Advanced provision of emergency contraception to postnatal women in China makes no difference in abortion rates: a randomized controlled trial

Contraception. 2005 Aug;72(2):111-6. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2005.02.004.


Emergency contraception (EC) prevents pregnancy, and it has been suggested that widespread use could reduce abortion rates; however, the use is limited. Providing EC in advance of need increases use, but there is no direct evidence that it reduces unintended pregnancy. In a randomized controlled trial of 2000 women after childbirth in Shanghai, all women not wishing to use hormonal contraception or an intrauterine device (IUD) were given a supply of condoms. Those in the intervention group also received three courses of mifepristone 10 mg with instructions for use as EC. Follow-up was by telephone at 16, 32 and 52 weeks. Over 88% of women in both groups completed 1 year of follow-up. Women with a supply of EC were more than twice as likely to use it, and to use it more than once (p<.001 for both) than women without a supply. There was no difference in pregnancy rates at 1 year (38/832 vs. 32/817). EC was not used in 89% of conception cycles, as women did not recognize the need for it. Increased use of EC may not reduce abortion rates.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • China
  • Condoms
  • Contraception Behavior*
  • Contraception, Postcoital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Intrauterine Devices
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned