January 26, 2021

30% of women who sought medical advice on contraceptives in confinement were unable to access it

Most of the women who sought advice from health services on contraceptives during the worst of the coronavirus crisis received it, but 30% were unable to access it. It is one of the conclusions of the survey on contraception produced annually by the Spanish Contraception Society and which was presented this Thursday. Only 5% of women resorted to medical services during the March and April confinement in search of this information, and of these, 40% accessed by phone and the other 30%, in person.

The morning-after pill without a prescription turns 10 years old and denies clichés: it is neither abused nor used as contraceptive

The morning-after pill without a prescription turns 10 years old and denies clichés: it is neither abused nor used as contraceptive

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Due to the pandemic, the SEC has decided this year to ask the 1,800 women in the sample about some specific questions to analyze the way in which contraception has been affected. Among others, if in those months they had difficulties accessing their usual contraceptive method, something that 4% of the respondents answered affirmatively: of them, 54% could not renew the prescription. Most women did not need long-term contraceptive methods (the IUD, for example), but of those who did, half, 49%, did not get access.

The study has also asked again about the average age of initiation of sexual intercourse. Among all women of childbearing age, it is 18.07 years, but it varies greatly depending on age: women who are currently between 45 and 49 years old had their first relationship at 19.83 years, while those who are between 15 and 19 they had it at 15.82. This continues to decline, and with each passing year an earlier start is registered (in 2014 it was at 16.53). “This represents that women under the age of twenty have initiated their coital sexual relations about four years before their mothers did,” the study concludes.

As in other editions, the Society continues to analyze the use made of these methods by women living in Spain. 70.7% use some contraceptive, especially in the 20 to 29 age group. From 15 to 19, the percentage decreases and it is this range that uses them the least (62%). Taking into account that there are women who do not use them because they do not need them (sexual orientation, fertility problems …), the research translates this data into that 6% of women are at risk of unwanted pregnancy, that is, they have sex, they can have children, they don’t want to and they don’t use contraceptives.

The condom continues to be the preferred method, used by 31.3% of those surveyed, although its use has decreased in recent years and has fallen since 2007. The pill follows (18.5%). However, not everyone uses condoms well, the study highlights: 65.7% of women who use it as their main method “do it consistently”, that is, they always use it. On the contrary, 33.3% do not use it in all their sexual relations. Among the reasons, “unforeseen relationships”, “trust in the stable partner”.

There are also women who use several methods simultaneously or who use other methods with some frequency. Specifically, one in four use the so-called “double method”, which is the combined use of a condom along with any other contraceptive method. Regarding the use of the so-called ‘morning-after pill’, as a matter of urgency, up to 38% of women have had to resort to it on some occasion, especially between 24 and 29 years of age (56%). In 2011, the percentage was 14%.


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