Aim: The aim of this study is to analyse the experience and practise of contraceptive methods, reasons for contraceptive failure and knowledge about emergency contraception among young women seeking abortion.
Methods: The interviewees were a group of women ranging from 16-20 years of age and who were coming for their first consultation for induced abortion. In the interviews the women were asked about contraception at the time of conception and whether they were using contraceptive methods consistently. They were also asked about previous experience with different contraceptive methods and advantages and disadvantages with these methods. Another important issue discussed with the women was whether or not they had been using emergency contraception in current and in previous situations and their knowledge of this method.
Results: Nine of the women had been using contraception during the time of conception, eleven had not. Of those using contraception six utilized OC and three utilized the male condom. The most common reason given for unwanted pregnancy during use of OC’s was that they kept forgetting to take the pills consistently. Two of the condom-users had experienced ruptured condoms. Eight of the nine users reported using contraception regularly.
Among the eleven non-users, six women were using contraception generally, utilizing the male condom. Five of the women in this group had recently stopped taking OC altogether. Stated reasons for this were experiences of side effects of the contraceptive, and “I didn’t think I would become pregnant”, others again gave no particular reasons.
We experienced that the women had good knowledge of emergency contraception but only one woman had been using it in current situation. Reasons for not using the emergency pill were that they didn’t think they would become pregnant. Fourteen women had been using the emergency pill at an earlier occasion.
Conclusion: The women in this study were using most frequently OC and condom. Even though their knowledge about contraceptive methods was rather good, there seemed to be little connection between their knowledge and actual use. Adolescent women tend to take more risks with little thoughts for possible negative outcomes. Another possibility may be that many of these women are not responsible enough to use contraceptive methods consistently. Other contraceptive alternatives could be a better solution for some of these women, for example the contraceptive ring, plaster or hormone injection or implants. Contraceptive counselling may be improved by including information about the most frequent reasons for contraceptive failure and unwanted pregnancy. Another important issue in counselling is the importance of using additional contraception if the primary contraceptive method has failed.