Despite an improvement in the rate of unplanned pregnancies in England, the problem persists, particularly in the teenage population, with a large proportion of these conceptions being attributed to contraceptive failure. The OCP and male condoms remain the most widely used contraceptives, which considering their dependence on user-compliance is worrying. Long-acting reversible contraceptives are an alternative with much lower failure rates, partially attributable to the removal of this concern.Methods
An audit was carried out at Wellfield Medical Centre in Manchester, one of the areas with persistent high teenage pregnancy rates.Results
A review of records highlighted that the OCP remained the most commonly prescribed contraceptive in women over the preceding year. LARC accounted for only 29% of the new prescriptions given to 15–24 year olds and 41% of under-35s, with LARC being favoured only in the older population.Discussion
This was in keeping with the literature, which suggested that social norms and negative experiences of friends and family are accountable, along with a lack of education of LARC compared with other methods. These findings indicate that an improvement in the awareness of safety and efficacy of LARC is necessary, particularly in this young population. This should be initiated in a practice context, but the wider reach of social media may be required to ensure an adequate impact. The skill and ability of providers to counsel women on LARC needs to be addressed, as does an increase in time available for counselling and detailed recording of these discussions.