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11 June 2014

USA: Study reveals differences in contraception priorities

A survey published in the recent issue of the journal Contraception has found that women are more concerned to know about the side effects of contraceptive methods, while healthcare providers are more keen to discuss how the method is used.

Medical News Today reports that most of the information women receive about contraceptives focuses heavily on the effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, but this information was ranked fifth in importance by women.

Researchers at Dartmouth College conducted an online survey of 417 women, aged 15-45, and 188 multidisciplinary contraceptive care providers in the United States. Both groups were asked what matters most when deciding on a contraceptive method, rating the importance of 34 questions.

The researchers found several differences. Women’s number one question was about the safety of the contraceptive method, whereas for providers, it related to how the method is used. Information about side effects was also more important to women than providers - this was in the top three questions for 26 percent of women versus 16 percent of providers, the Dartmouth researchers said.

Medical News Today reports that this is the first study to simultaneously explore the priorities of women and health care providers highlighted the importance of efforts to elicit each woman’s preferences and values as part of a shared decision-making process.

‘Everything we hear suggests that women are struggling to choose the contraceptive method that best fits their unique needs and preferences,’ said lead author of the study, Kyla Donnelly of The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice. ‘Our findings suggest that this mismatch between what women want to know and what providers want to discuss may be a key factor.’

What matters most about contraception differs between women and health care providers. Medical News Today, 11 June 2014