Page last updated at 09:51 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

Women given alternatives to pill

Implanon contraceptive implant
Scotland has a low uptake of longer-lasting contraceptives such as implants

Women using contraception will be asked to try alternatives to the pill under plans to cut the number of unwanted pregnancies in Scotland.

The government will run a campaign next spring to highlight longer-lasting and more reliable forms of contraception.

Under the strategy, women are to be offered coils, implants and injections.

Forgetting to take the pill is a common cause of unplanned pregnancies. The failure rate is about 8% compared to 1% -3% for longer-acting alternatives.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that women should be given more information about contraception methods so they could make more informed choices.

"We have low uptake of longer-lasting, reversible contraception - only around 4% compared to 23% for the pill," she said.

"It is not going to be right for everyone, but there are a lot of women for whom it would be the right option.

"And importantly that would help to reduce the number of unplanned, unwanted pregnancies."

Ministers are to spend about 270,000 a year publicising the new strategy.

As well as advertising options to women, it is expected that GPs and nurses will be urged to provide information about longer-lasting forms of contraception.

These include Depo Provera, a hormone injection which offers three months of protection; Implanon, a small rod implanted into the arm which gives three years of protection; the coil; and Mirena, an intra-uterine device which lasts five years.

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