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Awareness of emergency contraception: a follow-up report
  1. Melanie Fitter, MBChB, GP Specialty Trainee and
  2. Rennie Urquhart, MBChB, FRCOG, Consultant
  1. Community Gynaecology Clinic, Forth Park Hospital, Kirkcaldy, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Melanie Fitter, Community Gynaecology Clinic, Forth Park Hospital, 30 Bennochy Road, Kirkcaldy KY2 5RA, UK. E-mail: melfitter{at}


Background and methodology This study aimed to ascertain whether recent campaigns aimed at increasing awareness and use of progestogen-only emergency contraception (POEC) have been effective, by comparing the understanding and awareness of POEC in those attending the termination of pregnancy (TOP) clinic in 2006 to an earlier cohort studied in 2003. Questionnaires were handed to all women attending the TOP clinic during a 4-week period in September/October 2006. Questionnaires were collected before women left the clinic.

Results All women (n = 77) attending the clinic received questionnaires; 72 were returned. Most (96%) of the women were familiar with POEC, compared with 78% of the 2003 cohort. 79% of the women felt confident about the ease of availability of POEC compared to 60% in 2003. More (51%) had used POEC in the past compared with 37% of the 2003 group. Only 46% knew the correct time limit for effectiveness of POEC compared to 59% in 2003. Time limit awareness was lower among the 16–20-year-old age group compared to the 21–25-year-old group. Most respondents (89%) said that they would consider using POEC in the future.

Discussion and conclusions Awareness and use of POEC have improved since 2003 but accurate knowledge has not. There is confusion regarding the correct time limit for effectiveness of POEC, especially amongst the 16–20-year-old age group. Public awareness campaigns appear to have been effective in increasing awareness and availability of POEC in Fife, Scotland. More emphasis is needed on the appropriate and effective use of POEC, especially targeted to the 16–20-year-old age group.

  • education techniques
  • emergency contraception
  • POEC
  • public awareness

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