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Hum Reprod. 2009 Jul;24(7):1612-8. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dep064. Epub 2009 Apr 9.

Emergency contraceptive use among 5677 women seeking abortion in Shanghai, China.

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International Peace Maternity and Child Health Hospital/School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 200030 Shanghai, People's Republic of China.



The increasing use of emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) does not seem to reduce the number of induced abortions as would be expected, indicating that women use ECPs might also be a strong factor affecting their final efficacy. The study aimed to understand the attitude towards, and use of, ECPs among women seeking an abortion.


A cohort study was conducted via face-to-face questionnaire interview among women seeking abortion in Shanghai, China. Logistic regression analysis and chi(2) test were performed for statistical analysis.


The response rate was 99.3%. Among all 5677 respondents aged 15-48 years, 48.8% were ECP ever-users. Compared with ever-users, ECP never-users were less likely to have used contraception during the present cycle of conception (P < 0.001). In response to the question on the main reason for non-use of contraception, ECP never-users were less likely to realize the risk of pregnancy and had less contraceptive knowledge (P < 0.001). Among 2773 ECP ever-users, 72.7% did not use ECPs to prevent the current pregnancy, mainly due to lack of awareness of pregnancy risk. Out of 757 women, 437 (57.7%) repeated unprotected sex after taking ECPs during the current pregnant cycle. A pharmacy was the preferred source to access ECPs, for the reason of convenience.


Non-use of ECPs was correlated to less knowledge on fertility and a lower rate of contraceptive use among abortion-seeking women. Women of reproductive age should have access to ECPs and receive sufficient information on their use. Health care providers and pharmacists should also be trained in contraceptive counselling, including ECPs.

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