Researchers at the Annual Meeting of the Society for
Adolescent Medicine in Seattle reported on Wednesday that teen
mothers given a supply of emergency contraception, also known as
the "morning-after pill," have fewer pregnancies and are no less
likely to use condoms.
The findings suggest that the morning-after pill may lower
the rate of unwanted pregnancies without raising the risk that
women will substitute the contraceptive method for others that
protect against STDs, said study author Dr. Marvin Belzer.
Belzer and colleagues at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles
provided 160 mothers ages 14-20 with a short educational program
on how to use and obtain emergency contraception. After the
program, one half of the girls received an advance supply of
emergency contraception, which they were told was refillable.
Before the study began, only 7 percent of study participants
said they had used emergency contraception. However, 85 percent
of the teens given an advance supply said they had used it during
the following six months. And only 7 percent of the women given
the morning-after pill said they had become pregnant six months
later. In contrast, pregnancies occurred in 18 percent of women
who did not receive an advance supply. Furthermore, six months
after receiving the pills, the teens "did not decrease their
condom use," Belzer said.
The authors concluded that despite fears that women who have
emergency contraception will forgo other birth control methods,
they found the two groups of teen mothers were just as likely to
use birth control and condoms after receiving information on the
morning-after pill as they were beforehand. Belzer and his team
noted that they support current recommendations that doctors
educate teen mothers about how to use and get emergency
contraception. Teen mothers should also be provided with an
advance supply when they seek family planning help, they added.
Back to other CDC news for March 21, 2003
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network.
It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.