Pediatricians Not Prepared to Provide Contraception

Last fall, the American Academy of Pediatrics for the first time recommended intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants as a first-line form of contraception for adolescents. At RMC, we know increasing access to these long acting reversible contraception, or LARCs, is the best way to reduce the rate of unintended pregnancy, teen pregnancy and abortion.  LARCs have higher upfront costs but are significantly more effective than other methods of contraception. Recent programs in Missouri and Colorado have shown a drastic drop in teen pregnancy and abortion after the provision of these family planning services to young people. Yet some medical professionals are now concerned they aren’t properly prepared to make this form of birth control available. Pediatricians specifically often lack training on the insertion of IUDs. While adult women can access family planning services through gynecologists, many teens still visit pediatricians, and a new study is showing many are not trained on this procedure. Experts say this will require a change  in medical school curriculums and during specialty residencies. Currently, many instructors who teach adolescent medicine themselves lack training in IUD insertion. A 2013 survey found that while 88% of ob-gyns offered IUDs or other LARCs, only 26% of pediatricians and internal medicine physicians offered the same. Physicians say it is going to take more training and more advocacy to make this a basic part of physician education.


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