Lockdowns imposed to reduce the spread of coronavirus have put millions of women around the world out of reach of birth control and other sexual and reproductive health needs.
Confined to their homes, women risk facing unwanted pregnancies and have little idea of when they will be able to reach a healthcare provider.
In these uncertain times, women “have to lock down their uterus,” said Abebe Shibru, the Zimbabwe country director for Marie Stopes International says. “But there is no way in a rural area.”
Thousands of clinics around the world have closed while shipments of emergency and other contraceptives have been delayed.
Right now, the options available to you may vary depending on whether health care providers in your area are open. For example, you might not be able to get an IUD or implant if the health center is closed for in-person visits. But you may be able to get a prescription for the birth control pill, patch, or ring online or over the phone. Call your doctor or nurse for more information.
Planned Parenthood says they're doing everything they can to get women the services they need. Check your local Planned Parenthood health center. You may be able to get birth control, either in person or by using telehealth — where you get services through a phone call or video visit.
You can also call your nurse or doctor to see if they can send a refill prescription for the pill, patch, or ring to a local drugstore. Some are able to have your birth control mailed to you through your doctor’s office or health insurance. Many providers allow you to request a few extra months of supply so you can stock up.
Your local Planned Parenthood health center says they may also be able to help you get a birth control prescription or refill. It depends on the state you live in, you may be able to get the pill, patch, or ring online through the Planned Parenthood direct app.
There are still ways to prevent pregnancy if you can’t get birth control. You can use a method that are buy over-the-counter, like condoms. Condoms are at most drugstores, pharmacies, grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, superstores, and online. If you use condoms along with another birth control method, such as spermicide, you’ll get extra protection from pregnancy.
Emergency contraception can help prevent pregnancy if you make a birth control mistake or have unprotected sex. Plan B and other generic brands of emergency contraception pills do not need a prescription. No matter your age or gender, you can buy emergency contraception pills at pharmacies, drugstores, and online.
You can use emergency contraception up to 5 days after you have unprotected sex but the sooner you take them, the better they work.