Introduction To decrease the number of subsequent unplanned pregnancies in young women presenting to one regional public health service and to note the barriers to the overall uptake of contraceptive options.
Methods Young mothers referred for antenatal care received consistent and regular education about contraceptive options. The young women attending were up to the age of 21 years. Contraceptive options that were utilised at the time of becoming pregnant consisted of combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP), condoms, withdrawal or none. The use of the Choices Contraceptive Chart aided in the process to support the efficacy of long acting reversible contraceptive methods (LARC).
Results Total number of births within this public hospital for 2012 – 13 combined was 4,494. Of this, 276 were to mothers 21 years and younger. Total number of births for 2014 – 15 combined were 5,488 with 240 to mothers 21 years and younger. Health care professionals (HCP) education and beliefs, along with provision of LARC prior to discharge needs addressing.
Discussion Despite international evidence, which strongly suggests that the use of LARC’s reduce unintended pregnancies and subsequent abortions, their use in Australia remains low. There is a need to address the barriers to increasing the use of LARC’s in Australia, particularly by young women who are highly fertile & have unintended pregnancies. Use of COCP is higher in Australia than in other countries. Implants, injectable and IU devices, combined are still used by fewer than 10% of Australian women and their provision in general practice is low.
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