • nausea and vomiting
    • NuvaRing may also cause more long-lasting side effects. It may cause increased vaginal discharge, vaginal irritation, or infection. The hormones in NuvaRing may change a woman’s sexual desire

Ortho Evra Patch/Birth Control Patch

The birth control patch is placed directly on the skin with the hormones built into the sticky side of the patch.

  • Each week for the first three weeks a patch is placed on the hip, buttocks or upper arm.
  • The fourth week you are free from the patch allowing for a menstrual period.

  • Advantages of using the Patch are:
    • It has a very low failure rate
    • It regulates menstrual bleeding and reduces the chances of anemia
  • Disadvantages of using the patch are:

    • The birth control patch may be ineffective in women weighing more than 198 lbs.
    • It may result in allergic skin reactions especially in women with sensitive skin.
    • Initial spotting, breast discomfort and headaches are more common in patch users than those taking oral contraceptives.
    • Since the user is exposed to higher levels of estrogen than in an oral contraceptive pill, chances of blood clots are higher.
    • It reduces premenstrual symptoms and pain associated with menses
    • It helps to treat acne
    • It lessens a woman’s risk for ovarian and uterine cancer as well as ovarian cysts and pelvic inflammatory disease
    • The patch particularly benefits adolescent patients. Women of this age group often opt for oral contraceptives but forget to take pills regularly and experience failure of contraception.

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

The IUD is a small plastic device containing copper or hormones and is inserted into the uterus by a medical professional.

The IUD does not stop the sperm from entering into the uterus, but rather it changes cervical mucus decreasing the probability of fertilization and it changes the lining of the uterus preventing implantation should fertilization occur.

  • Advantages of using the IUD:

    • More than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy
    • Most cost-effective method of birth control over time
    • Easy to use
    • Does not require interruption of foreplay or intercourse
    • Does not require cooperation of sexual partner
    • Safe to use while breast-feeding
    • Can be removed whenever you have problems or want to stop using it. Fertility returns with the first ovulation cycle following IUD removal.
    • Hormonal IUD can relieve heavy menstrual bleeding and cramping in most women
    • Copper IUD can be used for emergency contraception within 5 days of unprotected intercourse
    • Can be inserted after a normal vaginal delivery, a cesarean section, or a first-trimester abortion

  • Disadvantages of using the IUD:

    • Costs several hundred dollars for insertion. (This cost may be covered by your health insurance. Some community clinics may offer insertion and removal at a reduced rate or free to low-income clients.) If the IUD is expelled, it costs just as much to get a new one. Having an IUD removed is also costly. However, if an IUD is used for 5 years or longer, it is the most cost-effective form of birth control.
    • Only a health professional can remove the IUD. Never attempt to remove the IUD yourself or allow a partner to try to remove it.
    • Does not provide protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or HIV. (A condom is needed for STI protection.)
    • When inserted, can spread a genital infection into the uterus, leading to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in the first months after insertion. This is why you are screened for STIs before getting an IUD

Withdrawal: (THIS IS THE LEAST EFFECTIVE BIRTH CONTROL METHOD)

Withdrawal is the process of removing the penis from the vagina prior to ejaculation.

How do you use withdrawal?

  • The responsibility belongs to the man. He pays attention to stimulation and seeks to withdraw his penis prior to ejaculation.
  • Typical use of withdrawal, which is how most people use it, has a failure rate of approximately 18-19%. You should take a pregnancy test if you are experiencing any pregnancy symptoms

How effective is withdrawal?

  • Advantages of the Withdrawal Method:
    • Withdrawal can be used every time
    • Withdrawal may be added to other forms of birth control to increase effectiveness
    • Withdrawal is free
    • Withdrawal does not require a prescription or manipulation of some mechanism
  • Disadvantages of the Withdrawal Method:
    • Withdrawal is not considered the most reliable form of birth control
    • The woman must have complete trust on the man's ability to withdraw
    • Pre-ejaculation, which may contain sperm, occurs withut the knowledge of the man
    • Some men have difficulty timing their withdrawal