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Reproductive Health Access During Covid-19 Report

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Updated: Feb 28th, 2022

Introduction

Health systems in the United States of America, especially access to reproductive health, have been majorly affected during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic. In resulted in the shutdown in health economic sectors and a change in individuals’ day-to-day sexual and reproductive life. As the virus spreads rapidly, the ongoing situation has exposed how government systems are not well prepared. The most significant impact can be observed regarding women’s ability to access reproductive health services. As the globe’s actions are focused on containing Covid-19, there is a gap in how reproductive health is being handled currently.

This existing gap shows the need to employ an approach that involves dealing with health care in all aspects long after the Covid-19 pandemic ends. As Covid-19 strikes havoc across the USA, the existence of inequalities and discrimination is not new during the crisis for women (Matias et al. 879). In the USA, individuals are locked up in their homes because of the Covid-19 policies needed to avert the virus, which has led this to be a major barrier hindering reproductive health care. Because of the importance of the coronavirus pandemic, the presented paper focuses on the experienced impacts regarding reproductive health access and problems women might face today.

Limited Access to Healthcare for Women

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, individuals are required to stay in their homes to avoid being infected with the coronavirus. Marginalized groups, including women, are the ones most affected during this period. One of the factors explaining it is the existence of discriminative practices that might influence the given group (Matias et al. 879). Regardless of all attempts to improve the situation, women remain vulnerable during serious conflicts or crises because of the absence of robust mechanisms to protect their rights and freedoms, including the right to the appropriate reproductive health services (Matias et al. 879). The statistics prove this fact, as females have been reported to be the most affected cohort in terms of reproductive healthcare because of the Covid-19 restrictions (Bass 264). Women in toxic relationships continue to face the effects of the pandemics and lockdown as violence rates in households and families increased (Burton et al. 774). For this reason, the issue acquires the top priority today.

Contraceptives are not easily accessed by women in the US, mainly during the current Covid-19 pandemic. Many women who need to consult with a specialist to select an appropriate contraception method face barriers stipulated by the lockdown, which negatively influences their reproductive health (Bass 266). Some women prefer the installation of IUD and hormonal implants, but the scheduled procedures are limited by personal visits (Bass 266). Other routine services, including natal and post-natal care, have been hindered by the restriction of movements due to the Covid-19 crisis. Home births are also considered by some of these women despite posing high risks to the expectant mother.

The problematic access to reproductive health services can also be linked to the problem of chronic illnesses and the need for regular consultations to guarantee recovery and provide a woman with a chance to have a child. Statistics show the tendency towards the increase in the number of females with chronic diseases of reproductive systems in recent five years (Bass 266). However, today, because of the focus on Covid-19 patients, they are limited in opportunities to acquire the needed treatment, which might promote adverse effects on their health and the health of the nation.

Health Policies

Health policies across several states in the US have been altered to stop the spread of Covid-19. New regulations might include a recommendation to avoid making intensive exams on women who are not pregnant (Legato et al.). These guidelines can be viewed as a controversial one as routine exams can help to discover other dangerous conditions, such as cancer (Bass 266). It means that women suffer from limited access to reproductive health services, which is especially dangerous for would-be mothers. There is an attempt to improve the situation and introduce specific online services to provide consultations to females with problems in the given area and help them; however, in some cases, it might be ineffective as a detailed examination is required (Burton et al. 775). The existing situation can be viewed as a serious challenge to policymakers and the state in general because if the forecasted scenario worsens, the further limitation of the ability to consult with a specialist will precondition a drastic rise in the number of problems linked to reproductive health.

Challenges Promoted by Policies

The policies for Covid-19 in the US have been beneficial in containing the spread of the virus, but, at the same time, they introduced several challenges in reproductive health access. Violence against women in households has rapidly increased due to the policy which required individuals in the USA to stay at home leading to a continuous trend in domestic violence (Dlamini). Females have also been obliged to miss doctor’s appointments due to restrictions on movements depriving them of a chance to control their reproductive health (Legato et al.). Homebirth methods have been adopted by some of the women despite the high risk this practice poses due to the lack of appropriate delivering conditions (Sharma et al. 210). Women in the US have also had to face the effects of the policy, which inhibits them from a routine medical check-up and access to birth control methods such as sterilization (Wastnedge et al. 315). This has led to an uncontrolled birth situation over the past few months. Many females continue to suffer from prohibitions since, in their homes, they are not able to access the expert vision of reproductive health care and improve their states (Wastnedge et al. 315). In such a way, the current method of struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic shows little effectiveness in protecting the rights of people for health services. Women become one of the most vulnerable groups because of their specific requirements and the existing disparities.

Conclusion

Altogether, the current situation with access to reproductive health remains difficult. Females become an extremely vulnerable cohort and suffer from limits introduced by new regulations and policies. The lockdown and the cancellation of regular meetings with doctors might be effective to avoid the further spread of the pandemic; however, for numerous females, it means the inability to monitor their reproductive health and the deterioration of their chronic diseases. The isolation might bring more severe effects because of the decreasing buying capacity of citizens, which means that women will suffer from the lack of medicines. For this reason, there is a need for some changes to improve the situation and guarantee appropriate access to reproductive health services.

References

Bass, Maya. “Caring for Patients’ Reproductive Healthcare During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling, vol. 74, no. 4, 2020, pp. 265–268. Web.

Burton, Élan C., et al. International Social Work, vol. 63, no. 6, 2020, pp. 771–776. Web.

Dlamini, Judy. Critical Sociology, 2020. Web.

Legato, Marianne J., et al. Gender and the Genome, 2020. Web.

Matias, Thiago, et al. Journal of Health Psychology, vol. 25, no. 7, 2020, pp. 871–882. Web.

Sharma, Vinit, et al. Journal of Health Management, vol. 22, no. 2, 2020, pp. 206–214. Web.

Wastnedge, E. et al. Physiological Reviews, vol. 101, no. 1, 2020, pp. 303-318. Web.

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