May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month – a time to raise awareness and help teens understand pregnancy and make active choices to prevent and take control of their future. Teenage pregnancy is pregnancy in a female under 20 years old. Teen pregnancy comes with huge social and financial costs and creates immediate and long-lasting impacts on teen parents and their children.
The United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates. On top of that the rates among African American and Hispanic teens, that are between the ages of 15 and 19, are over two times higher than the rate of white teen girls in the same age group.
Still, teenage pregnancy has dropped 80% in United States over the last two decades.
Two of the main causes of teenage pregnancy are:
- Lack of information about sexual and reproductive health and rights.
- Inadequate access to services tailored to young people.
Recent reports show that the number of teen pregnancies in areas where long-acting revisable contraceptives (LARCs) are easily available have fallen.
What We Offer Teens
Through our Title X Discount Program teens may be able to get support for family planning services that they receive with us. Teens and adults may apply after receiving family planning services with us.
Our options for teenagers include the following:
Birth Control Pill
Must be taken at the exact same time every day. Can help with acne, PMS, painful periods, and heavy periods. There are many different pills on the market. Sometimes our women’s health provider, Erin Fink, says she, “hears that her patients think birth control pills cause side effects like weight gain, nausea, mood swings often it’s because it wasn’t the RIGHT PILL for you so switching pills and knowing what pills have or have not worked well help guide better decisions for future pills.”
This is an injection given every 12 weeks and usually you experience light, irregular periods and can help with heavy periods, painful periods. This one does have a weight gain side effect and can also make things like moodiness worse if you are prone to issues with your mood like depression or anxiety. However, you only have to receive this about this one once every 3 months.
Plastic flexible ring about the size of a small hair tie that can be inserted into the vagina by you for 3 weeks taken out for 1 week in which you may or may not get your period and then you place a new ring into the vagina. This is a great option for teens who don’t want to take a pill every day and only have to change it about it every 3 weeks! Partners with a penis will not feel it during intercourse but it can sometimes be felt with fingers. It can be used with condoms and we encourage condom use with it for protection against STDs and STI.
Good for 5 years, this causes light, irregular periods and in some women none at all. It does not have to stay in for 5 years and can be taken out at any time to switch methods or become pregnant. Insertion is crampy and uncomfortable but once the device is placed it should not be felt or painful.
Copper, non-hormonal and good for 10 years. This does not change your period so you would have a period whenever you normally have one on this method. However, not a great method for teens with a history of heavy or painful periods as the Copper can sometimes make menses heavier and more painful.
Our Title X Program can help teens afford and access birth control. We offer all the options above based on a teen’s income. If the teen does not have insurance or does not want to use their parent’s insurance to access contraception, they can let us know and we can have them fill out paperwork for Title X. As always, a teen’s contraceptive needs are considered confidential and an important part of their health and wellbeing.
To learn more about our women’s health services visit our Women’s Health Care page.