Uptake of long-acting reversible contraception after telemedicine delivered abortion during Covid-19

Angharad Dixon, John J. Reynolds-Wright*, Sharon T. Cameron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: During COVID-19, early medical abortion (EMA) at home in Scotland was largely delivered by telemedicine. Short-acting post-abortion contraception was provided with EMA medications, but long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) (implant, injectable and intrauterine device) required an in-person visit. We wished to assess LARC uptake following telemedicine abortion, and factors associated with method receipt. Methods: A prospective observational cohort study of patients accessing abortion via NHS Lothian (October 2020 to February 2021). Patients were offered contraception at telemedicine consultation and their choice was recorded in their clinical notes. Those wishing LARC were directed to the service’s rapid-access LARC clinic. We reviewed electronic patient records six weeks post-abortion to determine whether patients received their chosen method. Results: 944 patients had an abortion; 768 (81.4%) had EMA, 131 (13.9%) had a medical or surgical abortion in hospital. The most popular contraceptive method was the progestogen-only pill (n = 324, 34%). 330 patients (35%) requested LARC but less than half (153/330; 46%) received this. Of patients choosing LARC, those who attended the clinic for a pre-abortion ultrasound, or had an abortion in hospital, were more likely to initiate LARC than those having full telemedicine EMA. Nulliparity, gestation over 7 weeks, and age under-26 years were also positively associated with initiating LARC. Conclusion: During COVID-19 there was demand for post-abortion LARC but less than half of patients received this by six weeks. Provision was enhanced when in-person clinical interactions took place. Interventions are required to facilitate timely access and initiation of LARC with telemedicine delivered abortion care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-288
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • abortion
  • Contraception
  • LARC
  • telemedicine


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