Swedish women shun contraceptives

Women in Sweden have become less inclined to use contraceptives. Sales of the morning-after pill have been on the increase, as have the number of abortions, while fewer women are using the contraceptive pill to prevent unwanted pregnancies, Sveriges Radio reports.

Apoteket, Sweden’s state-owned pharmaceutical retailer, noted an 11 percent increase in sales of morning-after pills in 2006 compared to the previous year.

The number of abortions was up one and a half percent on figures for 2005, while the number of women using the contraceptive pill is reported to be five percent lower over the same period.

“People are taking more risks and are maybe more inclined to take risks by not planning for the long term,” Lena Marion, head physician at Karolinska Institutet’s sexual health unit, told Sveriges Radio.

Marion says she is surprised by the number of women coming to her clinic who not use any form of contraception.

“I don’t have any statistics on this but I have a feeling that around half the women coming to us who are of childbearing age do not have any form of contraception,” she said.

Many of the women at Marion’s clinic have stopped using the contraceptive pill for one of two reasons. Either its use has made them become less interested in sex or they have been scared off by warnings in the media, such as fears that the pill may cause blood clots.

The main problem, as she sees it, is that women who stop using the pill do not look at what else is on offer.

“It is important that schools and clinics for young people inform people about the various alternatives. The more alternatives they have the better,” said Marion.