Experiences with accessing contraception during COVID-19: A qualitative exploration
Awarded 2021
Complex Family Planning Fellowship Research
Heather Gold, MD
Emory University

Background: The Covid-19 pandemic has interrupted family planning services, such as by canceling or rescheduling appointments with little notice (Tschann, Lange, Ly, & Hilliard, 2020). A May 2020 national patient survey demonstrated changes to pregnancy intention and attitudes towards contraception (Lindberg, VandeVusse, Mueller, & Kirstein, 2020). Even before the pandemic, Georgia had high rates of maternal mortality, unintended pregnancy, and teen pregnancy (Kost, 2015) . It also has restrictive abortion laws (“State Facts About Abortion”). Accordingly, Georgia residents are potentially more vulnerable to the pandemic’s negative impact on reproductive healthcare.
Objectives: We aim to qualitatively explore the impact of the pandemic on access to contraception and the clinical outcomes of resulting changes in that access. Our primary research question is, “What are the experiences of people in Georgia who reported accessing contraception during the Covid-19 pandemic? ” Specifically, we will explore barriers and facilitators to contraceptive care, any resulting changes in reproductive goals or contraceptive behaviors, and unintended pregnancies as outcomes.
Design and Methods: Using a qualitative study design, we will interview people in Georgia who were assigned female at birth and who are of reproductive age. Participants for this study will be recruited via an ongoing state-wide, online survey on sexual and reproductive health. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted over Zoom and analyzed for inductive and deductive themes.
Potential Impact: By exploring the relationship of complex factors influencing contraception access and use, we will improve our understanding of where to best focus efforts on improving reproductive service access.