As the pandemic's first wave of lockdowns began, there was plenty of chatter about how it would affect couples, relationships and sex — and consequently what it would mean for contraception. Earlier this year, the UN warned in a report that more than 47 million women in 114 countries could lose access to contraception if health services continue to be heavily disrupted.
As many now brace for COVID-19's second wave, and renewed restrictions, birth control is again on people's minds. A recent report in Canada found that the health crisis has prompted many to reassess their main method of contraception.
Not the best time to be pregnant: According to the report from polling company Léger published by La Presse, around 42% of Canadian women indicated that they were considering or planning to change their main method of contraception and more than half also say they plan to ask their doctors to reconsider their main method of contraception in case of a second wave of cases.
• The main reason: women want to make sure that they have the best contraceptive method possible: 3/4 of the women who took part in the survey felt it was important to avoid unwanted pregnancy during the pandemic because of the uncertainty and instability it has generated.
• This is also true in the United States, where a study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute revealed that 49% of women surveyed had changed their plans about when to have children or how many children to have.
• The increased difficulty or inability to see a doctor in person is also an additional worry for women.
Choosing the best method: The Léger report also reveals that more than 3/4 of participants who used a contraceptive in the last six months have chosen the pill — a method which requires greater regular discipline to be effective, according to a nurse practitioner.
• "All our habits have been modified, the pandemic has changed people's routines … For example, women who stay at home all day with their children teleworking, it changes their daily life, and they risk forgetting their pill more often", Julie Poirier told La Presse.
• The Guttmacher Institute study found that 23% of women reported thinking about getting a longer-acting contraceptive method such as an IUD or an implant.
• Anna, a 24-year-old American, told online magazine Bustle that she switched from the pill that she'd been taking for nearly a decade to an IUD to get her birth control "all lined up" and feel more secure for a few years.