Emergency contraception: the user profile

Adv Contracept. 1998 Dec;14(4):171-8. doi: 10.1023/a:1006604214517.


Emergency contraception (EC) has recently become available, accepted and widely used in Sweden but little is known about the characteristics and background factors of women requesting EC.

Methods: During a four-month period, consecutive women (n = 762) visiting family planning clinics to request emergency contraception filled out a questionnaire about their current need for EC.

Results: The user of emergency contraception was typically a nulligravid young woman (83%) but 13% had a previous history of at least one induced abortion and 41% had given birth in the past. One out of four had used EC before, and of these 20% more than once. Condom breakage was the major reason for the current need for EC but as many as 37% had not discussed the need for contraception prior to intercourse. Friends were the most important source of knowledge about EC.

Conclusion: Women requesting emergency contraception could be anyone and emergency contraception is used to compensate for contraceptive failure in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contraception / methods*
  • Family Planning Services
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Sweden
  • Time Factors