Page last updated at 15:03 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 16:03 UK

NHS in contraception switch call

Mothers discussing contraception
Health Scotland wants more women to start using the coil or implant

An NHS Scotland campaign has warned that only 4% of women in Scotland are using the most effective methods of contraception.

The organisation wants more women to use the longer-acting coil or implant, claiming they are 99% effective.

The pill and condoms remain the most popular forms of contraception, but Health Scotland said incorrect use often results in unwanted pregnancies.

The two-year target is to get 10% of women using the coil or implant.

'Easiest way'

Erica Stewart-Jones, 31, from Edinburgh, is married but not planning to start a family just yet.

She said: "I'm using an implant and I chose that because it is for three years which is the longest you can get.

"I'm not very good with routines so something you do once every three years is brilliant, so as far as I'm concerned it's just the easiest way to do it.

"It's like wearing contact lenses - you don't have to worry about, you don't have to think about it. It's taken care of, so it's one less thing to think about."

A recent Health Scotland report found a perception among women that GPs do not discuss alternatives to the pill.

That was certainly Erica's experience.

She said: "I went along with a pretty good idea of what I wanted, and my GP said, 'Well no we can come up with ways of making you take it more regularly' and as far as I was concerned, 'there are ways of doing that' - I'd done that already so I went to the family planning clinic directly."

Aggravated migraines

Dawn Hall, also 31, was on the pill for 11 years. After suffering severe migraines, she had looked for an alternative.

"The GP decided because I'd been on the pill for so long, the pill was aggravating the migraine condition," she said.

"He told me to come off the pill straightaway, suggested wearing a coil because the hormone implant would reduce the frequency of migraine attacks and I've not had a migraine since.

"I didn't think I could have a coil in the first place because I didn't have children, but obviously not."

Currently, just over 4% of women in Scotland use longer lasting contraception. The aims of this campaign are to promote awareness and get the number of terminations down.

Shirley Fraser is the health improvement programme manager for sexual health with NHS Health Scotland.

She said: "Essentially it's about promoting the discussion around the different forms of contraception and particularly the three most effective methods which is the inter-uterine system, the inter-uterine device and the implant because we know that those are over 99% effective at preventing pregnancies.

"Others are using the pill or the condom but they are not necessarily using them consistently so therefore that results in perhaps a pregnancy scare."

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