SAGE Open Med. 2017 Sep 6;5:2050312117730244. doi: 10.1177/2050312117730244.

Contraceptive counseling among pediatric primary care providers in Western Pennsylvania: A survey-based study

Papas BA, Shaikh N, Watson K and Sucato GS


Objectives: Data suggest that adolescents in the United States receive inadequate contraceptive counseling. This study sought to determine factors affecting pediatricians' discussion of contraception with adolescent patients, with a specific focus on long-acting reversible contraception-implantable contraception and intrauterine devices.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was sent via email to a convenience sample of pediatric residents and pediatric primary care providers in Western Pennsylvania. Self-reported contraceptive counseling and prescribing practices in response to clinical vignettes were assessed.

Results: Of potential participants (287), 88 (31%) responded. Younger providers and providers who had received contraceptive training were significantly more likely to discuss long-acting reversible contraception methods. Discussion of contraceptive methods also varied by both the age and the sexual history of the patient.

Conclusion: Variation in contraceptive counseling potentially results in missed opportunities to counsel about and provide the most effective contraceptive methods. More uniform, universal provider training might alleviate some of these inconsistencies.

Comment: Even in a high income country like the US the information about contraception to adolescents is inadequate. We have to realize that young teenage girls often have sex and that during the first intercourse in many instances no contraception is used. When an adolescent girl comes to a health care provider, be it a pediatrician or other provider, one should always check the knowledge of and attitude towards contraceptives. (HMV)