Empirical evidence of the impact of contraceptive counselling and factors affecting women's contraceptive choices are limited. CHOICE (Contraceptive Health Research Of Informed Choice Experience) was a large-scale study in 11 European countries. Women in Austria aged 15-40 years considering a short-acting, reversible form of combined hormonal contraceptive were eligible to participate. The choices included the combined daily pill, weekly transdermal patch, and monthly vaginal ring. This study assessed and compared 2478 women's original preferences with their post-counselling choices and evaluated their perceptions and criteria for their choice. Women who were 'undecided' decreased from 18.1% pre-counselling to 3.2% post-counselling; significantly more women post-counselling chose the monthly ring (8.7% to 23.8%; difference 15.1%, 95% CI 13.3-16.8%; P<0.0001) or the weekly patch (6.2% to 7.8%; difference 1.7%, 95% CI 0.5-2.9%; P=0.0014). Women's primary reasons for choosing a method included 'easy to use' (daily pill, weekly patch and monthly ring) and 'still effective if I experience vomiting, diarrhoea' (weekly patch and monthly ring). Structured and balanced counselling led to changes in the method chosen.
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