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BJOG. 2002 Feb;109(2):155-60.

Knowledge, use and attitudes towards emergency contraceptive pills among Swedish women presenting for induced abortion.

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Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, University of Uppsala, Sweden.



To investigate the knowledge, experiences and attitudes towards emergency contraceptive pills (ECP) among women presenting for induced abortion.


Survey by self-administered waiting room questionnaires.


Three large hospitals in the cities of Uppsala, Västerås and Orebro in Sweden.


591 Swedish-speaking women consecutively attending the clinics for an induced abortion during a four-month period in 2000.


The response rate was 88% (n = 518). As many as 43% had a history of one or more previous abortions and 43% were daily smokers. Four out of five women, 83%, were aware of ECP, but only 15 women used it to prevent this pregnancy. Fewer, 38%, knew the recommended timeframes for use and 54% had knowledge of the mode of action. The two most common sources of information about ECP were media and friends. One out of five, 22%, had previously used the method, and at the time of conception, 55% would have taken ECP if it had been available at home, and 52% were positive to having ECP available over the counter.


Emergency contraception is well known but is still underused. Lack of awareness of pregnancy risk may be one limiting factor for its use. Making ECP available over the counter may be an important measure towards better availability. Information strategies to the public are needed before ECP will be a widely used back-up method.

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