Researchers conducted this study to discover what terminology women prefer to use when referring to contraceptive methods. The secondary aim was to investigate the understanding of and ideas associated with contraceptive names.

The study design was a self-administered questionnaire was answered by 191 new patients at family planning clinics (FPCs). Women were asked if they understood the terms used by the fpa (Family Planning Association), if they knew of any alternatives, and, if so, which they preferred.

The study was conducted in the setting of selected FPCs across the city of Manchester.

Patients preferred to use familiar terms, e.g., pill, mini-pill, coil, and the morning-after pill. There was no difference in preference when the results were compared by age or educational level. A more significant proportion of nonCaucasians than Caucasians preferred the precise (fpa) terms. Although specific terms were not widely known or understood, when used, they were associated with more information than were the familiar words.

The study concluded that all FPC staff should evaluate the language used by individual patients and, where appropriate, introduce precise terminology to help patients to make informed, reasonable choices.