Contraception during the COVID-19 pandemic

posted by: Jonathan Shaw

Updated 12.05.21

During the COVID-19 pandemic to date we have had to significantly reduce the provision of routine contraception across our service.  This included the suspension of all routine provision of Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs). LARCs are methods including all hormonal and non-hormonal coils, implants and contraceptive injections.

We are now open for routine coil fits and implant procedures. However, our capacity is still limited so we apologise if we have to ask you to wait for an appointment. We will make sure you have contraceptive cover whilst waiting – more information is available here.

We are ensuring that contraception should be available to those that need it. We have now implemented a telephone triage system for all contraception needs. Please call your local clinic to access this triage system.

At present we are offering telephone triage to assess for and provide:

We are unable to provide Mirena fits for non-contraceptive reasons such as HRT or gynaecological treatments.

Helpful advice from the FSRH is available to support your contraceptive choices during these times – link

Finally please remember that condoms remain an effective and widely available form of barrier contraception.

Please contact us or your GP to discuss and book an appointment.

If you are looking for a refit of your coil or implant please note:

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health (FSRH – here) advise that the risk of pregnancy is very small if the following devices are used for a longer period of time. For the duration of the pandemic they have recommended using:

  • Nexplanon implants for 4 years
  • 10 year lifespan copper IUDs for 12 years
  • IUS (Mirena coil only) for 6 years

A final note on moon cups:

We are aware that the use of moon cups and other menstrual cups is increasing due to concerns about the environment. With COVID-related travel restrictions in place they also offer a convenient way of managing periods when access to other sanitary products might be difficult.

We are seeing an increase in numbers of coils becoming dislodged or even removed by the use of such menstrual cups. We wish to advise caution, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic which means access to our service is limited.

Please follow the recommendations below when using a menstrual cup if you have a coil:

The manufacturer of the Moon Cup® recommends waiting for 6 weeks following the insertion of IUC before using the menstrual cup. They also state that the Moon Cup should be placed low in the vagina with an adequate seal, which should be broken before the cup is removed. The manufacturer also recommends checking for IUC threads after each menses. If the threads cannot be located, or if a woman thinks her Cu-IUD has moved or if a woman experiences pain, the manufacturer recommends using additional contraception and consulting with an appropriate health care professional. (FSRH guidance on Intrauterine contraception)

More information is available here.

If you do have concerns about your coil please phone your local clinic for advice.

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Accessing our service during the COVID pandemic

How to access our service:

We have now implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. This system will be in place for the duration of the pandemic. Please contact our services to access this triage system. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus please do not attend the clinic. Clear advice for people with symptoms of coronavirus is available at nhs.uk/coronavirus .

Advice from our service:

We have updated information on the provision of routine contraception during this pandemic here.

More details on the fitting of LARCs (coils and implants) at our service can be found here

If you need the combined contraceptive pill please try (if you can) to get updated measurements of your height, weight and blood pressure before calling us.

There is also specific advice on coronavirus available for People Living with HIV here, and for pregnant women here

Self-requested Sexual Health screening by post is available for for under 25s only - more info here

For others with testing requirements please contact the service on 0300 303 3989.

Information is now also available to advise on sexual contact during a time of social distancing here.

Alternative provision:

Please be aware that we may have to cancel, rearrange or shut clinical services in response to changing clinical and staffing pressures created by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

If you are struggling to access sexual health services, alternatives may be available:

  • Emergency Contraception - at your local pharmacy - more info
  • Contraceptive pills and LARC procedures - obtained from your GP
  • HIV postal testing - available to at-risk groups for a small fee -  more info
  • HIV PEPSE - available via A+E departments - more info
  • Condoms by post (for gay and bisexual men only) - more info