Talk About Birth Control

Birth control pills and condoms most approved by parents for their kids

(RxWiki News) Mom, what do you think about "the pill?" Whether or not kids ask their parents about birth control, parents certainly have their opinions.

A recently published study found that birth control pills and condoms are the most accepted forms of birth control by parents.

Parents' beliefs on birth control can affect how their children learn and accept birth control methods since parents are "an important, and often an overlooked, partner in efforts to prevent adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections," according to researchers.

"Parents, read up about STIs."

The study, led by Lauren Hartman, MD, from the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, included 261 parents and guardians with adolescent daughters between 12 and 17 years of age.

Parents were surveyed between August 2010 and October 2010 on how they viewed seven different birth control methods, including condoms, intrauterine devices (IUDs), the "morning-after pill" or emergency contraception, and oral contraception, more commonly referred to as "the pill." 

Researchers examined how parents' level of acceptability was linked with their child's likelihood of having sex.

Parents' sexual health as teens, knowledge of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), parenting beliefs and demographics were also taken into account.

The pill had the highest level of acceptability at 59 percent, according to researchers, followed by condoms at 51 percent.

The least accepted was the intrauterine device at 18 percent, although the IUD and other implants are more effective than other methods, according to researchers.

"We also found that parents who perceived their teens as likely to have sex were more accepting of only condoms and emergency contraception, despite our prediction that this variable would increase acceptance of all contraceptive methods," researchers wrote in their report.

"Possibly, parents may associate these methods with a single episode of sex rather than condoning an ongoing sexual relationship, which would require a more permanent contraceptive method."

Researchers also found that parents' knowledge of STIs was poor.

In addition, slightly more than half the parents felt it was acceptable for doctors and clinicians to provide condoms to their sexually active teens.

The authors noted that their research was part of an overarching study on confidential health services and did not look in depth into parents' understanding of the different contraceptive methods.

Researchers said that future research looking into facilitators and barriers of sexual health communication is needed.

The study, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, was published in the February issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Review Date: 
February 14, 2013