Contraception during the COVID-19 pandemic

posted by: Jonathan Shaw

Updated 27.06.22

Previously during the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic we had to 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.

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

In response to the emergence of COVID-19 we have implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

We are currently experiencing high demand for our Sexual Health Services across Devon and Torbay with unprecedented demand in Exeter. Please note always review urgent cases the same day. If your need is urgent and you are struggling to reach us keep trying as our phone system will explain how to access same-day care with us.

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

Self-requested STI testing by post is available for those aged under 25- more info

We are now running an under 18’s sit and wait clinic at Exeter, Torquay, and Barnstaple for more information click here

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

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