about emergency contraception in India is low. This does not apply to the public
only, but even healthcare providers are not well informed about Emergency Contraception.
We carried out a survey of 1125 urban and 575 rural women in the reproductive
age group. It showed that only 8% of urban women and 3% of rural women knew about
Emergency Contraception. We carried out a similar random survey of 342 gynaecologists
and found that only 30% had some knowledge about Emergency Contraception.
Material and Methods
Data on 168 women who had unprotected
coitus/failed contraception from 1980 to 1995 and who were provided oestrogen
and progesterone in a combination similar to Yuzpe regime are presented.
Only 54 women (32.1%) presented
within 72 hours after intercourse. This is due to lack of awareness. All women
coming up to 10 days after coitus were provided with Yuzpe method. There were
42 adolescent girls, 28 unmarried women and 98 married women in this study. The
large majority of the 54 women who presented within 72 hours were adolescent girls
or unmarried women.
The time of intercourse
in relation to menstrual cycle was analyzed. It was found that 58.3% of these
women had coitus in the ‘unsafe period’.
Table : Results of Hormone Therapy (n=168)
Timing of coitus Pregnancies
Unsafe period Safe period
< 72 hours 3/31 (9.6%) 2/23 (8.6%)
3-5 days 31/14 (21%) 1/12 (8.3%)
6-10 days 8/32
(25%) 2/18 (11.1%)
11-20 days: (No Drug) 8/21
(38%) 1/17 (5.8%)
There was not much difference
in pregnancy rate whether coitus took place in the safe or unsafe period if the
hormone was given within 72 hours after coitus. Only three out of 31 conceived
after treatment when the coitus was in mid cycle (unsafe period) and 2/23 conceived
when coitus was in ‘safe period’. The pregnancy rate increased if the therapy
was started after 72 hours of coitus. Among those who had coitus in ‘unsafe period’
21% conceived when therapy was started between 3-5 days after coitus and 25% conceived
when therapy was started within 6-10 days after coitus. However, the pregnancy
rate was erratic when coitus had taken place during ‘safe period'. It was seen
that 11.1% conceived when coitus had taken place within 6-10 days and 8.3% conceived
when coitus had taken place within 3-5 days (table).
A total of 28 women conceived in this series and 16 of these underwent MTP, while
12 continued pregnancy. Emergency Contraception offers women to have a pregnancy
by "choice" rather than by "chance".