The most recent study finds teen pregnancy on the decline in the city, and new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics may further drive those numbers down. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.
Teen pregnancy is not just a topic for 18-year-old Sabrina Carrasco. It's her reality.
"My sister is a teen parent, and you know, she didn't really have much knowledge about contraceptives with girls," Carrasco says.
That's why Carrasco welcomes the updated recommendations recently issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, on preventing teen pregnancy.
The organization says for adolescents who don't choose abstinence, the first choice of contraceptive should be a long-acting reversible contraceptive, such as an implant or an intrauterine device, or IUD. Once inserted, these methods can provide three to 10 years of contraception.
Dr. Uri Belkind is the director of adolescent medicine at Union Community Health Center in the Bronx.
"We know that certain methods that are less user-dependent and that can last longer work better to prevent pregnancy, particularly in adolescence," Belkind says.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth control pills have a failure rate of 9 percent, while male condoms have a failure rate of 18 percent. Both the IUD and the implant have a failure rate of less than 1 percent.
"What they do is, they either inhibit ovulation so that it's impossible to get pregnant or they can affect the way in which the sperm reach the egg," Belkind says.
While there can be side effects such as irregular bleeding, the AAP says both IUDs and implants are safer for teens than pregnancy.
"We've studied them for a long time, and we know that once the method is discontinued, the IUD removed or the implant is removed, then fertility comes back fairly fast," Belkind says.
While the new AAP report does not recommend condoms be the first line of choice when it comes to pregnancy prevention, it says condoms are still the first line of defense when it comes to the prevention of STDs.
The AAP also urges pediatricians to update patients' sexual histories, provide sex education and encourage abstinence.