Singapore

Study: Women here not aware of newer birth control methods

Women here are well aware of contraceptive methods such as condoms or the Pill, but they surprisingly lack knowledge of newer alternatives, a local study has found.

Of the nine contraceptive methods, fewer than half of the 259 women quizzed were aware of five of these.

These newer methods are: birth control implants and patches, injectable contraceptives, vaginal rings, and hormonal intra-uterine devices (IUDs).

The women were quizzed by doctors at the National University Hospital and the ignorance of so many took one of the study's authors by surprise.

Dr Arundhati Gosavi, an associate consultant at the hospital's Women's Centre, said: "Despite the high level of education, our study population has a lower awareness of long-acting reversible methods and the newer, combined hormonal methods."

She said it could be because condoms and oral contraceptive pills are generally more visible and talked about.

"Condoms, for example, are easily spotted over counters in shopping areas and are easily available. Hence, more people are aware of them," said Dr Arundhati.

This, despite newer methods such as vaginal rings and contraceptive patches being more convenient and working in much the same way as pills.

These newer methods "are hardly used by our women due to lack of awareness", she added.

The study results were published in the November edition of the Singapore Medical Journal.

The least-known contraceptive method is hormonal IUD, which is familiar to only one-quarter of the women.

The device releases hormones slowly into the womb over a five-year period, and is generally considered one of the most effective contraceptive methods.

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