Emergency contraception: Profiles of women using Plan B in a small Midwestern U.S. community

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Purpose:The purpose of this study was to describe (a) a population of emergency contraceptive (EC) users, (b) frequency of use of EC in a calendar year, and (c) frequency of follow-up visits to establish routine contraception.Data sources:Retrospective chart review of 436 women aged 12–50 years visiting a Midwestern family planning clinic for EC services during 2004–2005.Conclusions:Users were primarily Caucasian (94.2%), single or single with a significant other (95.1%), young (68.1% aged 19 and under), and nulligravidas (89.4%). Few (10.4%) returned for repeat use of EC within the same calendar year. One third returned for a follow-up visit to establish routine contraceptive use. No significant differences in the occurrence of a follow-up visit were found among age, income, or education groups.Implications for practice:The youth of the sample underscores the need for providers to discuss EC with adolescents, who continue to need a prescription to access EC. The low repeat use of EC is consistent with international data and supports the use of EC as a back-up method for routine, ongoing contraceptive users. It is important for nurse practitioners to provide accurate information and access to EC, proactively, as part of ongoing health and wellness education to all reproductive-aged women.

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