The study aimed to investigate the effects of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic on the use of hormonal contraceptives, their discontinuation, and the risk of an unplanned pregnancy.
The study enrolled 317 women listed in the database of the Department of General Surgery and Medical-Surgical Specialties, University of Catania, Italy, family planning clinic who were known to be using hormonal contraceptives.
The questionnaire was completed by 175 women using SARC and by 90 women who were using LARC. All married and cohabiting women were continuing to use their contraceptive method. None had had an unplanned pregnancy. On the other hand, 51 non-cohabiting or single women had discontinued their SARC method while social distancing for non-method-related reasons. 47 non-cohabiting or single women had continued their sexual activity, infringing social distancing rules, and 14.9% had had an unplanned pregnancy, for which they had sought a termination.
The study concluded that several non-cohabiting women using SARC had discontinued their contraceptive method during the pandemic but had continued to engage in sexual activity and had had an unplanned pregnancy. Clinicians should counsel women about what they should do concerning contraception in the event of new, future social distancing measures.