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Monday, 19 February, 2001, 10:05 GMT
One in five women forgets the Pill
Pill packets
Women complain they are not getting enough contraceptive choice
One in five young women forgets to take her contraceptive pill at least twice a month, putting her at risk of an unwanted pregnancy.

Experts say some women would be better suited with other forms of contraceptive, but they are never offered the option.

Nearly half of the women aged between 16 to 24 interviewed, say their GP did not offer them the full range of contraception when they discussed it with him.

They said the only option they were offered was the Pill.

In this modern hectic world, longer-acting contraceptive methods that do not rely on daily action like the Pill are becoming more popular and should be considered by both doctors and women

Dr Martyn Walling, GP

Britain has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Western Europe with 101,500 under 20 conceiving in 1998.

Two thirds of these then went on to have a baby.

The government has promised to reduce the teenage pregnancy rates, but research shows that many young women are still having unprotected sex despite highly publicised campaigns.

Informed choice

Dr Martyn Walling, a GP and contraceptive expert, said women must be told about all the contraceptive alternatives to enable them to make an informed choice.

"In this modern hectic world, longer-acting contraceptive methods that do not rely on daily action like the Pill are becoming more popular and should be considered by both doctors and women," he said.

More than 600 young women were questioned for the survey which was commissioned by contraceptive implant manufacturer Organon.

The implant is inserted under the skin and is effective for up to three years.

Toni Belfield, director of information at the Family Planning Association (FPA), said women need to be offered more contraceptive choice.

"Women are not offered enough choices. The pill is only as good as the woman who is taking it.

"It is important that when the choice of contraceptive is being discussed that women are offered the choice and that they are told what to do if they forget to take a pill," she said.

The FPA has a helpline offering advice on contraception, which is available between 9-7pm Monday to Friday on 0207 837 4044.

A separate study carried out last year by the University of Nottingham showed that one in two teenage girls prescribed the contraceptive pill still become pregnant.

And a study in the same issue of the British Medical Journal by Professor Basil Donovan from the University of Sydney, Australia, said the women were incapable of remembering to take a pill at the same day.

He called for other methods of contraception to be used like the IUD or coil, which is inserted into the womb.

"If teenagers could take their fertility control somewhat for granted during the most precarious stage of their sexual careers then the ability to negotiate other complex aspects of their sexual well-being could be enhanced," he said.

See also:

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