Given the pandemic and daily increasing expansion of COVID-19 world-wide, paying special attention to women’s health is of vital importance. Women have been considered among the sensitive groups and are consequently in need of special care. Sexual health care programs and guidelines for women should be codified in global, national, and local levels. Thus, health care policymakers are recommended to develop special protective programs for supporting women and girls so as to protect and enhance their health as well as the health of their families and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. – source
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted the sexual and reproductive health of women who have experienced induced abortion in early pregnancy, reports a recent China study.
Researchers enrolled 3,789 eligible participants, of whom 2,054 contributed data from before the pandemic and 1,735 provided information during the COVID-19 lockdown. The variables of interest included frequency of intercourse, contraceptive use, reasons for abortion, and choice of abortion methods.
Frequency of sexual intercourse was significantly decreased during lockdown compared to the pre-pandemic period (p<0.001). Multivariable logistic regression analysis found that the COVID-19 lockdown was correlated with a nearly threefold increase in the likelihood of low intercourse frequency (odds ratio [OR], 2.878, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 2.485–3.332).
Meanwhile, contraception was significantly increased during the pandemic (p<0.001). In particular, the use of condoms, the rhythm method, and coitus interruptus all grew in prevalence (p<0.001 for all), while fewer women used oral contraceptives (p<0.001).
Seeking out abortion services due to social factors likewise increased during the COVID-19 lockdown (p<0.001), though no change in the choice of abortion methods was reported (p=0.360). In particular, most continued to choose surgical abortion over medical methods.
“These findings demonstrate that the pandemic dramatically affects sexual health among women. Basic reproductive health services and contraceptives supply chain operations should be guaranteed to protect the rights and health of women during the COVID-19 pandemic. Future research should look into the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sexual and reproductive health,” the researchers said.
Sci Rep 2021;11:16310