Medical Monday: Weekly News Update in Obstetrics and Gynecology 

Did you know that some insurance companies offer rebate incentives to get indicated mammograms ? A recent editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association called this “ an ethically disconcerting distraction”. What do you think ? I think advanced breast cancer is far more expensive than early cancer caught and cured. 

A new study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health has shown that less than half of new mothers returning to work have adequate space and time to pump. Meanwhile, in related news, the Army now requires commanders to allow breastfeeding soldiers to have time and space to pump. To clarify, many soldiers stay stateside or in non-hostile countries with family on bases and serve in technical or support positions. 

One article and two more separate recent studies indicate a higher infant mortality for non- hospital births than hospital births. ACOG estimates risk at two to threefold across the board. Remember there is also evidence demonstrating a 14 fold incidence of first Apgar of ZERO in those delivering their first baby at home. All this seems self evident to me given all my eyes have seen. 

The American College of Physicians has come out against routine pelvic exams in the the asymptomatic woman. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has made it clear it supports annual pelvic exams. Recall that pelvic exams need not always include a pap, since a pap is the collection of cells from the cervix to be evaluated in the lab. Pelvic exams confer a wealth of information about infection, pelvic relaxation, masses in the uterus, masses in the ovaries, etc. Ask any ob/gyn; They will tell you they find significant things on pelvic exams in asymptomatic women all the time. It looks like this needs to be formally studied. 

Uh oh, more bad news for Essure, those little coils placed in the tubes for sterilization. (Darn it, this seemed so promising. ) A new study in the British Medical Journal evaluated over 52,000 women sterilized with Essure. These women were 10 times more likely to go to surgery in the following year than those that were sterilized with a traditional tubal sterilization procedure. It is interesting to note that the FDA ( Food and Drug Administration) did NOT require documentation of Essure’s performance though a RCT ( randomized controlled trial). 

A study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has shown 61% of women obtaining mammograms will have at least one false positive report. They are advocating that physicians do more to educate and reduce anxiety associated with these results. 

In the good news and empowerment department, a Norwegian Study reports that pregnant women who exercise regularly in the three months prior to pregnancy report less pelvic pain in pregnancy that their non exercising counterparts. And this is making me smile: High impact exercise was the most strongly associated with decreased pain. So, did these women go through life feeling less pain to begin with thus tolerate exercise and pregnancy better, or did the performance of the exercise change something about the way they perceive pain ? A study like this cannot answer these questions, but they are interesting to ask. 

Stay tunes for more news form the world of OB/GYN next week on Medical Monday.