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Australian Women Encouraged to Know their Contraceptive Options

According to a new survey of over a thousand women aged 18-27 years, almost one in five had experienced an unintended pregnancy.1

While just over one third would welcome the event, most women (62%) would find this more stressful than losing their job, losing all their savings or breaking up with their partner.1

Leading experts say the ongoing issue of unintended pregnancies amongst Australian women highlights the need for more education around contraception choice.2,3

According to Relationship Expert Dr Nikki Goldstein, young women need to make smarter, more informed decisions around their choice of contraception, starting with a better understanding of all options available to them.4

The national survey of 1,000 Australian women aged 18-27 years, conducted by Galaxy Research and commissioned by MSD Australia, found the incidence of unintended pregnancy increased with age with one in four women aged 22-27 experiencing an unintended pregnancy compared with only 1 in 20 in women aged 18-21 years.

However, the majority of respondents aged 22-27 years were 20 per cent more likely to have used contraception compared to those aged 18-21 years, suggesting a lack of knowledge in effective conceptive options among this age group.1

Current priorities and life goals of respondents included buying their own home (71%) and travel (68%).1 However, whilst many identified starting a family as a future life goal, only 13 per cent wanted to have children in the next three years.1

“Understanding your priorities and planning can help as you pursue your goals, and those priorities may or may not include starting or growing a family,” said Dr Goldstein.

“As a relationship expert, I encourage women to be more informed and to know what form of contraception is best going to suit their lifestyle. That’s why I support today’s launch of which has been designed to help people learn more about what contraception method is right for their personal circumstances,” continued Dr Goldstein.

Survey participants said that they expected their contraception to provide:

• Peace of mind – 77 per cent
• Control – 65 per cent
• A sense of security – 63 per cent
• Reassurance – 60 per cent.1

In assessing contraceptive usage, the pill (69%), condoms (66%), and the morning after pill (31%) were the most common forms of contraception used in young women.1

Just 14 per cent have used a contraceptive implant, 6 per cent a contraceptive injection, 3 per cent an intrauterine device, 1 per cent a contraceptive ring and less than 1 per cent a diaphragm.1

Dr Deborah Bateson, Medical Director of Family Planning NSW said, “condoms and the contraceptive pill remain the most popular contraceptive methods amongst Australian women”.

Over half (53%) of women wish they knew more about contraception options available to them and the majority (80%) would like their GP to recommend a contraception option based on their lifestyle.1

“Many women don’t realise that there are other contraceptive methods available. Women need to be encouraged to have a more open discussion about the contraceptive options available to them during consultations with their GP,” continued Dr Bateson.

“Contraception is a very personal decision that women should make with their doctor based on their health, future goals and lifestyle” said Dr Goldstein.

The Contraceptive Match website and the Galaxy Research survey was commissioned by MSD Australia.

1. Galaxy Research Survey October 2017
2. Marie Stopes International Australia. Real choices: women, contraception and unplanned pregnancy. Sydney: MSIA; 2008.
3. Rowe H, et al. Prevalence and distribution of unintended pregnancy: The Understanding Fertility Management in Australia National Survey. Aust NZ J Public Health 2016;40:104-9.
4. Garrett, C., Keogh, L., Kavanagh, A., Tomnay, J. and Hocking, J. (2015). Understanding the low uptake of long-acting reversible contraception by young women in Australia: a qualitative study. BMC Women’s Health, 15(1).

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