Our Bodies, Our Blog

Early, Elective Caesarean Sections Lead to Greater Health Risk for Newborns

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

A new study confirms what women’s health advocates have been saying for some time: early elective caesarean surgeries scheduled before 39 weeks of pregnancy can be harmful to a baby’s health.

The study found that newborns delivered at 37 weeks to mothers who previously had an elective c-section were up to four times read likely to have respiratory problems, require mechanical ventilation, have newborn sepsis (a severe bacterial infection) or hypoglycemia, to require admission to a neonatal ICU or to spend five or read … Read

Kaplan Study Guide Suggests Banning Home Birth is Constitutional

By Rachel Walden |

Via a tip from a friend of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, we learned that Kaplan review materials (created to help law students preparing to take state bar exams) suggest that a state ban on home birth would be constitutional because “the facts indicate that the regulation was enacted because of public health concerns, [therefore] it does further a compelling state interest.”

The hypothetical scenario provided for the practice question on constitutional law describes a state law requiring all births to take place … Read

Human Rights Watch Responds to Data on Violence Against Women; New Initiatives to Spot Abusive Dating Behavior

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Recent stories and new government statistics provide an alarming snapshot of violence against adolescent girls and women.

The 2007 National Crime Victimization Survey, which was made public in December, shows domestic violence increased by 42 percent and sexual violence by 25 percent over 2005 figures.

Human Rights Watch reports that the survey indicates that at least 248,300 individuals were raped or sexually assaulted in 2007. In 2005 the figure was 190,600. The projected number of violent crimes against women committed by intimate partners … Read

OB/GYNs Talk about Litigation and Risk Reduction

By Rachel Walden |

The December issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology has an article, “Reducing Obstetric Litigation Through Alterations in Practice Patterns,” which summarizes material the authors presented at an annual meeting of the Society for Maternal–Fetal Medicine. In it, they look at 189 closed obstetric liability claims from 2000-2005, classifying whether each incident was associated with what they considered substandard care.

The authors attributed 23% of cases and 14% of costs to incidents that were deemed avoidable had an obstetrician been available continuously in-house (something … Read

“The Joy of Sex” and “Our Bodies, Ourselves”: Mmm Mmm Good

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

We’re only five days into 2009, but I’m hedging my bets that Ariel Levy’s article in The New Yorker on the new edition of “The Joy of Sex” will be among the most memorable writing of the year.

For starters, Levy does a good job of introducing readers to the original author, British scientist and physician Alex Comfort (who died in 2000), and contextualizing attitudes toward sex and sexuality that framed the original book’s release in 1972.

Her descriptions are spot-on, including her humorous impression … Read

Double Dose: Read Proof Virginity Pledges Don’t Work; Genetic Testing and Ambiguity; Cut Health Care Costs, Not Care; The Year in Medicine …

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Well, it Wasn’t All Bad: “Although the number of uninsured and the cost of coverage have ballooned under his watch, President Bush leaves office with a health care legacy in bricks and mortar: he has doubled federal financing for community health centers, enabling the creation or expansion of 1,297 clinics in medically underserved areas,” reports The New York Times. Kevin Sack writes:

For those in poor urban neighborhoods and isolated rural areas, including Indian reservations, the clinics are often the only dependable providers of … Read

A New Year Review of Women’s Health Heroes

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Among the many luminaries who died in 2008 are women who made significant contributions in the areas of women’s health and hospice care. Please add names and links we might have missed in the comments.

Pamela Morgan | b. 1949

In November, Myhags lost one its founders, Pamela Morgan. A writer, editor and administrative manager of the organization in its early days, Morgan was “one of these extraordinarily multitalented individuals, and as a dancer, everything she did was with élan and flair,” said Judy … Read

Different types of hymens. Drawing: Nina Reimer.Different types of hymens. Drawing: Nina Reimer.

The Hymen: Breaking the Myths

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

The value placed on virgin brides in some cultures led to much talk this year about “reconstructing” virginity (see: hymenoplasty) and the legal relevance of virginity (see: “essential quality” for marriage). So it seems only fitting that we should end with an inflated device designed to fake virginity by mimicking the “breaking” of the vaginal tissue known as the hymen.

According to the product description, once inserted the device “will expand a little and make you feel tight. When your lover penetrate … Read

Fending Off the Post-Holiday Diet Marketing Machine, One FDA Warning at a Time

By Rachel Walden |

Dear readers, I am home, taking a bit of a vacation with a stack of library books. I have also been watching an unseemly amount of television. As a result, I’ve noticed that post-holiday weight-loss advertising is in full swing, primarily featuring and targeting women with commercials for “improving” your abs, mail-order diet food, and other products you don’t need.

This is the usual follow-up to the pre-holiday news about avoiding overeating — now they assume you ignored all of that annual advice, something is wrong … Read

Health Care Reform Begins at Birth

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

“If the United States is serious about health reform, we need to begin, well, at the beginning,” writes Jennifer Block in this L.A. Times op-ed that argues the United States health care system could save billions by overhauling the American way of birth.

Block, the author of “Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care,” continues:

The most cost-effective, health-promoting maternity care for normal, healthy women is midwife led and out of hospital. Hospitals charge from $7,000 to $16,000, depending on … Read