Sexual and Reproductive Health During a Pandemic

by | Sep 6, 2021 | Sexual Health | 0 comments



We live in unprecedented times – the Covid-19 pandemic has caused worldwide confusion.

In times of stress, we forget the most important thing – our physical and mental health, but this is exactly the time when it should be addressed more intensively, including sexuality issues.

I-SHARE – a study on sexual and reproductive health

A summer study of 32 countries looked at how the pandemic affected sexual and reproductive health and relationships.

The results of the I-SHARE study (International Sexual Health and Reproductive Health Survey in COVID-19) will be presented at the end of the year, together with recommendations for policy makers and implementing institutions.

Besides the economic impact of the pandemic, it has had a significant impact on family relationships, sex life, family planning, contraception and the increase in violence.

However, it is not possible to draw generalized conclusions, because the surrounding people are different and the impact of Covid-19 on them may be different. 

Man is a sexual being, sex life is a very important part of our lives. This must not be neglected.


Pregnancy and access to medical care

Currently, the most important topics in the field of reproductive health are family planning, the availability and use of contraceptives.

However, the course of pregnancy and maternal mortality during a pandemic must be taken equally seriously.

The I-SHARE study models various situations related to this topic in 132 low- and middle-income countries:

  • Using long-term contraceptives is reduced by 10%. As a result, there will be over 15 million unplanned pregnancies.
  • There will also be no care for pregnant women and newborns, and about 28,000 maternal deaths have been estimated.
  • The projected data on abortion are also worrying, as safe abortion could be unavailable with proven modern methods, and could cause over 3 million unsafe abortions and the death of at least 1,000 women.

The pandemic raises the already sensitive issue of domestic violence, mostly against women, but interpersonal violence also affects men, as it is not always physical. It can also be emotional and economic violence.

These data, although not directly comparable to our situation, suggest how we can get out of this situation better.

Taboo subject and lack of education

  • Sexuality, reproductive health and also contraception are not the most important topics in our policy-making, although they directly affect the country’s economic performance and tax revenues.
  • At the same time, relatively little is said about it in society, as it is still on the list of taboo topics.

1173 respondents took part in the I-SHARE survey: 88% of the respondents were women, but only 12% – men.

This proves that there is still a public perception that family planning and contraception are the sole responsibility of women.

One of the main findings of the study is directly related to sexual education. Sex education plays a very important role not only in maintaining and promoting the health of girls but also in shaping the attitude of boys towards these issues.

Even more so when there is so much conflicting information all around, clear and understandable communication with the public is needed.

Contraception in family planning during a pandemic

Respondents admit that they most often choose a condom as a method of contraception. Hormonal methods used 13.8%, hormonal spiral 6.9% and almost 23% – aborted intercourse.

Over 14% of respondents use natural contraceptive methods, but their effectiveness (protection against unplanned pregnancy) is lower than modern methods.

To whether the pandemic affected pregnancy planning, we answer:

It is still difficult to judge this, because the Covid-19 exhibition has not been very long.

Most people think about having a baby and plan to become pregnant when they feel relatively safe, so this figure can be both a plus and a minus sign.

The survey shows that 20% of respondents admit that sexual activity is still declining. One-third of couples, both men and women, say there is more tension.

For some women, satisfaction with sex life decreases, while for men this factor does not change much. Sexual partnerships outside the family for those who have them are not reduced.

Should i give birth during pandemic?

We should not postpone the decision on contraception to tomorrow, because nothing will change tomorrow.

Use effective long-term contraception so that if pregnancy is not planned, you would not experience the additional problems that we all face caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Complications can occur if a woman has an unplanned pregnancy and wants to end it, but has been in contact with Covid-19 or needs to be isolated.

It happens when doctors say,

“Cure Covid-19, and then come again.”

In many places, this has allowed telemedicine to develop by offering women counseling on medical abortion.

However, if the couple is of childbearing age but no longer wants children, we recommend it to choose reversible methods of contraception, as natural reproduction is practically impossible after surgical manipulations.

For those who want to give birth to children, there are no other recommendations than:

  • Love;
  • Positive emotions;
  • Healthy sexual relations;
  • Complete nutrition;
  • Physical activity.

Simple things that help with both pregnancy planning and the fight against Covid-19.

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