Table 3

Summary of themes* relating to reasons for changing contraception, across 1051 free text responses†

Both contraceptive and non-contraceptive (n=43)Relationship or sexual (n=93)Medical (n=117)Contraceptive (n=193)Non-contraceptive (n=428)
Because I don’t want babies just yet, and the pill helps my acne (#834122)Became sexually active (#811448)Because I was diagnosed with PCOS and went on the pill for it (#830983)Am now off the pill as I am scared of infertility (#827226)Because the Implanon made me gain too much weight (#836071)
I have started the pill for both contraceptive and painful periods (#884777)First had sex (#879448)Changed the brand of pill I use due to medical issues (#871198)After my abortion I have decided to be extra careful (#847125)Changed due to heavier periods, but acne got worse so changed back (#844168)
I tried the Mirena…it was terrible, I am unreliable with my pill taking and have problems with nausea (#828786)I had my first experience with vaginal sex last year, and since then I’m using condoms as contraception as well as the pill (#847339)Doctor recommended 30ED rather than 35ED (#809190)Changed from pill to Implanon - would often forget to take pill (#821740)I was on depo but was experiencing loss of libido, extreme mood swings and depression (#867340)
Period pain and pregnancy scare (#812346)I started to have sex with my boyfriend (#851592)Doctors told me to (#868386)Condoms to prevent pregnancy for now (#828518)The pill for my acne (#863702)
To get rid of acne and to have extra protection (#824027)Male request (#828810)I have stopped the pill. Increases risk for cancer (#820615)Had a pregnancy scare (#888220)Too many side-effects (#818264)
Used to have regular sex, and now am not, also want to see what stage my irregular bleeding is at now that I’m off the pill (#867996)Not having regular sex so have stopped the pill (#859800)Implant removed and not replaced as of yet due to illness (#819937)I already have a baby and don’t want another unplanned pregnancy (#843031)Had to change from regular pill for cost reasons (#807889)
Started the copper IUD, due to wanting an effective non-hormonal method, but strongly disliking condoms and not using them properly (responsibility of both me and my partner). Didn’t want to keep using withdrawal method (#877814)Stopped condom use with primary partner (#881210)Replacement of Implanon due to expiry (#886079)I kept forgetting to take the pill (#883285)I have decided to go back on the pill again after a 6 month detox (#856387)
Wasn’t on the oral pill for a while as they were causing headaches but have started again so it is ready for when I get married in February. We don’t want kids straight away as we are both going to be studying (#887938)Use protection when not in a relationship (#816683)To manage endometriosis (#873670)I stopped taking the pill because WE wanted to have another baby (#810621)Previous contraception had not worked, by causing heavy bleeding (#805801)
Went from the pill to the copper IUD. Was forgetting to take the pill. IUD is cheaper and doesn’t release hormones. The pill was giving me acne (#863889)Was in a relationship and was on the pill and when this relationship ended I stopped using the pill and started using condoms with casual partners (#882451)Trying to find a contraceptive pill that does not affect my depression as negatively (#876536)Stopped taking the pill 6 months ago in order to conceive (#856289)Stopped taking the pill to give my body a break from it (#810988)
Went off the pill due to weight gain/boyfriend moving away, started using condoms instead (#886652)Yes, just got into new relationship. No more Implanon. Trying pill (#848244)Taken off the pill by doctors due to heart conditions (#853851)Needed something more reliable than condoms (#863370)Trying to find the right pill for me (#846599)
  • *Extracts are presented underneath each theme.

  • †The sample numbers represented in the columns do not add up to 1051 because 177 responses were not coded – see Methods for more detail.

  • IUD, intrauterine device; PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome.