Our Bodies, Our Blog

Comprehensive Sex Education in Illinois Not All That

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

One-third of all sex education teachers in Illinois are not providing comprehensive instruction, according to a new study.

The survey by researchers from the University of Chicago Medical Center appears in the February 2008 issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology (here’s the abstract). Among the findings: 30 percent of the state’s sex-education teachers had never received sex-education training. The national average is 18 percent.

“For this study, we set the bar for comprehensiveness fairly low relative to what most medical and public … Read

Live Blogging Super Tuesday

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Looking for political coverage with a health focus today? RH Reality Check is live-blogging Super Tuesday, promising “fun, irreverent, and relevant takes on the breaking news.”

The team of of live bloggers includes reproductive health advocates, journalists and commentators. Check it all out here:

And while you’re there, read an interview with Judy Norsigian, executive director of Myhags. Norsigian was the keynote speaker at the 2008 annual Choice Dinner in Iowa City, which benefits the Emma Goldman … Read

ACOG Issues Committee Opinion on Surrogacy

By Rachel Walden |

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has issued an opinion statement on surrogate motherhood [PDF] through its Committee on Ethics. The piece addresses types of surrogacy, public policy, major arguments for and against surrogacy arrangements, and responsibilities of physicians when attending to such arrangements.

Among the guidances:

  • “Because of the risks inherent in surrogacy arrangements, such arrangements should be considered only in the case of infertility or serious health-related needs, not for convenience alone.”
  • “A physician may justifiably decline to participate in initiating surrogacy arrangements … Read

Double Dose: The Pill and Its Studies; Genital Pain is Taken Seriously; When the Sex of Your Surgeon Matters; Tracking Global and U.S. Gender-Based Violence

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

The Pill’s Long-Running Health Saga: “Last week, British researchers published decisively good news about birth control pills: They lower the risk of ovarian cancer — substantially,” writes Amanda Schaffer at Slate. “The new analysis pooled large amounts of data. It was elegantly done. And it’s worth celebrating, partly because health claims about the pill are often much harder to parse.”

New Insights Into Genital Pain: “For decades, women suffering from vulvodynia have been told that nothing seems to be wrong with them — nothing, … Read

Big Push for Midwives Kicks Off a National Campaign

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

A national campaign to increase access to legal midwifery care launched last week with the hope of introducing and passing legislation to license certified professional midwives in all 50 states and D.C.

The Big Push for Midwives is a project of the National Birth Policy Coalition (NBPC), which has coalesced around the following organizing statement:

Increasing access to the Midwives Model of Care in all settings is essential to the health and well-being of childbearing women and their babies. The National Birth Policy … Read

Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines May be Revised

By Rachel Walden |

The Institute of Medicine has launched a project to reevaluate recommendations for weight gain in pregnancy, and held its first meeting to discuss the topic on January 17th, with representatives from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, March of Dimes, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Women’s Health, and other agencies in attendance.

The committee in charge of the project has several stated goals, including a review of the evidence … Read

Quote of the Day: Kate Harding

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

“One of the first obstacles to fat acceptance is breaking down the question of whether being fat is a choice … No fat acceptance advocate is saying you should sit around and wildly overeat. What we’re saying is that exercise and a balanced diet do not make everyone thin.”
– Kate Harding, founder of the blog Shapely Prose, in an interview with The New York Times for a story about the fatosphere.

Read the story (very good) and check out … Read

Gearing Up for Super Tuesday

By Rachel Walden |

Many of you will make your votes count in the 2008 for the first time on Super Tuesday, as numerous primaries take place across the country on February 5th. In order to help you make an informed choice, here are some websites that may be useful, including the main candidate’s homepages and election issue round-ups:

Candidate Homepages-Democrats:
Hillary Clinton
John Edwards
Barack Obama

Candidate Homepages-Republicans:
Rudy Giuliani
Mike Huckabee
John McCain
Ron … Read

Double Dose: New Study on Caffeine and Pregnancy; “Drive-By” Mastectomies; The Pill Protects Against Cancer; Treating Aging Like a Disease

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Caffeine and Pregnancy: A new study (PDF) published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology says too much caffeine during pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage. Researchers found that “pregnant women who consume 200 milligrams or read of caffeine a day — the amount in 10 ounces of coffee or 25 ounces of tea — may double their risk of miscarriage,” reports The New York Times.

Dr. De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of … Read

How Not to Write a Health Story

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

The New York Times last week published an incredibly dismissive page-one story about fibromyalgia, questioning whether it is a “real” disease.

The hook for the story are the advertisements for Lyrica, the first medicine approved to treat the pain condition:

In November, Pfizer began a television ad campaign for Lyrica that features a middle-aged woman who appears to be reading from her diary. “Today I struggled with my fibromyalgia; I had pain all over,” she says, before turning to the camera and adding, “Fibromyalgia is … Read