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Contraceptive choice for young people
  1. Rebecca Say, MBBS, BMedSci, Academic Clinical Fellow in Obstetrics and Gynaecology1 and
  2. Diana Mansour, FRCOG, FFSRH, Consultant2
  1. Northern Deanery, Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Hospitals Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  2. Newcastle Contraception and Sexual Health Services, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Diana Mansour, Graingerville Clinic, Newcastle General Hospital, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6BE, UK. E-mail: diana.mansour{at}newcastle-pct.nhs.uk

Abstract

Background and methodology Giving young women access to newer contraceptives such as the combined contraceptive patch, combined contraceptive vaginal ring and single-rod implant may help reduce teenage pregnancies. However, little is known about young people's attitudes towards these contraceptives. This cross-sectional survey, using a self-completion questionnaire, aimed to explore young people's attitudes towards these contraceptives in order to develop understanding of the choices they make about contraception. Participants were a self-selecting sample of young women attending contraception clinics in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Statistical analysis was carried out using appropriate univariate tests. Qualitative analysis involved identification of key themes, which were continuously challenged by looking for conformity and variation and by identifying disconfirming cases.

Results The majority of the 127 participants had no prior knowledge of the patch, vaginal ring or implant. Interest in using these contraceptives was low. Associations were found between their attitude towards using them and the participants' age, experience of pregnancy scares, experience of unplanned pregnancies and prior knowledge of the contraceptives. Six major themes emerged relating to the advantages and disadvantages of these contraceptives and included convenience, effectiveness, safety along with side effects, invasiveness and discretion.

Discussion and conclusions Young people's knowledge of and attitudes towards these contraceptives was variable and may have been influenced by experience and access to information. Themes identified from perceptions of these contraceptives are useful in developing understanding of what young people look for in contraceptives. Health professionals should provide information on these themes when assisting young people in making informed decisions about contraception.

  • combined hormonal patch
  • combined hormonal vaginal ring
  • long-acting reversible contraceptives
  • single rod implant
  • young people

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