Our Bodies, Our Blog

Real Problems with RealAge

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

I’ve been assuring myself lately that I’m not really as old as my driver’s license insists. My true age — a number determined by health and lifestyle habits — must be lower. All these years without red meat has to count for something.

To confirm my wishful thinking, I planned on taking an online quiz called RealAge that promises to help you find … your real age. Despite an intimidating 150 or so questions, I was courting the payoff: Every time I look in … Read

New Study Addresses Hospital Practices and Breastfeeding Rates

By Rachel Walden |

A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health looks at hospital practices, women’s intent to breastfeed, and how the former may influence the latter.

I don’t currently have access to the full-text, but here’s what I can gather from the abstract and the press release:  The study authors looked at data from the Listening to Mothers II survey, which asked women to recall their breastfeeding intentions, infant feeding practices at one week, and hospital practices. The researchers … Read

Help Spread the Word About C-Section Rates and Transparency in Maternity Care

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Did you know that a woman giving birth in New Jersey has a 73 percent greater chance of having a cesarean section than a woman in Utah? Or that two hospitals in the same city may have c-section rates that vary widely?

Complications during pregnancy or birth are not always the determining factor for undergoing a c-section. Much depends on the hospital’s existing c-section rate — but it’s not easy to obtain the data. Currently, New York and Massachusetts are the only states required to release … Read

Back Up Birth Control Day

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Today marks the eighth annual Back Up Your Birth Control  Day of Action, sponsored by the National Institute for Reproductive Health. It’s a day to raise awareness about the safety and availability of emergency contraception.

Sometimes referred to as the “morning-after pill,” EC is a higher dosage of the same hormones found in many birth control pills. Taken within 120 hours after sex, they are safe and effective for preventing pregnancy.

Coincidentally, EC has been a top news story this week due to … Read

Quick Hit: Controversies in Childbirth Conference This Week

By Rachel Walden |

This week, Ft. Worth, TX will be home to the Controversies in Childbirth Conference, described as “a national forum for discussing the challenges and solutions for patients, providers, and payers involved in childbirth.”

Topics for the conference are expected include debate on whether low c-section rates are beneficial, financial concerns for health care providers and facilities, whether “natural birth advocates hurt their own cause,” techniques for vaginal breach births, “centering pregnancy” methods, home birth, transparency, whether non-emergency c-sections are contributing to … Read

Webcast on Health Care in Communities of Color

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

On Wednesday, March 25, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. (EST), the Kaiser Family Foundation will hold a live, interactive webcast to examine the economic downturn’s impact on health care in communities of color.

The discussion, part of its “Today’s Topics In Health Disparities” series, will be moderated by Cara James, KFF senior policy analyst on race, ethnicity and health care. The panelists are:

* JudyAnn Bigby, MD, secretary of health and human services, Massachusetts

* Adrienne Hahn, senior attorney and program manager, Consumers Union

* William Spriggs, … Read

Judge Tells FDA to Make Plan B Available Over-the-Counter to 17 Year Olds, and to Consider Removing All Restrictions

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Good news, via The New York Times:

A federal judge ordered the Food and Drug Administration on Monday to make the Plan B morning-after birth control pill available without prescription to women as young as 17.

The judge ruled that the agency had improperly bowed to political pressure from the Bush administration in 2006 when it set 18 as the age limit.

The agency has 30 days to comply with the order, in which the judge also urged the agency to consider removing all restrictions on … Read

Public Input Sought on Priorities for Comparative Effectiveness Research

By Rachel Walden |

As part of the money for comparative effectiveness research included in the stimulus bill, the Institute of Medicine is required to submit a consensus report by the end of June that provides specific recommendations to Congress and the Secretary for prioritizing the expenditure of the funds. They are also required to solicit public input on these research priorities, and so have created an online survey to gather feedback from “all stakeholders in health care (e.g., patients, consumers, providers, state and federal … Read

Double Dose: Economy Affects Family Planning; Health Care System Failing Immigrants; SEIU and CNA Agree to Work Together on Unionizing; Common Ground on Abortion Is Closer Than You Think …

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Economy Puts Focus on Family Planning: Women’s health centers are seeing an uptick in the number of patients seeking family planning services and health care, and the increase is tied to the economy, reports NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

Providers say the increased cost of contraceptives is part of the problem leading to unplanned pregnancies. Women pay up to $60 for a single month’s supply of birth control pills. As a result, many can’t afford them. Transportation is also an issue, especially in rural areas, … Read