Ask the Expert

Q: How do I talk to my doctor about birth control?


A: It can be a little embarrassing to talk to your pediatrician (who has taken care of you since you were a baby!) about sex. But their job is to take care of ALL of you, and sexual health is a very important part of your healthcare.


You also have the legal right to confidential care. Your doctor should start having part of the visit, when you are a teenager and during your annual check ups, without your parent in the room. If they do not, either request this or ask about seeing a different doctor. This time is protected, and any information you talk about should not be revealed to your parent or guardian, unless the pediatrician thinks that there is a threat to your safety (e.g., physical or sexual abuse).


You can ask your doctor any questions you have about your sexual health, including about birth control. If you feel comfortable, it can make things easier to include your parent/guardian(s) in this discussion. Although it might feel awkward initially, remember that your parent/guardian(s) want what is best and safest for you, and, if you choose to become sexually active, using methods to prevent pregnancy and STIs is certainly safest and best. However, you have the right to choose how to have this conversation - with or without your parent/guardian(s).


Dr. Diane Straub, Chief, Division of Adolescent Medicine & Professor of Pediatrics, USF Health and Medical Director, Ybor Youth Clinic

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