Abstract

Purpose

Australia introduced ‘lockdown’ measures to control COVID-19 on 22 March 2020 which continued for a period of two months. We aimed to investigate the impact this had on sexual and reproductive health (SRH).

Materials and Methods

Australians aged 18+ were eligible to participate in an online survey from 23 April to 11 May 2020. We report on the experiences of 518 female participants aged <50 years. Pregnancy intentions and contraceptive use were analysed using descriptive statistics. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated to investigate difficulty accessing SRH products and services. Qualitative data were analysed using conventional content analysis.

Results

Most participants were aged 18–24 years, and indicated they were trying to avoid pregnancy. The oral contraceptive pill was the most common single method used however nearly 20% reported they were not using contraception. Women who were employed had less trouble accessing contraception during lockdown. Participants reported delaying childbearing or deciding to remain childfree due to COVID-19.

Conclusion

COVID-19 lockdown impacted the SRH of Australian women. Findings highlight the importance of continued access to SRH services and products during global emergencies.



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