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Behaviour and Attitudes

One third of Irish women don't use contraception

While nine per cent say they use natural methods.

A STUDY TO “to asses attitudes towards contraception” found that a third of Irish women aged 18-45 are not using contraception.

Another 9 per cent say they use natural methods, including the rhythm method, withdrawal, and other traditional forms of contraception.

The study carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf of Bayer Healthcare found that more than a quarter of women in Ireland (27 per cent) use condoms, with the same number using short-acting hormonal contraception, such as the pill.

Dr Shirley McQuade, Medical Director of the Dublin Well Woman Centre, said:

I’m surprised such a high number of women in Ireland are not using any contraception. Even when you remove those women who are planning on having a child this year (13 per cent), that still leaves one woman in five (20 per cent) who are neither using contraception nor planning on getting pregnant within the year.

In the last two years, one in six Irish women have used emergency contraception, with five per cent using it more than once. However a third of women said that accessing emergency contraception did not prompt them to look at their contraception needs in a long-term way.


One in ten women start using hormonal contraception within weeks of beginning a new relationship, rising to 16 per cent within a month.

Seventy-eight per cent say they discuss contraception with their partner, and forty-six per cent claim to share joint responsibility for it.

So what are the most well recognised forms of contraception in Ireland?

  • The pill is the most popular at 95 per cent
  • followed by condoms at 91 per cent
  • injections were at 75 per cent
  • sterilization 74 per cent
  • the mini pill 65 per cent
  • patches 63 per cent
  • implants 60 per cent
  • and intrauterine systems 57 per cent

McQuade said:

There are long-acting options that a significant number of Irish women of every age could consider – like intrauterine contraception, hormonal implants, and injections, all of which are reversible. These options will guard against pregnancy from between three months and over five years. They cost more up front, but work out cheaper in the long run.

For more information about contraception options, you can download a free copy of ‘A Smart Woman’s Guide to Contraception’.

Read: Column: What you don’t know about emergency contraception (and why it might hurt you)>

Read: Can a woman’s weight affect the success of the morning-after pill?>

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