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BMJ Open. 2013 Dec 11;3(12):e003739. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003739.

Medical students' knowledge, attitudes and perceptions towards contraceptive use and counselling: a cross-sectional survey in Maharashtra, India.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Falu County Hospital, Falun, Sweden.



This study aimed to investigate the knowledge, attitudes and perceptions towards contraceptive use and counselling among medical students in Maharashtra, India.


Considerable global maternal mortality and morbidity could be avoided through the use of effective contraception. In India, contraception services are frequently unavailable or there are obstacles to obtaining modern, reversible contraceptives.


A cross-sectional descriptive study using a self-administered questionnaire was conducted among 1996 medical students in their fifth year of study at 27 medical colleges in the state of Maharashtra, India. Descriptive and analytical statistics interpreted the survey instrument and significant results were presented with 95% CI.


Respondents expressed a desire to provide contraceptive services. A few students had experienced training in abortion care. There were misconceptions about modern contraceptive methods and the impact of sex education. Attitudes towards contraception were mainly positive, premarital counselling was supported and the influence of traditional values and negative provider attitudes on services was recognised. Gender, area of upbringing and type of medical college did not change the results.


Despite mostly positive attitudes towards modern contraceptives, sex education and family planning counselling, medical students in Maharashtra have misconceptions about modern methods of contraception. Preservice and in-service training in contraceptive counselling should be implemented in order to increase women's access to evidence-based maternal healthcare services.


Education & Training (see Medical Education & Training)

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