Our Bodies, Our Blog

Reactions to the New ACOG Statement on VBAC

By Rachel Walden |

Following up on last week’s ACOG release of an updated VBAC practice bulletin – this one with an increased emphasis on maternal autonomy – we thought we’d take a look around the web for what others are saying about the new statement.

From organizations:

Lamaze International calls the new guideline “a step in the right direction, clearly stating that women with one previous cesarean should be offered VBAC,” but wonders if there is too much of the “immediately available” language still in the current version.


Breast Cancer: Early Detection Methods Prone to Error; Plus News on Avastin, New Study on Risks

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released new recommendations in 2009 calling for less frequent screening mammograms for women under age 50, the news caused quite a ruckus.

Many women’s health organizations, such as Myhags, National Women’s Health Network and Breast Cancer Action, applauded the new guidelines — and had, in fact, been recommending the same approach for pre-menopausal women for many years. But understanding the science behind the logical, if somewhat counter-intuitive, recommendations requires a nuanced analysis.

Now, … Read

ACOG Releases Updated VBAC Practice Bulletin, Emphasizes Individualized Approach and Maternal Autonomy

By Rachel Walden |

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has released a new set of guidelines for providers on vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). The guidelines should be of interest to anyone who is interested in having a VBAC or who has been concerned about VBAC access and high repeat cesarean rates.

ACOG’s press release on the guidelines is available online; the full recommendation, which appears in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology (August 2010 issue), is available Read

Microbicide for HIV Prevention Shows Promise

By Rachel Walden |

Researchers, advocates and public policy experts have gathered in Vienna, Austria to discuss the latest scientific developments and other issues related to HIV/AIDS at the 18th annual International AIDS Conference.

The biggest news focus coming out of the conference so far is about tenofovir gel, a vaginal microbicide. Tenovir has been part of the CAPRISA trial conducted in South Africa, and has shown some promise in preventing HIV transmission. According to a press release from the trial:

The microbicide containing 1% tenofovir—an antiretroviral drug widely … Read

Shackled During Labor: Nothing to Lose But Your Humanity

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

The image of pregnant women heading to the delivery room with handcuffs, leg shackles and belly chains is almost inconceivable. Yet as we have documented here before, it has been common practice in the United States prison system for decades and is still legal (and commonly practiced) in all but 10 states.

Efforts against shackling, led by a coalition that includes the ACLU and The Rebecca Project, have gained significant ground recently. Colorado, West Virginia, Washington state and Pennsylvania passed … Read

“Willing and Unable: Doctors’ Constraints in Abortion Care”

By Rachel Walden |

Last week, Christine blogged about a New York Times article, “The New Abortion Providers,” that provides a detailed look at “the struggles of individual medical students and doctors to make abortion an accepted, integrated part of healthcare.”

For those interested in an even read thorough exploration of this topic, Lori Freedman’s “Willing and Unable: Doctors’ Constraints in Abortion Care” is a great resource. In fact, the Times piece mentions Freedman, in the context of a study she co-authored.

In the study, researchers … Read

“The New Abortion Providers” and the Old Political Dilemmas

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

The New York Times has published online an extensive article about “The New Abortion Providers” (it will appear in print in Sunday’s Magazine), which I highly recommend reading. Such detailed reporting from a mainstream publication on the struggles of individual medical students and doctors to make abortion an accepted, integrated part of healthcare is quite welcomed.

The story provides both a historical and personal context for understanding the challenges — and the courageous dedication — of women’s health advocates on the frontlines of reproductive … Read

Much Ado About a Meta-Analysis (On Home vs. Hospital Birth)

By Rachel Walden |

A recently published meta-analysis* by Joseph Wax and others in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has caused quite a stir, primarily because of the authors’ conclusion that “Less medical intervention during planned home birth is associated with a tripling of the neonatal mortality rate.” As we’ll see, things aren’t quite so simple on a closer look.

Upon reading the Wax paper, my first response was “Great, I’m going to have to read every one of the original studies to make heads … Read

Gloria Feldt’s Personal Response to “Friday Night Lights”

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Earlier this week, we wrote about the groundbreaking “Friday Nights Lights” episode that dealt read honestly with abortion than most television shows in the past 30 years. We’re pleased to include this reflection by Gloria Feldt, activist, author, blogger and past president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. We hope you’ll follow through on her suggestions to thank NBC for allowing this episode to air.

On a personal note, it pleases me no end that this truth-telling episode appeared … Read

“Friday Night Lights” Scores With Honest Episode About Abortion

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

The tube has long had tunnel vision when it has come to portraying women. Recently, though, television shows have been broadening their point of view by addressing previously taboo subjects — abortion and body image — with surprising maturity and subtlety.

“Friday Night Lights,” one of my long-time favorite series, has paid attention to women’s health since its inception, from its diverse portrayal of teenager’s sexual lives to its confrontation of sexual violence. And, yes, it even book-dropped “Our Bodies, Ourselves” at … Read