March 21, 2003
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.
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.
03.19.03; Alison McCook