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Davina McCall documentary calls for a research revolution on contraceptives

Our Ambassador Davina McCall's new documentary 'The Pill Revolution' is out on Channel 4

Davina McCall in a red coat sitting and facing camera with head in hand. Behind her is a big billboard of a purple pill packet.

Davina’s documentaries on the menopause started a national conversation. Now, she’s turning her attention to the contraceptive pill after watching the struggles of her 19-year-old daughter.

The documentary, ‘Davina McCall's Pill Revolution’, looks at the existing evidence base, side effects and other contraceptive options. It features Davina having a Mirena coil fitted by Wellbeing of Women Chair, Professor Dame Lesley Regan, to help demystify the process.

Davina hopes her new film leads to more research, better care and broader contraceptive options for women.

A survey of more than 4,000 women and people assigned female at birth was commissioned as part of the Channel 4 documentary.

It shows that 77% of contraceptive pill users say they experienced side effects while taking it and 57% said they were worried about the possible effects of hormonal contraception on their mental health.

It makes me feel angry too because we deserve better. Better research, better knowledge, better quality of care, more funding. This is a conversation we have to have so let’s start a contraception revolution. Davina McCall Wellbeing of Women Ambassador & TV Presenter

Currently, 45% of pregnancies in England are unplanned and one in four pregnancies ends in termination. Part of the problem is access to contraception which is much harder than it was a decade ago, explains Professor Dame Lesley Regan, due to the way health services are commissioned.

As part of the Women’s Health Strategy, Dame Lesley hopes that the Women’s Health Hubs, for which the government has earmarked £25m, will improve the situation, partly by replacing the sexual health and family planning clinics, which have been cut.

Contraception also plays a key role in helping women and girls to manage period pains, heavy bleeding and irregular cycles caused by common gynaecological conditions, such as endometriosis, adenomyosis and polycystic ovary syndrome.

Janet Lindsay, CEO of Wellbeing of Women, says:

“We welcome Davina’s documentary and the call for a contraception revolution. It’s vital women and girls have easy access to information and evidence on whatever contraceptive method they choose.

“It’s extremely concerning that women continue to struggle to access contraception and are not fully aware of the range of contraceptives available to them, as well as the benefits and risks from each option.

“We strongly recommend people to speak to their doctor or nurse before stopping their current contraceptive method - there are many other alternative options which may be suitable for them. Janet Lindsay CEO, Wellbeing of Women

“Contraception is a fundamental right and no woman or girl should have an unplanned pregnancy, go through abortion or suffer from debilitating gynaecological symptoms due to lack of access. We hope the government’s Women’s Health Hub strategy will address this serious issue in all regions across the country," adds Janet.

“Women and girls deserve better. We need greater awareness, education, and accessibility, as well as more research. We are funding research in sexual and reproductive healthcare with the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) and will continue to advocate for women and girls’ needs.”

For more information about contraception, visit our resources page.

Watch our Let's Talk Contraception with top experts Professor Dame Lesley Regan, Dr Asha Kasliwal, former President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, and Alice Pelton from the Lowdown.

Find out more about the WoW-FSRH research funding available.