Background With 1.1 billion women needing family planning worldwide, ensuring the continuation of contraception is not only necessary but a right. This right has been threatened in the context of COVID-19, which has resulted in the contraction of sexual and reproductive health services. Despite the UK being affected, little is known about the experiences of young adults who have used and accessed contraception during the COVID-19 pandemic. To address this gap, this study looks at the barriers and facilitators of contraception use and access during the COVID-19 pandemic among young adults in Scotland. Methods This small scale qualitative study conducted one-to-one interviews with 12 women aged between 18-24 years old. The analysis of the in-depth information gained was guided by a socio-ecological framework, thus looking at individual, societal, health system and structural levels. Results Nine main themes have been identified as barriers and facilitators of contraception use and access during the COVDI-19 pandemic in Scotland. These include: perceptions of COVID-19 on contraception decision-making, contraception self-advocacy, stigma and shame, social support, information available, use of technology enabled care services, healthcare provider interactions, health service capacity and lockdown restrictions. Narratives revealed that many young adults adapted their contraception choices, including delaying preferred contraceptive pathways, accessing alternative healthcare services and adjusting to different means of communication with health providers. Conclusions The barriers identified have shown the potential to disrupt positive contraception practices and facilitators have demonstrated the areas where policy and practice can progress to meet the needs of young adults using and accessing contraception during the COVID-19 pandemic. To progress services, the importance of understanding experiences and working with young adults is essential.


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Queen Margaret University. 2023, 'The Barriers and Facilitators in Contraception Access and Use among Young Adults Aged 18-24 in Scotland during COVID-19', Queen Margaret University. https://eresearch.qmu.ac.uk/handle/20.500.12289/12994

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Last updated: 23 March 2023
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