The choice of a birth control method is influenced by sociocultural and personal factors. We explored the perceived influences in women’s choice of a birth control method in five European countries (Germany, France, the UK, Romania and Sweden), where contraception is widely used.
This is a cross-sectional study of 1137 randomly selected women aged 18-49 years. An anonymous, 31-item questionnaire related to birth control methods was used. Logistic regression was used to identify variables associated with partner participation in choice of a contraceptive.
Oral contraceptives were mainly used in Germany (54.3%), France (50.5%) and Sweden (34.6%) and condoms in the UK (29.6%) and Romania (22.9%). Sweden showed the highest use of intrauterine devices (IUD, 19%). Romania had the lowest use of contraception. Oral contraceptives and IUDs use were frequently suggested by providers instead of by women. Choosing the method with the partner was associated with age [odds ratio (OR)=0.97, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.94-0.99], being a university graduate (OR=1.59, 95% CI 1.01-2.29), married (OR=1.52, 95% CI 1.01-2.29) and with using a method that requires partner’s cooperation (OR=8.18, 95% CI 5.46-12.27).
Hormonal contraceptives and IUDs are commonly recommended by providers rather than requested by women. Partner preferences are taken into account when his cooperation in the use of the method is needed. As fertility care is a male and female issue, there is still more room for actively involving both women and men in their choice of a birth control method.