The “Global Gag Rule” is a rule which prohibits international health care organizations from counseling about abortion lest they lose their aid money from the USA. More recently Title X funds are being withheld from groups in the US who perform abortion or mention it as a choice. Many feel this amounts to a domestic gag rule. However, the Trump administration is back peddling, saying it only relieves Title X recipient caregivers of the requirement to mention abortion as an option. These are two very different things. I wonder which is really the case. I wonder too, if this means the Title X grant givers will requests the medical records documenting patients' visits to see what caregivers and patients are discussing. ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) has called this an “egregious intrusion” in the doctor patient relationship. Analysts point out that, additionally, these new rules will give those “health clinics" which oppose abortion and birth control easier access to Title X funds.
The Chair of ACOG New York has produced a guide to the Gyn annual exam for the New York Times. In it, she has explained what to expect, including the holistic nature of the visit. Many people think of the annual Gyn exam as just a pap. However, it is wellness and preventive check that addresses the overall health of the patient. Pelvic exams are performed as indicated according to protocol. Patients are also reminded about what should not take place, such as more touching than is necessary. Patients are reassured that they are entitled to an explanation for everything that is done.
Texas is starting to take the bull by the horns. Maternal mortality and morbidity in Texas has been egregious. Authorities are now honing in on the contributing factors, and devising strategies to address it. The Texas Medical association has drawn up a list of recommendations including statewide legislation to improve health care coverage for pregnancy women, to increase access to long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCS), and to increase the quality of record keeping on maternal complications.
Tobacco smoke from a pregnant women damages the unborn baby’s lungs (among other things). New research indicates that vitamin C may mitigate this risk. The changes from smoking do not simply harm the baby in that time frame. In utero exposure to those chemicals induce changes in the baby's genes (epigenetic change) which may persist throughout life.
SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) has been a worry for some time. I remember when it was first defined. At that time, we had no clue about its cause. It remains incompletely understood. However we now understand that the odds of it are greatly reduced when the parents do not smoke, and also when the baby sleeps on their back. This knowledge has given rise to the “Back to Sleep” movement which promotes putting babies to sleep on their back. We have also since learn that avoidance of loose bedding and avoidance of co-sleeping is protective. This means newborns must not sleep in the same bed with parents, despite what may seem like convenience. Nonetheless, NPR has recently reported on the disconcerting trend of increasing co-sleeping. AAP the American Academy of Pediatrics has come out again against co-sleeping which iss highly the associated with an increased risk of sleep related deaths in babies under 4 months of age.
The Institute of Clinical and Relational Science at UCSF (University of California San Francisco) has produced research indicating yoga may help incontinence and anxiety in older women. Findings were presented at the American Urological Association in San Francisco.
Marijuana in pregnancy is again in the news, with yet more reports coming out about its disruption of fetal brain development. It is also linked to smaller birth weights and irritable behavior in infants. It is also linked to higher likelihood of still birth. And yet, 70% of Colorado dispensaries are recommending marijuana to pregnant women for nausea in pregnancy. Conflict of interest and flagrant irresponsibility, much ?
Lung cancer in young women has now surpassed that in men. Lung cancer in men and women has decreased over the last two decades, however it is decreasing more rapidly in men.
There is now good data that air pollution is related to infertility and preterm birth. A new study on the subject shows that the closure of oil and coal plants boosts fertility in nearby communities.
There’s an app for that. Maybe. There are many apps pertaining to birth control. There may even be one that can help predict the risk of preeclampsia. However, before you go relying on one of these, Please check with your doctor about the validity of such an app. Quality varies, so buyer beware.
Stay tuned for more news from the fascinating world of Obstetrics and Gynecology, here, next week on Medical Monday.