Contraceptive practices and awareness about emergency contraception among women attending a tertiary care hospital of Delhi, India

Prachi Renjhen, Vikas Kumar, Akanksha Rathi, Attuluri Loukya


Background: Emergency contraceptive pills (ECs) are a safe female-controlled method of post-coital contraception; however, the knowledge about them is low among general population.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was done among the adult females, aged 18 years and above, who visited the various out-patient departments (OPD) of a tertiary care hospital in July 2017. A total of 640 adult females, who visited the OPDs of medicine, surgery, orthopedics and gynecology were included in this study. Data were entered and analyzed using SPSS ver 16. Chi-square test was used to test association. A p-value of less than 0.05 was considered as significant association.

Results: Of the 640 participants, mostly were Hindu, aged between 20-29 years, married and had more than one child. Only, 52% females were aware of the term ‘contraception’ and 17.7% about ‘emergency contraception’. The only method of ECs they were aware of was i-pill. Commonest source of their knowledge was friends, relatives and spouse. Only 70 women knew that it can be used after unprotected intercourse and 25 knew that it can be used after failure of barrier method. Just 41.2% women used any kind of contraceptive and 5.3% women have ever used an EC. Around 28% women reported not using contraception due to lack of knowledge.

Conclusions: Despite of their availability since many years, awareness about emergency contraception is low. More efforts are required to generate awareness about regular use of effective contraception and emergency contraception if required.


Awareness, Emergency contraception, Knowledge, New Delhi

Full Text:



Singh A, Singh A, Mahapatra B. The consequences of unintended pregnancy for maternal and child health in rural India: evidence from prospective data. Matern Child Health J. 2013;17(3):493-500.

International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and ICF. 2017. National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), 2015-16: India [Internet]. Mumbai: IIPS. Available from:

Ramesh BM, Gulati SC, Retherford RD. Contraceptive use in India 1992–1993, national family health survey subject reports, number 2 [Internet]. Mumbai: International Institute for Population Sciences; 1996. Available from:

Family Planning Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Guidelines for Administration of Emergency Contraceptive Pills by Health Care Providers. New Delhi: MoHFW; Nov 2008. Available from: http://

Trussell J, Raymond EG. Emergency Contraception: A Last Chance to Prevent Unintended Pregnancy [Internet]. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University, Office of Population Research; 2017. 38. Available from:

The Lancet Editorial. After the morning after and the morning after that. Lancet. 1995;345(8962):1381-2.

Cayley J. Emergency contraception. BMJ. 1995;311(7008):762-3.

Pearson VA, Owen MR, Phillips DR, Gray DP, Marshall MN. Pregnant teenagers' knowledge and use of emergency contraception. BMJ. 1995;310(6995):1644..

Pillaye J, Rahwan R. Morning-after birth control. The Lancet. 1995;346(8969):251-2.

Yuzpe AA, Lancee WJ. Ethinyl oestradiol and dl-norgestrel as a postcoital contraceptive. Fertil Steril. 1977;28(9):932-6.

Yuzpe AA, Smith RP, Rademaker AW. A multicenter clinical investigation employing ethinyl oestradiol combined with dl-norgestrel as a postcoital contraceptive agent. Fertil Steril. 1982;37(4):508-13.

Shohel M, Rahman MM, Zaman A, Uddin MM, Al-Amin MM, Reza HM. A systematic review of effectiveness and safety of different regimens of levonorgestrel oral tablets for emergency contraception. BMC Womens Health. 2014 Apr 4;14(1):54.

Gemzell-Danielsson K, Rabe T, Cheng L. Emergency contraception. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2013;29(1):1-14.

Devine KS. The underutilization of emergency contraception. Am J Nurs. 2012;112(4):44-50.

Mazza D, Harrison CM, Taft AJ, Britt HC, Hobbs M, Stewart K, Hussainy S, Brijnath BR. Emergency contraception in Australia: the desired source of information versus the actual source of information. Med J Aust. 2014;200(7):414-5.

Sample Registration System. Maternal mortality in India: 1997–2003 – trends, causes and risk factors [Internet]. New Delhi: SRS; 2006. Available from:

Takkar N, Goel P, Saha PK, Dua D. Contraceptive practices and awareness of emergency contraception in educated working women. Indian J Med Sci. 2005 Apr;59(4):143-9.

Kathpalia SK. Emergency contraception: Knowledge and practice among women and the spouses seeking termination of pregnancy. Med J Armed Forces India. 2016;72(2):116-9

Joseph N, Shetty B, Hasreen F, Ishwarya R, Baniya M, Sachdeva S, Agarwal S. Awareness and Attitudes Toward Emergency Contraceptives Among College Students in South India. J Obstet Gynaecol India. 2016;66(1):363-9.

Kongnyuy EJ, Ngassa P, Fomulu N, Wiysonge CS, Kouam L, Doh AS. A survey of knowledge, attitudes and practice of emergency contraception among university students in Cameroon. BMC Emerg Med. 2007;7(1):7.

Ojule JD, Oriji VK, Georgewill KN. Awareness and practice of emergency contraception among students of University of Port Harcourt, South-South Nigeria. Niger Health J. 2008;8(1-2):6-9.

Langer A, Harper C, Garcia-Barrios C, Schiavon R, Heimburger A, Elul B, Renoso Delgado S, Ellertson C. Emergency contraception in Mexico City: what do healthcare providers and potential users know and think about it? Contracep. 1999;60(4):233-41.

Tripathi R, Rathore A.M., Sachdev J. Emergency contraception: knowledge, attitude and practice among health care providers in North India. J Obstet Gynaecol India. 2003;29(3):142-6.

Rahaman H, Renjhen P, Kumar A. A study on emergency contraceptive practice among nursing staff in Sikkim, India – a cross sectional study. Aust Med J. 2010;3(10):667-71.

Nalini A, Mittal S. Emergency contraception and prevention of induced abortions in India. J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care. 2005;31(4):294-6.

Kozinszky Z, Sikovanyecz J, Devosa I, Szabó D, Barabás K, Pál A, Arthur J. Determinants of emergency contraceptive use after unprotected intercourse: who seeks emergency contraception and who seeks abortion? Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2012;91(8):959-64.

Westley E, Kapp N, Palermo T, Bleck J. A review of global access to emergency contraception. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2013;123(1):4-6.

Kumar M, Meena J, Sharma S, Poddar A, Dhalliwal V, Modi-Satish Chander Modi SC, Singh K. Contraceptive use among low-income urban married women in India. J Sex Med. 2011;8(2):376-82.