EGA Institute for Women's Health


Unplanned pregnancies doubled during lockdown, study shows

22 October 2021

There were nearly twice as many unplanned pregnancies during the first lockdown compared to before, finds a major study led by researchers from UCL and University College London Hospital.

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Jenny Hall, Dept of Sexual Reproductive Health, IfWH
The study, published today in BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health, is the first to assess changes in women’s self-reported access to contraception as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK.  Senior author, Dr Jennifer Hall (UCL Institute for Women's Health), said: 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries, including the UK, recognised the need for continuing contraception provision and implemented new practices and policies to deliver this.

“The UK saw a significant shift to telemedicine along with remote prescription for progestogen-only pill and combined oral contraceptive pill for up to a year compared to the usual 3-6 months, and many maternity services also worked to improve the postnatal contraception provision available in hospital.

“However, we found that 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 leading to a significant rise in the proportion of unplanned pregnancies.

See: UCL News, The Standard, The Independent