The encouraging news that teen pregnancy rates have been on the decline comes to us from the Journal of Adolescent Health. The amount of medically accurate information available for teens has increased. The conversation about what constitutes safe sex as well as the fact that some teens are simply waiting until later in life to engage in sexual activity also plays a role. The teens who are sexually active are getting better about using safe and effective contraceptive methods such as “the pill” to avoid pregnancy, as well as condoms to avoid sexual transmitted infections. Additionally, the stigma around talking about sexual activity has diminished, and the discussion of sex of all kinds has empowered teens to have more open discussions with their educators and partners.
National Survey of Family Health
Laura Lindberg, PhD and colleagues reviewed data between 2007 and 2012 from the National Survey of Family Health to see substantial declines in adolescent pregnancy and birth rates in the United States occurred between 2007 and 2012. They wanted to find out if sexual activity, contraceptive use, and contraceptive efficacy correlated to the declines in the pregnancy and birth rates during this time. It did.
The researchers found that the contraceptive behaviors of sexually active adolescents have driven the recent shifts in fertility outcomes. The increases in overall contraceptive use during sexual intercourse between the years 2007 to 2012 are part of a longer trend. Between 1995 and 2012, any method use at last sex among adolescent women increased from 66% to 86%, while use of multiple methods increased from 11% to 37% during this time.
Public policy and programs can play a critical role in supporting adolescent contraceptive use. Since contraceptive use is the critical driver of adolescent fertility, it is important to ensure adolescents’ access to comprehensive sexuality education that provides medically accurate information about contraception.
Our practice offers a variety of solutions to pregnancy prevention, which can be stopped or removed at the time our patients are ready to start a family. We support the entire lifecycle of women, and it all starts with a healthy young adulthood.
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