New research published by Beyond the Pill researchers in Contraception shows that although birth control injections that people can administer themselves increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, the method availability remains persistently low.

Photo of a person with a band-aid on their arm

Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate-subcutaneous (DMPA-SC), is one of the few self-administered birth control options available to patients. Researchers found that US providers became 3.4 times more likely to provide DMPA-SC during the pandemic. However, the method was still only available at 14% of surveyed clinics, and 44% of providers reported being unfamiliar with the method.

Independent abortion care clinics and clinics receiving Title X funds were more likely to offer DMPA-SC for self-administration during the pandemic compared to primary care settings.

The findings suggest that expanded provider training and awareness across different practice settings may increase access to this birth control method. Additional barriers such as cost, billing, insurance coverage, and pharmacy availability suggest the need for additional interventions in these areas. Increased availability to the full range of methods, including DMPA-SC, is especially urgent post-Dobbs, as patients face greater barriers to care.