The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends routine counseling and advance emergency contraception prescription as a public health strategy to reduce teen pregnancy in the policy statement, “Emergency Contraception,” published in the December 2019 Pediatrics.
The policy statement notes that the United States, while experiencing a significant decline in teen birth rates over the past two decades, continues to have higher teen birth rates than other high-income countries. By age 19, approximately 2/3 of youth will have initiated sexual intercourse, according to research.
Most teenagers report first intercourse with a steady partner and consensual sex, but approximately 11 % of U.S. high school students report experiencing a forced sexual experience, ranging from kissing to forced intercourse. Despite the availability of hormonal and long-acting contraceptives, the contraception methods most commonly used by teens are condoms and withdrawal.
The policy statement provides information and data on the safety and efficacy of emergency contraception for use within 120 hours after unprotected or under-protected intercourse to reduce the risk of teen pregnancy. Emergency contraceptive methods include oral medication approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, which are levonorgestrel (LNG) or ulipristal acetate (UPA).
Other emergency contraception methods include “off-label” use of combined oral contraceptives, and insertion of a copper intrauterine device (Cu-IUD). Hormonal emergency contraception will not disrupt an established pregnancy and access to emergency contraception does not make it more likely that teens will engage in more sex or will be less likely to use condoms or other contraceptives, according to AAP.
Additional Information from HealthyChildren.org: