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An exploratory study to identify preconception contraceptive patterns of abortion patients Watts, Judith Mary E.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to add to the understanding of problems with contraceptive utilization by describing contraceptive practices, attitudes, and knowledge of abortion patients. Women having abortions were selected as subjects because of their apparent contraception difficulties. The study was considered of value to nurses who are in a good position to provide contraception services to people. Thirty subjects were randomly selected from patients having D & C/aspiration abortions as in-patients in a large urban British Columbia hospital. Data were gathered using a semi-structured questionnaire in a single interview held the evening before the abortion. A large amount of data were gathered on contraceptive utilization of which the following items are of particular interest. 1) The women having abortions to deal with unwanted pregnancies were a widely varied group in terms of age, marital status, education, and occupation. The largest number were in their 20's and many (over half) had stable relations with their sexual partners. 2) Almost all subjects had used contraceptives at some time and many (over half) used them at the time of conception of the pregnancy being aborted. Five of the subjects experienced contraceptive failure with IUD's. 3) Many subjects indicated ambivalence about the use of and responsibility for contraception. They frequently wished to share responsibility for choosing contraceptives with their partners but often did not do so. 4) Most subjects were not well informed about contraception. Their sources of contraception information were varied and their parents tended to be inconsistent as sources. 5) Comparing users and non-users of contraceptives at the time of conception, users tended to be older, have more stable relations with their sexual partners, be more regular and effective contraceptive users, and not have depended on parents as sources of contraception information. Non-users tended to be younger, have less stable relationships with their sexual partner, be less regular and effective contraceptive users, and have depended on parents for contraception information. Some of the implications drawn from the data are as follows. Women having contraceptive utilization problems come from many settings and backgrounds. Therefore, efforts to improve contraceptive utilization must be varied and flexible to reach all people with contraception needs. Effective contraceptive utilization appears to be influenced by feelings about independence and responsibility, and of comfort with one's sexuality. Consequently, contraception services need to include opportunities to deal with these broader issues. Contraception knowledge is often limited and effective sources of information are not found consistently in our society. Professional efforts need to be made to ensure good contraception education that can supplement what is learned from parents. Areas recommended for future study include more thorough investigations of contraception attitudes and knowledge, and their effects on practice. Also, comparison studies of contraceptive utilization of other groups of women are needed, as are experimental studies to test the effectiveness of contraception education and services.

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