Contraception during Coronavirus

At St Peter’s Medical Centre provision of safe, effective contraception is an important service for our patients, even in the middle of a global pandemic.

However HOW we provide that service will change in the next few weeks / months.

This is to reduce demand on our clinical services when they will be stretched, and also to reduce the need for patients to visit the surgery, reduce mixing of the population and reduce virus spread.

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare has produced recent guidance which allows us to safely relax some of the normal ‘rules’ in prescribing contraception for the time being.

It’s important to use your contraception safely. If you are not clear about the standard ‘rules’ for safe use please see fpa.org.uk to refresh your understanding.

Please see the types of contraception below to see what to expect during the pandemic and how guidance for your method may have changed.

Emergency contraception

Emergency Contraception (Morning after Pills) can be prescribed following a telephone consultation with a doctor or nurse practitioner. We will do our best to keep providing copper coils for emergency contraception too. Call us as soon as possible.

Contraceptive Pill  / Patch / Nuvaring

For women who are well established on the pill / patch / nuvaring, in many cases we will be able to provide a continuation prescription for you at this time without the need for a review appointment. Please make sure the surgery knows which pharmacy you would like us to send your prescription to.

If you have an up to date weight and /or blood pressure please share these with us when requesting the prescription, but do NOT leave home or put yourself or others at risk (e.g. by using a “shielded” patient’s BP machine) to get these measurements.

If you have had any major changes to your health in the last year, developed migraines with visual changes before them, or started smoking, please inform us when requesting your medication and we may arrange a phone review to make sure your contraception continues to be safe for you.

For women who wish to start the contraceptive pill / patch / ring we will organize a telephone appointment, as there are definitely pills that can be prescribed remotely but our options may be more limited if you are starting contraception.

 Contraceptive Injection

For preference, if women are confident to take the progesterone only pill, we would prefer to switch women to this when their injection is due to run out.

If you have had difficulty with the progesterone only pill or do not feel confident to take this safely, we should still be able to provide an injection for you. We’d like to talk to you about this first.

Contraceptive Implant

New guidance has explained that pregnancy risk is low with the implant up until 4 years after insertion – so current users can safely defer replacing your implant at this time.

If your implant goes beyond 4 years, we recommend you contact us to start a Progesterone Only Pill for secure contraception., on top of the implant which is safe.

We will only remove implants at this time if a patient wants to get pregnant or is having serious side effects. An abnormal bleeding pattern would need to be very problematic to warrant coming for removal at this time.

We will not be replacing / fitting any new implants during the Covid 19 pandemic unless very exceptional circumstances.

Intrauterine Contraceptive Devices / Coils

New guidance has explained that due to low risk of pregnancy, the duration of safe use for some coils has been extended during the pandemic. See below.

IMPORTANT> Mirena coils used as part of an HRT package to keep wombs safe from oestrogen ONLY LAST 5 YEARS. Women in this category must contact the practice to discuss next steps before their Mirena runs out.

Mirena coils can be relied on for contraception for up to 6 years.

If a Mirena is fitted above age 45 it works for contraception up to age 55

Jaydess coils cannot be relied on beyond 3 years – use condoms or we can prescribe the Progesterone only pill on top beyond 3 years.

Kyleena coils cannot be relied on beyond 5 years– use condoms or we can prescribe the Progesterone only pill on top beyond 5 years.

Copper Coils / IUDs licensed to last 10 years can be safely used up to 12 years.

Copper Coils licensed to last 5 years should not be relied on beyond 5 years.

Any IUD / copper coil inserted after the age of 45 (including a 5 year copper coil) will provide adequate contraception until age 55.

Coils can safely stay in place beyond the end of their license for a few years without risk to women so there is not need to remove coils at this time unless patients are seeking pregnancy or have significant side effects. We will talk to you about this first.

We will only fit/ replace routine coils at this time in very exceptional circumstances.

Diaphragms/ Caps

We will not be fitting diaphragms at this time. Please consider condoms.

Condoms

We are unable to supply condoms under the C card scheme for those under 25 years old at this time.