Unplanned pregnancies were nearly twice as probable during the first UK lockdown, according to a study.


Unplanned pregnancies were nearly twice as probable during the first UK lockdown, according to a study.

Due to a scarcity of contraception, women were nearly twice as likely to have an unexpected pregnancy during the first UK lockdown than before, according to a new study.

Researchers looked at data from 9,784 women who are all part of the UCL and UCLH-based Contraception and Pregnancy Study (Cap-Covid).

There were 4,114 pre-lockdown (defined as the day of April 1 to guarantee limitations were in place) and 5,670 post-lockdown conceptions among the total sample.

Women were found to be nine times more likely to have difficulty acquiring contraception as a result of the pandemic after researchers took into account factors that could impact the results, such as the women’s ages and the period of conception.

The percentage of women who said they had trouble acquiring contraceptives increased from 0.6 percent before the lockdown to 6.5 percent thereafter.

Unplanned pregnancies virtually doubled during this time, from 1.3 percent before the lockdown to 2.1 percent after the lockdown.

The study’s participants were expecting between May 24 and December 31, 2020.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, many nations, including the UK, recognized the need for continued contraceptive supply and established new procedures and policies to accomplish this,” said research senior author Dr Jennifer Hall of the UCL Institute for Women’s Health.

“In the United Kingdom, there was a significant shift to telemedicine, with remote prescriptions for progestogen-only and combined oral contraceptive pills for up to a year, rather than the usual three to six months, and many maternity services worked to improve the postnatal contraception provision available in hospitals.”

“However, despite the introduction of new policies and practices by contraception and abortion service providers during the first lockdown, women continued to report ongoing difficulties in accessing contraception, resulting in a significant increase in the proportion of unplanned pregnancies,” the researchers said.

According to the researchers, the percentage of unexpected pregnancies reported in the study may be underestimated because data from women who did not intend to continue their pregnancy was not collected.

“Prior study has shown to numerous aspects that may explain why contraception was harder to get during the Covid-19 pandemic,” stated Dr Neerujah Balachandren of UCLH’s Reproductive Medicine Unit.

“One of these is a lack of clarity. “Summary concludes.”


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