A qualitative analysis of women's explanations for changing contraception: the importance of non-contraceptive effects

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Abstract

Background

Women commonly report changing contraceptive methods because of side-effects. However, there is a lack of literature that has thoroughly examined women's perspectives, including why they changed contraception.

Aim

Using qualitative data from a contraceptive survey of young Australian women, we explored women's explanations for their recent changes in contraception.

Method

A thematic analysis of 1051 responses to a question about why women recently changed contraception was conducted.

Results

Themes reflected reasons for changing contraception which included: both contraceptive and non-contraceptive (4%); relationship/sexual (9%); medical (11%); contraceptive (18%); non-contraceptive (41%). A minority of responses were uncoded (17%). Non-contraceptive effects (effects unrelated to pregnancy prevention) featured most frequently in women's reasons for changing contraception.

Conclusions

While cessation of various contraceptives due to unwanted side-effects is a well-known phenomenon, this analysis provides evidence of the changing of contraception for its non-contraceptive effects and reframes the notion of ‘side-effects’.

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