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Telephone or integrated contraception counselling before abortion: impact on method choice and receipt


Background Incorporating thorough contraception counselling into an abortion consultation is challenging. We compared contraceptive choices and methods received between two counselling models: (1) telephone counselling separate from the abortion consultation and (2) face-to-face counselling integrated into the consultation.

Methods We obtained de-identified data on demographic characteristics and contraceptive methods that had been chosen and received by women who had an abortion at British Pregnancy Advisory Service between 2011 and 2014 and had a choice of counselling models. We compared the characteristics of women who chose each model of counselling and the contraceptive methods they chose and received using Fisher’s exact test, and used logistic regression to explore associations between counselling model and choice and receipt of Tier 1 contraceptive methods (intrauterine contraception, implant, sterilisation), controlling for covariates.

Results The sample included 18 573 women. Women choosing telephone counselling were more likely to be non-White (34% vs 22%, P<0.001), to report prior difficulty obtaining contraception (40% vs 3%, P<0.001), and to have not used contraception at conception (37.1% vs 33.8%, P<0.001). Overall, 93% of women chose a contraceptive method after counselling. Telephone counselling was significantly associated with both choosing and receiving a Tier 1 method (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.66 to 1.96 and OR 1.60, 95% CI 1.42 to 1.71, respectively). Fewer women who had telephone counselling received a less effective method (eg, condom, diaphragm) compared with those who chose integrated counselling (6.0% vs 19.2%, P<0.001).

Discussion Telephone-based contraception counselling separate from the abortion consultation may serve some women better than integrated counselling, particularly those reporting past difficulty obtaining contraception.

  • abortion
  • contraception
  • counselling
  • telemedicine
  • telehealth
  • long-acting reversible contraception

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