Research Article

Contraceptives, counselling, and pregnancy in women with sickle cell disease.

BMJ 1993; 306 doi: (Published 26 June 1993) Cite this as: BMJ 1993;306:1735
  1. R J Howard,
  2. C Lillis,
  3. S M Tuck
  1. University Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Royal Free Hospital, London.


    Sickle cell disease is listed in the manufacturers' data sheets in the United Kingdom as a contraindication to the use of most combined contraceptive pills; the result is confused advice on family planning to a group of women who are at substantial risk from both planned and unplanned pregnancy. A study in north London on the use of contraceptives by women with sickle cell disease indicates that the use of combined oral contraceptives is common. Although medical staff usually advised against pregnancy, such advice was almost always ignored. Over half of the women surveyed had some knowledge about antenatal diagnosis. Family planning advice should be an integral part of the care of women with sickle cell disease. In the absence of specific data to the contrary all methods of contraception may be considered, although with appropriate caution.