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Intrauterine devices recommended to prevent teen pregnancy

Medical organization suggests IUDs and contraceptive implants

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SAN ANTONIO – Most teenage girls don't want to get pregnant, and yet some do. A new recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests a different way to get them the protection they need.

The organization suggests intrauterine devices and contraceptive implants as more reliable forms of birth control.

Dr. Janet Realini from Healthy Futures of Texas said intrauterine devices and contraceptive implants should be the first line of defense for teenage girls who are sexually active. 

"They're low maintenance. They don't have to remember to take it every day or put in or take it out every month. It's something where the default is to be covered," said Realini.

In Bexar County, the teenage pregnancy rate is 1.5 times the national average. Realini said while it is declining, the new recommendations are a step in the right direction.

According to Planned Parenthood, IUDs are implanted in the uterus where they release small amounts of either copper or the hormone progestin.

The contraceptive implant, about the size of a matchstick, is inserted under the skin of the arm where it releases controlled amounts of progestin.

"It's a hormonal method that is very similar to birth control pills, it just works without fail almost for three years," said Realini.

Realini said while condoms and birth control pills are effective when people use them perfectly, IUDs and implants are a set-it-and-forget-it birth control.

U.S. teen pregnancy has been declining since it peaked in the 1990s. Experts believe the use of IUD contraceptives is a great tool to further the trend.