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Br J Fam Plann. 1999 Jul;25(2):61-8.

Barriers to the use of IUDs as emergency contraception.

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Community Health Care Service North Derbyshire NHS Trust, Saltergate Health Centre, Chesterfield S41 1SX, UK.


The intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD) is a very effective form of emergency contraception (EC). This author hypothesised that IUDs are an underused method and determined to evaluate potential barriers to IUD use. A postal survey of 100 family planning doctors and 100 general practitioners was conducted in Trent Region during March 1998 with a 70 per cent response rate. Lack of time was the most important factor that influenced doctor's decisions not to offer IUDs to the majority of women requesting emergency contraception. Most doctors registered concern about the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease. Misconceptions and a lack of accurate information contributed to participants reluctance to discuss IUDs as emergency contraception. Lack of time in consultations is a well-recognised issue in general practice. The risk of sexually transmitted infections is a nationwide concern, but is difficult to address without accurate data on the prevalence of the most common pathogens. Considerable effort would be required to increase doctors' knowledge and willingness to offer IUDs routinely to women requesting emergency contraception.

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