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Gynecologists are on the front lines of helping teens avoid pregnancy. There are many things doctors can do to help teens understand how to prevent pregnancy and what to do if they think they could be pregnant. Here are some steps that gynecologists can take to support their teenage patients and help them make the right choices about their sexual health.

Create a Safe Zone

Teens who visit the gynecologist often have concerns that they are reluctant to discuss with their parents. If a teen visits the gynecologist with a parent or guardian, allow time in the appointment for a confidential conversation directly with the teen. If a teen visits without a parent, reassure her that your discussions are completely confidential. Give teens the opportunity to talk about birth control and STD testing without any fears of parents finding out. Teens who are worried that their parents will find out if they take birth control or think they could have an STD are less likely to ask for help.

A doctor trying to speak to a patient and calm her

Discuss All Aspects of Sexual Activity

For teens who are sexually active, discuss ways of being intimate that don’t include a pregnancy risk and carefully review all birth control options. Remind teens that having been sexually active doesn’t mean that they need to continue to be if it doesn’t feel like the right decision. If a teen is not sexually active, highlight the advantages of delaying sex. Remind teens about the steps they should take before becoming sexually active, such as making a decision about which birth control to use.

Provide Teens with Options

Teens aren’t excluded from taking any kind of birth control because of their age, so discuss all appropriate pregnancy prevention methods with them. Make sure teens understand their options if they do become pregnant, including abortion.

At Washington Surgi-Clinic, our gynecologists provide completely confidential care to patients of all ages. Whether you think you need STD treatment or need help choosing a birth control method, make an appointment with a gynecologist in Washington, D.C . today by calling (202) 659-9403.