This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics published its recommendation for sexually active teenage girls to choose Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) to avoid pregnancy. That's right, IUDs as a best option to prevent pregnancy was published in a pediatrics journal. Kids. Babies. Using IUDs. Look, I know teens are going to have sex, but an IUD is just a bad idea for a young girl. It won't be happening with any of my three daughters.
This isn't about being anti-sex or not having realistic attitudes about teenage behavior. Access to birth control should be as free from obstruction as possible. I only say these words against kids and IUDs as a mother giving an opinion. It should be up to other families and their doctors to make their own decisions. Important distinction! Get that birth control, America.
Now, on to trashing IUDS . . .
1. IUDs require monitoring that I do not trust a minor to execute. The inner workings of vaginas are abstruse. It's the Bermuda Triangle in there. It's like a mythical tunnel leading to Oz for all I knew before I was 30. After giving birth three times and having sex for 15 years I can map the landscape, but there's no way I could have located my cervix and monitored an IUD string in high school.
My friend, who was pregnant with her fourth baby, didn't even know we had a separate pee hole until she saw season two of Orange Is The New Black. I know, it's so antifeminist to say our vajays are puzzling, but you can't see them! You know what else is a mystery like that? The foundation under my house. I'm not saying vaginas are bad, they're just . . . not easily mastered by young people. Maintaining an IUD is senior-level birth control.
2. IUDs do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases. The goal is to get kids wearing condoms so they don't get pregnant or spread diseases around. Two goals. There is no abortion for HIV. I'd rather my daughter came to me and said she was pregnant than tell me she contracted HPV that can lead to cervical cancer which can lead to infertility. I may not want to be a grandma at 40, but I'd like the job eventually.
3. Getting an IUD hurts! IUDs are notorious for causing cramps and/or ovarian cysts that can burst and cause major abdominal spasms. A few days after I got my Paraguard I thought I was in labor again. I had just had my third baby six weeks before and I was in the exact same pain. At least with labor I got a baby out of the deal. With the IUD I just get . . . nothing? A baby-free life I guess? It's kind of an anti-climactic (pun!) reward system.
IUDs are supposed to get more comfortable after each baby. A teenage girl is going to howl like a poltergeist as that thing settles in. It hardly seems fair that she has to go through that and won't even be really enjoying sex until her 20's anyway. It's all for the guy, isn't it? No thanks on that bullshit.
4. IUDs themselves can cause permanent damage and infertility. Sure, it's uncommon, but so is being a redhead. IUDs can perforate the uterus or cause uterine scarring. Imagine your daughter never having a baby because of a decision she made under your care.
Also, IUDs can migrate to other areas of the body. You'll just be like, living your life, la-dee-dah, and the next thing you know it comes unhinged and is floating around your spleen or your eyeballs or something and leaving the goal wide open for bay bays. (Note, this is the internet so I have to say things like, "not really in your eyeballs". The rest of your abdominal cavity requiring surgery to remove? Yes.)
Governor Pat Quinn had the Illinois budget in mind when he encouraged doctors to prescribe the IUD, citing the tax dollars that are currently spent on single moms, but he sure didn't have any young girls of his own on the brain. As for the good people at the American Academy of Pediatrics, yay for the progressive research on preventing pregnancy in minors but I'll pass on the option for my own kids.
IUDs for my daughters? Nope.
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