Use of Contraception and Attitudes towards Contraceptive Use in Swedish Women--A Nationwide Survey

PLoS One. 2015 May 20;10(5):e0125990. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0125990. eCollection 2015.


Objective: To describe contraceptive use and attitudes towards contraceptive use in Sweden which has the highest abortion rate in Western Europe. Secondary objectives were to investigate knowledge of contraceptive methods and outcomes of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies.

Design: Telephone survey.

Setting: National survey of women living in Sweden.

Population: Women between 16 and 49 years.

Methods: The survey contained 22 questions with free text and multi choice answers on demographics, contraceptive use, knowledge of and attitudes towards contraception, the importance of monthly bleeding and experience of unintended pregnancy.

Main outcome measures: Distribution of use of contraceptive methods and non-use of contraception among Swedish women. Prevalence and outcome of unintended pregnancies.

Results: A total of 1001 women participated in the survey. Of all women, 721/1001 (72.1%) currently used contraception whereas 268/1001 (26.8%) women did not. Long acting reversible contraception, (LARC; implant and intra uterine contraception) was used by 24.3% of women. The unmet need of contraception in Sweden was estimated at 8.9% (89/1001 women). A total of 781 (78%) women had never experienced an unintended pregnancy whereas 220 (22%) women had had at least one unintended pregnancy. Users and non-users alike stated that one of the most important characteristics of a contraceptive method is its effectiveness.

Conclusions: Sweden has a large unmet need for contraception. Furthermore, a large proportion of women have experienced at least one unintended pregnancy. Increasing contraceptive use and promotion of LARC is a possible way forward in the effort to reduce the rates of unwanted pregnancies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contraception / psychology*
  • Contraception Behavior / psychology*
  • Contraceptive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned / psychology
  • Pregnancy, Unwanted / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptive Agents

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/M9.FIGSHARE.1295454

Grants and funding

This study was funded by MSD Sweden. MSD Sweden contributed with knowledge on Telephone surveys but has no influence on the questions asked, analysis or interpretation of results.