RESEARCH – March 2019

Use of contraception and associated factors and barriers among 16–44year- old women in Estonia

Authors: Katri Ottep, Made Laanpere, Inge Ringmets

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Since Estonia regained its independence in 1991 modern contraceptives have become available to women. The choice between effective contraceptives is diverse and scientific information on family planning is easily accessible. Although all modern contraceptives are widely available in Estonia, there are still a number of women who use ineffective methods, or none at all. It was important to find out which factors influence contraceptive use, and to work at counteracting them. The main objective of this study was to investigate contraceptive use among Estonian women aged 16–44 and the factors associated with it. This article is based on a survey carried out in 2014 – Estonian Women’s Health 2014: sexual and reproductive health, health behaviour, attitudes and use of healthcare services. The questionnaires were sent to women who were picked randomly from the Estonian Population Registry. As this study was focused on contraceptive use, we excluded women who had no need for contraceptives, e.g had never had sexual intercourse. The results showed that there were 1588 women who needed some form of contraceptive. Of the women aged 16–44, 74.8% used an effective contraceptive in 2014, 16.1% used ineffective contraceptives and 9.1% did not use any contraceptives at all. The most frequently used contraceptive was the condom, followed by hormonal contraceptives (pill, patch and/or ring) and withdrawal. 16.1% women used ineffective contraceptives and 9.1% didn’t use any contraceptives in their last sexual intercourse. Based on this article, it can be deduced that factors which more greatly influenced contraceptive use were primary language, level of education, residential location and difficulties paying the bills. The only barrier which influenced contraceptive use was the cost of contraceptives. These factors should be addressed in order to diminish the effect that they have on contraceptive use.