SHINE SA media release: CONTRACEPTION IS ESSENTIAL IN PREVENTING RISE IN UNINTENDED PREGNANCY DURING COVID-19

SHINE SA Media Release: 2 April 2020

Sexual and reproductive health must remain at the forefront of our minds during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is possible that throughout this crisis we may see a rise in unintended pregnancy as well as incidences of domestic violence, sexual violence and sexual coercion.  Unfortunately this could come at a time where our health systems are focused on the prevention and management of the pandemic itself. In addition to general sexual health services, access to pregnancy options including abortion may be impacted over the next 6 months.

Unintended pregnancy rates are already high in Australia. It is estimated that half of all pregnancies are unplanned. It is possible that self-isolation/quarantine measures could see an increase in unprotected sexual activity without reliable forms of contraception. These circumstances may contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections in an environment where support systems and personal wellbeing have been affected.

SHINE SA asks that people consider all of their contraceptive choices at this time. This includes long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) options, especially if they do not wish to become pregnant in the near future. These options can be discussed with a general practitioner.

It’s also important that people are aware that they can access the emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) from community pharmacies. Oral emergency contraception is effective up to 120 hours after unprotected sex but the sooner it is taken, the greater the effectiveness.

  • South Australians looking for advice on any sexual health issue including contraception and unintended pregnancy can call SHINE SA’s Sexual Healthline.
    This is a free and confidential service provided by SHINE SA’s sexual health nurses. Call: 1300 883 793; Toll free: 1800 188 171 (country callers only).
    The Sexual Healthline is open Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 12:30pm.
  • Australians can also call 1800 RESPECT, the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and information referral service. This service is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Yarrow Place Rape and Sexual Assault Service is a South Australian service for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. Call 8226 8777 or visit the Yarrow Place website for more information.
  • Visit the SHINE SA website for more information on Emergency ContraceptionChoices in Contraception and Safer Sex.
  • Download this Media Release.

Hidden Forces: Shining a light on Reproductive Coercion (White Paper)

Marie Stopes Australia, 2018

Reproductive Coercion (RC) is behaviour that interferes with the autonomy of a person to make decisions about their reproductive health. Many Australians do not have full control over their reproductive choices. Their choices are constrained by people in their familial and community networks or by structural forces at play in our society.

Reproductive Coercion is gaining greater attention in Australia. Brave people are coming forward to share stories of their lived experience of Reproductive Coercion in order to build greater understanding of this important issue and how it has shaped their lives.

For twenty months, Marie Stopes Australia coordinated a public consultation process that has culminated in this White Paper on Reproductive Coercion. This White Paper has emerged following a roundtable of 50 stakeholders, two phases of public submissions, comment on a draft White Paper and targeted engagement of leading
academics, healthcare professionals and psychosocial specialists.

84 submissions that have informed the development of this White Paper. These submissions have provided a wide spectrum of views on this complex issue.

 

Emergency contraception awareness in an at‐risk population

Hope, D. L., Hattingh, L. and King, M. A. (2019) J Pharm Pract Res. doi:10.1002/jppr.1554

Background

Consumer awareness of emergency contraception is generally poor. School leavers (schoolies) engage in risky behaviours, including casual sex and alcohol and drug consumption.

Aim

The aim of this study was to explore the awareness of an at‐risk population of schoolies regarding the use and availability of emergency contraception.

Methods

An electronic survey was self‐administered by participants using Wi‐Fi‐connected iPads at the Schoolies Wristband Distribution Centre, Surfers Paradise, on the first day of Queensland Schoolies Week, November 2017. Outcomes measured were awareness of the availability of emergency contraception from a pharmacy, maximum time for effective use following unprotected intercourse and whether emergency contraception is harmful to the health of the user.

Results

Schoolies completed 498 valid surveys. Most (83.5%) were aged 17 years and 50.8% were aware that emergency contraception is available from community pharmacies with prescription and 36.7% were aware that it is available without prescription; 18.5% were aware of the 72‐ or 120‐h effectiveness window and 38.0% agreed that it is not harmful. All questions were associated with considerable uncertainty. Females were 1.8‐ to 3.2‐fold more likely than males to provide an appropriate response to any emergency contraception statement.

Conclusion

Schoolies’ awareness of emergency contraception availability, effectiveness window and safety was low. At‐risk schoolies may not access emergency contraception when indicated due to fear of harm, uncertainty about its effectiveness window or a lack of knowledge about timely non‐prescription access from community pharmacies. Targeted education may improve current knowledge gaps. The misnomer ‘morning‐after pill’ should be abandoned for the clinically appropriate term ‘emergency contraception.

 

More than half of fertility and period-tracker apps ineffective at predicting ovulation, study finds

ABC Health & Wellbeing,  17/09/2019

An Australian study of the most downloaded fertility apps has found over half didn’t perform well at predicting ovulation — which is exactly what many users are using these apps for.

The findings, by researchers at Eve Health Fertility in Brisbane in conjunction with Queensland Fertility Group, were presented at a Fertility Society of Australia conference this week in Hobart.

Updated fact sheet on Fertility Awareness Methods (FAMs)

SHINE SA, May 2019

We have recently updated our fact sheet on Fertility Awareness Methods (FAMs). 

There has been a rise in popularity of  period tracking and fertility tracking apps, used for ‘calendar-based’ fertility awareness methods. FAMs are methods where people become aware of the signs of fertility and learn to detect when they are most likely to become pregnant.

These methods rely on the motivation, experience, commitment and cooperation of all sexual partners to be effective for contraception or conception.

The fact sheet answers question such as ‘how effective are such methods?’ and ‘what are the advantages and disadvantages?.

Women taking pill may be less likely to suffer ACL injury, study finds

The Guardian,