Attitudes toward long-acting reversible contraception among young women seeking abortion.J Womens Health (Larchmt) 2011; 20(11):1729-35JW
Use of long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods can reduce rates of unplanned pregnancy and abortion, but for a range of reasons, these methods are underused by young women. A third of women seeking abortion return for a subsequent abortion during their reproductive years and could benefit from using effective long-acting methods. We aimed to explore the attitudes of women seeking abortion toward contraception, with a focus on long-acting methods.
Thirty women aged 16-25 (of Maori, Pacific Island, and European ethnicities) were recruited at a public hospital abortion clinic to participate in a semistructured interview. Participants were asked about past use of contraception, their understanding of pregnancy risk, reasons for method choice; and views on long-acting methods. Qualitative data were analyzed using thematic content analysis.
There was a lack of prior knowledge about LARC methods (particularly intrauterine devices [IUD] and implants). Once information was provided, these methods were generally viewed favorably. Cost was a key factor in contraceptive choice, prohibiting choice of the Mirena® levonorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) or an implant for many women. Other important factors that determined method use and choice were familiarity with methods, whether or not they contained hormones, likely effect on periods, and other side effects.
Access issues relating to LARC methods (including cost and awareness) need to be urgently addressed. When discussing postabortion contraceptive options, women would benefit from simple explanations about LARC: their appropriateness for women of all reproductive ages, reversible nature, mechanisms of action, impact on menstruation, and other potential side effects.