The Trump administration has said that the patients displaced by closures of Planned Parenthood offices can be absorbed by community health centers. However, a new survey out by Kaiser has indicated that fewer than one in five community health center will be able to compensate in this manner. Planned Parenthood may be apt to close if they cannot receive Title X funding through Medicaid on account of including abortion in their counseling or practice.
A new Ohio law due to take effect later this month would have criminalized abortions done for Down syndrome. However, a Federal Judge has blocked the law, calling unconstitutional. In particular, it has been determined to violate the 14th Amendment due to violations of both liberty and privacy.
Certain crisis pregnancy centers have no medical credentials whatsoever. Instead, they are merely storefronts for anti-choice or religious advocacy. The Supreme Court will hear arguments this week about the nature of their obligation to disclose their credentials and their agenda.
The Contraceptive mandate was rolled back in Massachusetts. The state has challenged this but initially has failed to show enough data on adverse effects on the people of the state. The State plans to also argue that the rollback challenges the First Amendment which contains a prohibition against the establishment of religion by the government.
New fast track legislation for the FDA ( Food and Drug Administration) called “Right to Try” has been under consideration. This would have streamlined/abbreviated the testing and approval process for certain potentially beneficial drugs, thereby getting them to more patients sooner. Proponents cited potential benefit, while opponents cited potential harms of less than completely tested drugs. The House failed to pass the measure failing to meet a 2/3 majority.
The problem of appalling and increasing Maternal Mortality in the United States is squarely on the table now. Researchers are now focusing on several factors which may have led to this perfect storm. In addition to funding cuts and clinic closures, a shortage of Obstetric providers and rural hospitals providing Obstetric care is now in the mix.
Stepping back, I'd like to remind readers that Mortality means death. However, for every mother who dies a childbirth associated death, there are 70 others who are near death and critically ill. This is the “ Morbidity” part of the equation. A new study has shown that addressing maternal Morbidity and Mortality in the States would greatly bring down the cost of healthcare.
I would add that since 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned, that the contraceptive mandate might be worth its weight in gold to decrease maternal Morbidity and Mortality in rural areas and in general. Case in point: Colorado, home of my residency alma mater, the University of Colorado, has made sure safe and effective birth control was available all across the state, rural areas included. As a direct result, rural teen pregnancy rates fell by over half between 2007 and 2014.
New research on teen pregnancy indicates that childhood bullying and various forms of rejection seems to be a risk factor in teen pregnancy. It is even more so for lesbian and bisexual girls, something caregivers should bear in mind.
The field of Obstetrics is beginning to grapple with gender issues in the field. In 1970, only 7% of ObGyns were women. Now, 59% are. Furthermore, only 17% of ObGyn residents are men, and residents are the future. What are the ramifications for women’s health? Will men be excluded from the field by patient preference or institutional customs?
Everyone has hailed the balancing of the field as a good thing. However, is it good if Obstetrics and Gynecology becomes devoid of men? One recent meta-analysis says 8% of patients prefer men Ob/Gyns and 41% have no preference. Here are some factors in the debate:
- Patients may legally discriminate regarding who sees them.
- Assuming that a certain gender will be insensitive or unprofessional is unfair.
- Male medical students going into any specialty may be denied important clinical experience in their training if they are excluded from rooms.
- Both men and women can and have made significant contributions to Obstetrics and Gynecology.
- Outside of Obstetrics and Gynecology, men dominate 37 of the 42 other specialties, and fewer than a third of other doctors are women.
- People want caregivers that are relatable, but their most important priority is to have a good doctor.
- Women Ob/Gyns are not good Ob/Gyns because of their biology. It is because of learning, skill, and experience. These are gender neutral.
- How male caregivers are introduced has a great deal to do with how well they are accepted.
- The healthcare and health status of women is something everyone in society should care about and be able to work on.
What do you think? Have had both male and female Ob/Gyns and have liked them all.
Marijuana in pregnancy is again in the news. A recent study presented at the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine has found an association between MJ use in pregnancy and the following outcomes: increased risk for stillbirth, increased risk of preterm birth, increased incidence of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy.
Predicting cardiac risk in women is different than predicting it in men. In women, central obesity is a particular concern. Increasing BMI predicts increased cardiovascular risk. However, large waist to hip ratio predicts it even better in women.
Dr. Barbara Levy, vice president of health policy for ACOG, has stated that labioplasty for purely cosmetic reasons should be cautiously considered since it is the removal of sexually functional tissue. Labioplasty for cosmetic or supposedly performance-related purposes is becoming increasingly popular, even among young women. I would add that it is often a cash up front business that practices use to bolster their income.
Zika virus infection in pregnancy produces discernible malformations of the brain and eyes 7% of the time, across the board. The rate is higher if the infection is contracted in the first trimester. There is some evidence that the rates of malformation varied by country.
In the good news department, women who are “ highly fit” in midlife may be less likely to get dementia later in life. This study ran over 44 years on about 1500 women in Sweden. Those only moderately fit saw some delay of dementia as well.
Also in the good news department is the following: Scott Gottlieb, FDA commissioner, has announced plans to impose new lower limits on nicotine in cigarettes to make them minimally or non-addictive. While certain people will still roll their own, it seems certain that the population as a whole will benefit.
Stay tuned next week here, for more breaking news from the world of Obstetrics and Gynecology.