This week we discuss how to “Quick Start” contraception – on the day your patient requests it.
Take home messages:
- Women are at unnecessary risk of pregnancy in the window between ASKING for contraception and STARTING contraception
- There are clear protocols for starting contraception at any time in a woman’s menstrual cycle (see links below)
- There are no known adverse effects on pregnancy from ordinary hormonal contraceptive methods (except IUDs)
- Contraception can be started even if early pregnancy can’t be excluded, with a repeat pregnancy test in 4 weeks time.
- Using this algorithm reduces unplanned pregnancies in high risk groups.
References & Resources
Quick Start Clinical Protocol – Family Planning Victoria (PDF) – Australia
Quick Start Flow Chart (PDF) – Please note this is a U.S. resource and has minor differences in timing of B-hCG retesting.
Quick Starting Contraception – RCOG UK Guidelines (LINK)
Initiating Hormonal Contraception (Quick Start) (LINK) – American Family Physician (Article by Lesnewski & Prine 2006)