The study was done to describe prevalence and trends in contraceptive method use in Britain through a comparison of the second and third National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles.
Prevalence of current contraceptive use among women who had ever had vaginal sex declined between Natsal-2 and Natsal-3, 83.5% and 76.4%, respectively. The condom and oral contraceptive pill remain the most commonly used methods. One in five women reported the use of the most effective method. While no difference was found between surveys in use of most effective methods, a decline in sterilization use was compensated by an increase in LARC use. Increased LARC use was particularly evident among under-25s compared with women aged 40–44 years and a decline was observed among those with two or more children relative to those with none.
The study concluded that the strategies to improve access to LARC methods have been particularly successful in increasing uptake among young people in the first decade of the 21st century. Whether this trajectory is maintained given changing sociodemographic characteristics and more recent financial cuts to sexual health service provision will warrant investigation.