Contraception affects different people in different ways. We’re pretty sure everyone has one friend who says the implant is a gift from the gods and another who jokes about removing it themselves. For some people, some methods can have a whole range of benefits that have nothing to do with their reproductive health. For others, the same contraception can impact negatively on mood or mental well-being.
When you add this to the fact that half of all pregnancies in England are unintended, it’s really important that people are making the most informed choices possible about their reproductive health.
After countless conversations with people in clinics it seemed to us that there were lots of ways to improve upon the current conversations people were having in the run-up to choosing a method of contraception. Clinicians have a huge role to play, but they’re not necessarily the ones with the lived experience. We want to bring conversations with clinicians and conversations with peers into the same place.
We’ve spent time researching existing contraception forums and we found that there’s a lot of interest but that threads aren’t consistent, it’s hard to search for a topic you’re interested in and lots of questions are left hanging without answers. There’s a lot of information out there, but people aren’t getting the benefit of it.
In the light of this, we’re really excited to share that we are developing a new part of our service that we hope lots of you will take part in. After a lot of research we mapped out a service and applied for funding from the Health Foundation, who fund lots of innovative healthcare projects. We will be creating a safe space online where people can have conversations about their experiences of contraception, which will be combined with clinical facilitation from an SH:24 contraceptive consultant.
SH:24 Director Lead for Reproductive Health, Safeguarding and Evaluation, Paula Baraitser said:
“For many years I have felt that the 10 minute clinical consultation cannot provide people with the contraceptive information they need. They’re too short, the environment is too stressed and you’re getting a selection of information based on what the doctor thinks is important, which doesn’t necessarily coincide with your needs and concerns. by bringing people, clinical and non-clinical, together online we hope to stimulate a new type of contraceptive consultation that combines the benefits of evidence-based clinical information with the detail and variety of people’s experience to help people make contraceptive decisions that they feel are the right ones for them, and to empower them to change their minds at any point.”