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The love-hate relationship between COVID-19 and family planning

by Dr Juliana Latif
Thursday, June 3, 2021

The love-hate relationship between COVID-19 and family planning

COVID-19 has turned many of our lives upside down and most of us have had to make constant and necessary adjustments to day-to-day living.

Working from home is what hits most non-essential workers. Not having to rush to work every day and having more time to spend with loved ones seems godsent, but at the same time, it has also brought about friction resulting in family emergencies.

In Singapore, there is another type of emergency brewing. Emergency contraceptive pills and long-term oral contraceptives had hit a four-year high. 17,275 boxes of emergency contraceptive pills, which represents a jump of 45%, were sold in the year 2021 (Straits Times, 6th May 2021). Long-term oral contraceptives, on the other hand, increased by 16% to hit 164,438 boxes.

You are required to consult a doctor to get a prescription for these medications.

What can be the possible reasons for this phenomenon? Some are offered:

1)     Possible job losses and job instability

2)     Accommodation uncertainty. Imagine 85% of BTO projects face potential delays of 6 to 9 months, affecting 43,000 households (Straits Times, 7th April 2021). Private projects face similar delay of 6 to 9 months (Straits Times, 23 July 2020)

3)     Usual medicine supply has been cut off as one is unable to travel overseas to get cheaper alternatives

4)     The increase in adoption of telemedicine services. Women tend to be the ones getting the medicine and this shift to telemedicine appears to reduce the embarrassment in requesting for the medicine which can be delivered to their doorstop

5)     The opposite can happen. More time spent indoors can spark on a series of spontaneous activities including love making.

While there are other birth control options available, the medication possibly offers a less invasive and more affordable option to the masses. The monthly costs start from S$30 depending on the medication selected. However, do consult our female doctor if you have any queries.

During this period, do stay healthy and check on your health status.

 

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