The Stigma of Teenage Pregnancy and the IUD


With teenagers surrounded by sexual imagery and liberal handouts of contraceptives, it is natural to assume that young people will have sex. Unfortunately, this has its own share of problems, such as the risks of sexually-transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancies.


To avoid it, enter a colourful array of contraceptives, such as the pill, the ring and the commonly-known condom. These all have their own fair share of “maybe nots”, but the alternatives are far worse.


On the 8th of April, researchers turned their interests towards a contraceptive known as an inter-uterine device (IUD), which they are now saying is one of the better and safer methods of preventing teenage pregnancies.


A typical IUD is a T-shaped device for women, which is inserted into the uterus. Held in place by the extended arms, it tends to be a long-lasting and reversible contraceptive. Usually made out of copper an, a non-hormonal IUD works by disrupting sperm mobility and damaging it before they can join with an egg. Copper is a natural spermicide, which increases levels of copper ions in the cervical mucus. The more that there is, the less mobility the sperm has and they are effectively destroyed.


The research challenges concerns about a harmful IUD that was removed in the 1970s that resulted in entropic pregnancy (a pregnancy that occurs outside of the womb) or pelvic inflammatory disease, but with such extensive research into contraception, there are doubts about a repeat-incident happening.


“Today’s IUDs are not the same as the ones that existed decades ago and are undeserving of the outdated stigma they carry,” study lead author Dr. Abbey Berenson, director of the university’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health, said in a university news release.


The appeal comes down to being cost-effective and years of not having to worry about birth control. With the rate of teenage pregnancies worldwide, the issue can be resolved in the simplest of means. According to the research, the complications of users aged 15 to 44 was below one percent. Additionally, the research suggested that teenagers were less likely to go through any problems.


Whilst the concept of contraception is a layered and (sometimes) complicated field, research into the best methods in reducing unwanted pregnancies and sexually-transmitted disease is a continuous flux of information. The risks of contraception have nearly vanished, but it is a far better thing to prevent something that will affect the rest of your life, rather than encounter a momentary stretch of discomfort.


For a teenager at least, their futures have only just begun – the best option is to keep that secure.


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