Should pediatricians prescribe emergency contraception to teens who’ve had unprotected sex? A group of health experts believe so.
In a new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, doctors are being urged to not only talk to teens about emergency contraception, but also be ready to provide prescriptions in case their young patients have had unprotected sex or their birth control method fails.
“Pediatricians really need to talk about emergency contraception when talking to teenagers at the well-child visit,” said Cora Collette Breuner, MD, lead author of the paper and professor of pediatrics at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington, to Health.com. “They shouldn’t skirt around it. This is like talking about seat belts and texting-while-driving.”
Read Related: How to Talk to Your Teenagers About Sex
While the new policy emphasizes the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies is using proper birth control, it does recommend doctors to provide prescriptions of levonorgestrel and ulipristal, also known as “the morning-after pill.” These products do not terminate an existing pregnancy, but it can reduce the risk if used up to 120 hours (five days) after unprotected sex or birth control failure due to condom breakage, missed or late doses of hormonal birth control, as well as sexual assault.
The statement, which insists “adolescents are more likely to use emergency contraception if it has been prescribed in advance of need,” also says the purpose of the updated policy is to further encourage routine counseling as a means to reduce teen pregnancy.
The new recommendations have already garnered praise, especially for the potential benefits it can provide to the Hispanic community. Read the full article on FOX NEWS Latino.