How might Canadian women talk about peri-coital contraception?
Awarded 2014
Trainee Grants
Simone Parniak, BHSc
University of Ottawa

Background: High rates of unintended pregnancy worldwide demonstrate there is a gap in available contraceptive methods. If developed as planned, the peri-coital contraceptive pill will be an effective and intuitive method that could be taken in a period before or after unprotected sexual intercourse. Yet successful uptake of a new technology relies on concise terminology and frameworks with which to discuss it. Objectives: This study aimed to investigate how women talk about different available contraceptive methods; explore how these discourses influence the language and frameworks used to talk about peri-coital contraceptives; and identify Canadian women’s perceptions of and concerns about this potential contraceptive method. Methods: In 2014-2015, we conducted seven focus group discussions in seven locations across Canada in order to explore how Canadian women aged 18-45 talk about current methods of contraception and how this language informs how they talk (or would talk) about peri-coital contraception. Results: Participants thought the peri-coital contraceptive pill would be a valuable addition to current contraceptive methods, particularly for those who have less frequent intercourse. However, they disliked the term ‘peri-coital’ and invented a number of names they considered to be more resonant. Women identified safety, efficacy, and framing as the most important issues that would need to be addressed if peri-coital contraception were introduced. Conclusion: The peri-coital contraceptive pill promises to be a valuable addition to current contraceptive options in Canada. Efforts to develop terminology that is clearer and more intuitive may help facilitate the eventual introduction and appears warranted.