Regardless of a patient’s age or previous sexual activity, obstetrician-gynecologists should routinely address contraceptive needs, expectations, and concerns, according to a new committee opinion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) Committee on Adolescent Health Care that addresses counseling adolescents about contraception. Among the ACOG recommendations:
- Statutes on the rights of minors to consent to health care services vary by state, and obstetrician–gynecologists should be familiar with the regulations that apply to their practice.
- Emergency contraception routinely should be included in discussions about contraception, including access issues. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that obstetrician–gynecologists write advance prescriptions for oral emergency contraception for their patients.
- Long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods have higher efficacy, higher continuation rates, and higher satisfaction rates compared with short-acting contraceptives. Because LARC methods are safe, they are excellent contraceptive choices for adolescents.
- Discussions about contraception should begin with information on the most effective methods first.
- Obstetrician–gynecologists should be aware of and be prepared to address the most common misperceptions about contraceptive methods in a way that is age appropriate and compatible with the patient’s health literacy.
Counseling adolescents about contraception. Committee Opinion No. 710. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol. 2017;130:e74–80.
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