To assess knowledge, acceptability, and use of emergency contraceptive pills (ECs) among lower-income married women in Bangalore, India.
EC counseling and supplies were offered to 322 women aged 18-25 years participating in a longitudinal reproductive health study. Participants completed interviews at enrollment and were followed for 1 year. EC acceptability and use were assessed, and factors associated with use were identified.
206/320 (64.4%) participants did not desire pregnancy but only 46/321 (14.3%) used an intrauterine device or contraceptive pills. Only 25 (7.8%) had heard of ECs. Overall, 123 (38.2%) participants requested advance provisions of ECs after counseling. Over a year, 37/263 (14.1%) women used ECs, usually within 3 days of unprotected sex (33 [89.2%]), and 32 (86.5%) took both pills together or 1 day apart. Thirty-six (97.3%) felt glad and 31 (83.8%) were relieved after taking ECs. Twenty-five (67.6%) women who used ECs sought permission from their husbands. The only factor associated with EC use was couples' pregnancy intentions (odds ratio 4.71; 95% confidence interval, 1.43-15.58; P≤0.01).
Indian women with access to ECs generally used them correctly and found them acceptable. Efforts to expand EC knowledge and access should be coupled with efforts to promote gender equality in the reproductive sphere.