I have a friend, Valerie, and she’s convinced the way to solve nearly all the problems in the world is to put our teen girls on Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC). Not familiar? Think IUDs and implants. I doubt I need to spell out the reasoning behind her theory – you’re a smart cookie and can probably figure out why she’s right.
You may be wondering if this is a healthy thing to do or if it encourages girls to have sex sooner. The answers are yes and no. It’s considerably safer for a girl to have an IUD or implant than to get pregnant and give birth or have an abortion (which is super safe, when it comes to medical procedures.) The American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommend IUDs as an A+ form of birth control for teen girls.
If you are worried about encouraging sex, well, they are going to have sex at some point and you, sweet parent, really have little or no control of her decision making about this. You are very influential, but ultimately the decision is hers to make.
Most LARCs cause the girl’s period to dry up or lighten up considerably, probably an even better side effect for a teenager (hell, for anyone of breeding age) than not getting pregnant. It is perfectly fine to not have a period for years at a time. Women all over the planet are pregnant and or nursing and don’t have their monthlies for ages and they are just fine.
If I had a daughter I would put her on birth control after she has her period for about a year and/or is 14 or 15. Radical? Maybe. I love the idea of establishing use of birth control as a normal and important part of her health care. And I am a super-fan of planned pregnancies, since we have more than enough of the other kind.