A guide to navigating teen contraception in Singapore

By: Osler Health International
Posted on: 8 Apr 2024

Teens may feel hesitant when discussing contraception and reproductive health with their parents. Nonetheless, it is imperative to ensure that they obtain proper advice and information, especially as they undergo significant physical changes during adolescence.

As a parent seeking guidance on educating your teen about these matters, it’s important to have access to reliable resources. We are here to provide you with the necessary information to help you support your teen as they navigate the complexities of reproductive health and contraception. Please know that our doctors are regularly sought for advice and guidance on teen contraception and adolescent health.

How to approach conversations about contraception with teenagers

Where and how to start educating teens on contraception?

1. Starting the conversation

Approaching the subject of contraception with teenagers can be daunting, however, it’s important to broach the topic with openness and empathy. You can start by choosing an appropriate time and setting where both you and your teen feel comfortable and free from distractions. Often conversations like this are best ‘side by side’ ie. on a walk or in the car, rather than facing each other. Foster an open dialogue by posing open-ended questions and actively listening to your teen’s responses. This approach not only makes teenagers feel valued and respected but also promotes a two-way conversation rather than a one-sided lecture.

2. Building trust and educating

Before you can effectively communicate about contraception and sexual health with your teen, it’s worth getting well-informed. Leverage your knowledge to educate your teen, addressing any misinformation they may have encountered from peers or media. It’s important to address myths and misconceptions about contraception in a factual and sensitive way.

3. Continuous dialogue

Conversations about sexual health should not be viewed as a one-time conversation but rather an ongoing dialogue that evolves as your teenager grows and their circumstances change. Make it clear to your teen that they can approach you at any time with questions, worries, or if they need advice about contraception or their sexual health.

Reinforce that your role is to support and guide them through their choices. Establishing this foundation of trust can encourage your teen to seek your counsel instead of turning to less credible sources.

What teenagers should know about contraception

It’s important for teenagers in Singapore to have a comprehensive understanding of the various contraceptive options available, such as:

  • Contraceptive pills: There are several types of birth control pills available, but the most commonly used are combined hormonal pills and progestogen-only pills. The combined pill contains two hormones that prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg monthly. On the other hand, the progestogen-only pill or mini pill works by changing the mucus at the entrance of the cervix so that the sperm cannot travel through to fertilise the egg.
  • Condoms: These are barrier methods of contraception that prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Condoms are the only method that also provides protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Educating teens on these options includes discussing how to properly use each contraceptive method and what to do in case of misuse or failure, such as a condom breaking or missing a pill.

Long-term and emergency contraception

Differentiating between long-term solutions and emergency contraceptive methods is another essential piece of knowledge for teens:

  • Long-term contraception: Methods like contraceptive implants, and injectable contraceptives fall under this category. They are designed for ongoing, regular contraception and require minimal daily management.
  • Emergency contraception: Also referred to as the morning-after pill, emergency contraception is intended for use after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. It is most effective when taken as soon as possible after the incident but can be used up to several days afterwards, depending on the type.

It is important to take note that the use of emergency contraception regularly is not advised. Instead, it should be reserved for exactly what its name suggests—emergencies.

Regular discussions about these distinctions can ensure that teens make informed decisions about their sexual health and minimise or prevent the misuse of these methods.

The role of healthcare providers in teenage reproductive health & contraception

Finding a trustworthy doctor for teenagers is recommended as they navigate the complexities of reproductive health and contraception. A knowledgeable healthcare professional from a private healthcare clinic in Singapore like Osler Health can offer guidance during this phase of a teen’s life. Whether it’s a GP or a private primary care doctor, they can provide essential, age-appropriate information on a range of topics, for example, on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If you’re ready to have that conversation with your teen, you can consult a healthcare provider like Osler Health to guide you through it.

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