Attempts to address the ‘problem’ of teenage pregnancy need to further explore contraceptive use among young people at potentially most significant risk. We examine contraceptive use among a particularly vulnerable subgroup: girls who reported having had sex with more than one partner by age 16 years.

435 Females completed questionnaires as part of the SHARE school-based sex education trial, reporting contraceptive use at three episodes of sexual intercourse.

Most used some form of contraception at each episode, but a quarter reported withdrawal, putting on a condom before ejaculation or non-use. In multivariate analysis, the factors associated with more substantial pregnancy risk-taking behavior were living in social or rented accommodation, having pressurized or unexpected or spur of the moment sex, and not having talked to their partner about protection before sex.

The study concluded that most girls used an effective contraception method at each episode of intercourse, but a sizeable minority reported no contraception, which suggested more significant pregnancy risk-taking behavior; one in ten at all three episodes. Particular efforts are required to understand further and better target those putting themselves at the repeated risk of pregnancy.