While the use of EC is becoming more widespread in Australia, little is known about its reasons and the social context of this use.

Researchers conducted this study to explore the use of EC from the perspective of users, a qualitative study was conducted with women presenting to one of three health care settings.

Thirty-two women ranging in age from 18 to 45 years were interviewed. This paper reports on four ‘types of EC users identified from the data. ‘Controllers’ experienced failure of their contraceptive method and were very uncomfortable needing EC. They changed their contraceptive strategy in an attempt to avoid needing EC in the future. ‘Thwarted controllers’ were similar to controllers except that they could not improve their contraceptive process due to medical or social limitations. ‘Risk-takers’ saw the use of EC as a component of their overall contraceptive strategy. A final group of women was ‘caught short’ by a sexual experience that was unplanned, and therefore, they did not manage to use their chosen contraceptive strategy.

The findings from this study challenge the assumptions that are often made about EC users and highlight the need to acknowledge the different ways that women make sense of and make decisions about contraception.

Reference: https://srh.bmj.com/content/31/4/288