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Attenders at a contraceptive clinic for single women

  • Michael Wadsworth (a1), Nancy Loudon (a1), Mary Rankin (a1) and Isabel Herbert (a1)


A study was made of 126 new attenders at the Edinburgh FPA clinic for single women during its first year of operation. Nulliparous patients were only half as likely to have been referred from a medical source as the parous patient. The higher the social class the greater the likelihood of discussion about contraception between patient and doctor before a visit to this FPA centre. The study population was geographically very mobile. Higher social classes and students were as likely to report experience of previous sexual intercourse than others. At least 24% of patients had a very limited knowledge of contraceptive methods. Forty per cent of patients returned for a follow-up visit and older women and nulliparous women were less likely to return than others. Although most returning patients had experienced regular sexual intercourse since their first visit, 15% had not found this entirely satisfactory, and 32% had had difficulties with the prescribed method of contraception, chiefly the oral contraceptive. When compared for the same period with the city's other clinic offering contraceptive advice to single women, 24% of all attenders at both clinics had been to the FPA. The proportion of parous women at the FPA was twice that at the Brook Clinic, but Brook patients were much more likely to have already received contraceptive advice from a doctor. Discussion centres on the social-class bias in the population of attenders.



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