Intended for healthcare professionals


The needs of older women are just as great

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 23 September 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:807
  1. Sarah Randall,
  2. Charles Lewis
  1. Consultant in family planning General practitioner Ella Gordon Unit, St Mary's Hospital, Portsmouth PO3 6AF

    EDITOR,--The contraceptive practices of, and reasons for contraceptive failure among 629 women attending an NHS unplanned pregnancy counselling clinic in Portsmouth were surveyed between September 1994 and February 1995. Our findings are similar to those of V A H Pearson and colleagues in Devon (table), although the mean age in our study was 25.2 years (range 14-40). Both these studies are in line with previous work showing a rising association between unplanned pregnancy and use of condoms.2 3

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    In our study the main reasons given by the 268 patients who were not using postcoital contraception were ignorance of the method (59 (22%)), the woman not thinking about it at the time of conception (72 (27%)), and the woman underestimating her fertility (86 (32%)). Our study included older women and shows that their needs are as great as those of teenagers. We also concluded that much more education of patients and the public is needed to increase use of postcoital contraception.


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