Knowledge concerning and attitudes towards emergency contraceptive pills among Hungarian women waiting for induced abortion

Knowledge concerning and attitudes towards emergency contraceptive pills

among Hungarian women waiting for induced abortion

B. Horváth (1,2), A. Turay (1,2), Sz. Kató (2)

Markusovszky Teaching Hospital, Szombathely, Hungary (1); University of

Pécs, Faculty of Health Sciences, Hungary (2)

Introduction: Unwanted pregnancy is common in Hungary, every third

pregnancy ends up in induced abortion.

Aims and Methods: To investigate knowledge about and attitudes towards

emergency contraceptive pills among women waiting for induced abortion. Survey

by self-administered anonymous questionnaires in the waiting room.

Results: The response rate was 86.4% (216/250). The mean age of the

participants was 27.5 years. 60.6% (131/216) answered that they had a permanent

partner. As many as 100 of 216 (46.3%) had a history of one or more previous

abortions. The corresponding figure among teenagers (518 years) was 26.9%

(n=58). 25% (54) of all did not use any form of contraception at the time of

intercourse lresulting in conception. All other women stated that they had used

various contraceptive methods. Women who were regular smokers had more provious

abortions (P=0.01) and a shorter education (P=0.001). The concept of the fertile

window was known by 51.9% (n=112). Only 35.2% (n=76) could not define the

fertile window. The facilitty of emergency postcoital contraception was known by

51.9% (n=112) of all women. More teenagers than women over the age of 18 had

heard of postcoital hormonal treatment. 58% of the participants were considering

preventing fertilisation by a pill while only 19.6% (22/112) had concise

knowledge about the ttime window of effectiveness. The duration of the

recommended time window was underestimated by 71.4, overestimated by 8.9% of

participants giving an answer at all; 48.1% of all participants (n=104) answered

‘I don’t know’. A higher proportion of women above 30 years declared that

they would have used postcoital contraception if they had known more about the

method than of younger persons (especially under 18 years of age) . More than

half of the women (52.8%) thought after completion of the questionnaire that

they would use emergency contraception in future. The commonest source of

information concerning postcoital contraception was friends (32.1%, n=36/112)

and the media (34.8%, n=39/112). Only 7.1% of responders assigned a positive

role in this issue to health care providers.

Conclusions: Unwanted pregnancy and induced abortion are common in

Hungary. Most responding women stated that they became pregnant incidentally,

without using effective contraception. Emergency contraception is generally

known but hardly used. The fundamental problem is that women do not have the

exact knowledge about the accessibility and appropriate application of these

preparations. Health care providers prescribe the medication only if requested.

New information strategies are needed. They should encourage women to keep

emergency pills in the bathroom cabinet or in their hand-bag like other


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