Chicago (AP) - Teenage girls may prefer the pill, the patch, or even wishful thinking, but their doctors should be recommending IUDs or hormonal implants - long-lasting and more effective birth control that you don't have to remember to use every time, the nation's leading gynecologists group said Thursday.
The IUD and implants are safe and nearly 100 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, and should be "first-line recommendations," the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said in updating its guidance for teens.
Both types of contraception are more invasive than the pill, requiring a doctor to put them in place. That and cost are probably why the pill is still the most popular form of contraception in this country.
But forgetting to take even one can lead to pregnancy, which is why the pill is sometimes only 91 percent effective.
An IUD, or intrauterine device, is a small, T-shaped piece of plastic inserted in the uterus that can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years. An implant is a matchstick-size plastic rod that releases hormones. It is placed under the skin of the upper arm and usually lasts three years.
The new guidelines don't tell teens not to use other methods, but "if your goal is to prevent a pregnancy, then using an implant or an IUD would be the best way to do this," said Tina Raine-Bennett, head of the committee that wrote the recommendations.
Copyright Associated Press 2012