Anyone else having a first-year-of-practice-get-all-the-sicknesses-your-patients-have? In the past three months I’ve had the flu (despite the flu vaccine), the Norovirus (the worst stomach bug I’ve had since drinking a mass-produced Gambian milk product), and today marks day five of a sinus infection that has my eyes bulging and my snores keeping both my partner and our dog awake. Yuck. This has led to all energy being focused on patient care and sleeping. Want to know how many half-written blog posts will be coming your way as my antibiotic kicks in? Not sure you’re ready for it all
In other news, I’m going to the ACNM meeting! Will I see y’all there?!?! I’m looking forward to attending some workshops on Wednesday and Thursday, and challenging what has become repetition in my repertoire with reminders of the latest evidence and experience from other midwives. Bring it on, Nashville!
Battling Feminist Burnout – Jessica Valenti at The Nation
Burnout, you say? Not when there are voices like Valenti’s and moments like the passing of the VAWA happening on the regular! Feminists, keep this going.
“…Feminists got two great pieces of news on the violence against women front this week. First, the Violence Against Women Act was passed—and not the watered-down Republican one either! This version of VAWA contained protections for the LGBT community and allows Native American courts to prosecute non-Native perpetrators on tribal land.
Then we learned that Girls Gone Wild—the exploitative porn empire that targets young intoxicated women—filed for bankruptcy. As I said on Twitter, I’m pretty sure a feminist angel got her wings as proprietor Joe Francis signed on the dotted line.
But in the same week we got this great news, a rape survivor at the University of North Carolina was threatened with expulsion for “intimidating” her rapist by becoming an anti-rape activist, there was another attack on Planned Parenthood, a Kansas bill moved forward that would allow doctors to lie to pregnant women in an effort to prevent them for getting abortions and a 9-year-old girl of color—a child—was called a “c*nt.” One step forward, twenty steps back.
It reminds me of a question I get asked a lot when I speak to younger feminists: How do you continue to do this work when it’s just so depressing?…”
Breaking the Silence of Stillbirth – Sarah Muthler at The New York Times
This is often breezed over, in finding women’s Gs and Ps, and then forgotten as the woman progresses in her pregnancy. Take the time.
“…This silence around stillbirth, this fear of causing fear, leaves families blindly groping as they make the hardest decisions of their lives. If I had known anything at all about stillbirth, I could have made better decisions regarding my daughter’s death. I wish that I had been told to bring some of her clothes to the hospital so she could wear them. I wish that my husband and I had been strong enough to choose to have an autopsy even though our doctor didn’t encourage it. I wish I had known that grant money might be available to cover the several thousand dollars that the autopsy would have cost.
Can we find a way to talk about stillbirth – to educate – without being fear mongers? I actually like to talk about Genevieve, about my pregnancy with her and how our family memorializes her, and most of the parents I’ve met in my situation want to talk about their babies. But we don’t want to scare everyone away. So maybe the next time you meet one of us, you could ask whether we want to talk about our children. If we do, you might ask how we chose a name, whether we had a memorial service, and how we honor our children in our daily lives. If those conversations inspire even a little more research and awareness, then maybe people will see that our lost babies aren’t just a horror story. They’re part of a love story, too.”
“…Feminine protection has always been a sensitive topic to handle in advertising, often reliant on euphemism and absurd imagery of women. At its launch three years ago, U by Kotex consciously parodied those ads. And in a new campaign, the brand pushes the boundaries even further.
In the no-holds-barred “Generation Know” pitch, the Kimberly-Clark brand employs TV and online documentaries featuring real young women, doctors and moms talking about the myths surrounding periods. Yes, you can go swimming. No, bears won’t maul you if you’re camping. That was the easy part.
“It wasn’t a battle to sell the idea to the client. It was more of a battle to produce it and get the campaign on air,” said Vicki Azarian, group creative director at Kotex agency Ogilvy. “How do you break through to the consumer if you can’t break through to the media?”…”
‘Solar suitcase’ saving moms, babies during childbirth – Christie O’Reilly at CNN
I remember hearing about these suitcases a while back, perhaps at the last Women Deliver meeting? And incredibly important effort. Light is one of those things that you don’t realize what you have until its gone. I cannot count the number of births by cell phone or candlelight the midwives described in The Gambia. What a few solar panels could do…
“…For Stachel, the solar suitcase is only part of a bigger mission to improve maternal health care and lower mortality rates in developing countries.
According to the World Health Organization, about 800 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. And 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.
“I really want a world where women can deliver safely and with dignity, and women don’t have to fear an event that we consider a joy in this country. To see birth associated with death and fear is an outrage,” Stachel said. “Before I went to Africa, I knew women were dying at high rates. I just didn’t know they were run-of-the-mill things we can take care of.”
In 2009, We Care Solar completed the solar electric installation that her husband originally designed for the state hospital. Over the next year, the hospital reported that the death rate for women had decreased 70%. Nurses told Stachel they could see what they were doing, they didn’t have to turn women away, and they had blood for transfusions because the electricity provided power for a blood bank refrigerator.
“When we saw the impact, that gave me the impetus to provide this fundamental thing for people to do the job they knew how to do,” Stachel said…”
“Choosing wisely in maternity care”: ACOG and AAFP urge women to question elective deliveries -Amy Romano at Transforming Maternity Care
I work in an environment when induction is the norm, where augmentation is second fiddle, and spontaneous labor is so held to the traditional labor curve that pitocin is assumed to accompany unless stated otherwise, typically by a midwife. Looking forward to discussing these new statements with providers on the floor…
“…But will the new message lead women and care providers to think that delivery is indicated once a woman’s cervix is ripe? Through the Choosing Wisely campaign ACOG and AAFP have made powerful statements acknowledging that scheduled delivery is unwise if the baby or the woman might not be ready for birth. Although gestational age and the Bishop score are tools to estimate readiness for birth, the best indicator of readiness is still the spontaneous onset of labor at term, the culmination of an intricate interplay of hormonal signals between the fetus and the woman. Anytime we intervene with the timing of birth we have to weigh the potential benefits and harms of overriding that process in the context of the fully informed preferences and values of women…”
Too Many Pills in Pregnancy – Jane E. Brody at The New York Times
This week, one pregnant woman started our visit by asking me how often it is safe for her to take her laxatives. During her first visit I discussed the safety and non-safety of medications during pregnancy, but she did not think of her laxative as a medication and so never brought it up. I will be checking out the OTIS website for handouts…
“…During the last 30 years, use of prescription drugs during the first trimester of pregnancy, when fetal organs are forming, has grown by more than 60 percent.
About 90 percent of pregnant women take at least one medication, and 70 percent take at least one prescription drug, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since the late 1970s, the proportion of pregnant women taking four or more medications has more than doubled.
Nearly one woman in 10 takes an herbal remedy during the first trimester.
A growing number of pregnant women, naïvely assuming safety, self-medicate with over-the-counter drugs that were once sold only by prescription.
While many commonly taken medications are considered safe for unborn babies, the Food and Drug Administration estimates that 10 percent or more of birth defects result from medications taken during pregnancy. “We seem to have forgotten as a society that drugs pose risks,” Dr. Allen A. Mitchell, professor of epidemiology and pediatrics at Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine, said in an interview. “Many over-the-counter drugs were grandfathered in with no studies of their possible effects during pregnancy.”…”
‘Makers’ Hits the Mark on Feminist History but Misses on the Movement Today – Katha Pollitt at The Nation
The history is important to remember, but one of the main arguments around feminism today is that it is not tangible and relatable – though perhaps neither is a documentary show about feminism on PBS for today’s young feminism-seeking people. Still working my way through the 3 hour episode, and loving the historical perspective, but Pollitt makes incredibly important points.
“…Makers is resolutely centered on pop culture—Erica Jong and wonderful Judy Blume are there, but no mention of Adrienne Rich, Sandra Gilbert, Susan Gubar, Ellen Willis, Audre Lorde, Andrea Dworkin, bell hooks, among the many writers the have given the movement artistic and intellectual heft. It also hews to a particular mainstream narrative that makes Steinem central and scants other strains—black feminism and womanism, the zine movement, Riot Grrl. Still, Makers captures the excitement of the Second Wave—the huge marches, the demonstrations, the meetings, the heady joy of victories coming thick and fast. Everyone was so young! They had such fun! And so much sex! (Betty Dodson, who made masturbation respectable, although the film doesn’t actually mention that, says after she left her sexless marriage and fell in love at 35, “We stayed in bed for a year”). Is nostalgia just an inevitable part of historical documentaries? Even Phyllis Schlafly, who gets quite a bit of airtime as the slayer of the ERA, looks fresh-faced and trim and cheerful as she marshals her reactionary troops, if hardly the ordinary housewife she pretended to be. (“I used to tell her, I think I cook dinner more often than you do, says former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder.)…”