I have a new friend who is currently a midwifery student. She is finishing up her final clinical rotation with a midwife who is at a crisis in her midwifery career, fielding tension and politics for a midwifery group, and feels discouraged overall about the profession. In tough situations, how can midwives still tap into the spirit of the profession? How can we teach each other to thrive and be optimistic about our work, even in difficult birth places? How can we believe in each other and in the profession, and continue promoting safe birth and respectful care of women?
I regularly struggle with the politics of the profession in this first year out of school, but still have the fire of my original midwife love that fuels what I do. I can only hope to find ways to advertise and persuade those struggling with their beliefs in the profession of midwifery that it is worth it, that there is love and passion, and that the politics are but a small struggle in the big picture.
Are Right-to-Know Breast Density Laws Good for Women’s Health? – Rachel at our Bodies Our Blog
Breasts confound me.
“…Despite a lack of certainty about how dense breast tissue affects health outcomes, a handful of states have mandated that providers discuss breast density with women. On April 1, California will become the fifth state with a breast density notification law in place. Similar bills have been introduced in other states.
At the federal level, the Breast Density and Mammography Reporting Act wasintroduced in Congress in 2011, but never made it out of committee. It, too, would require that women be told about breast density, the correlation with cancer, and that they might benefit from supplemental screening tests.
It’s not clear, however, if additional tests would even help…”
The Secrets of Breast Milk – Nicholas Day at Slate
I repeat: Breasts confound me. But are awesome.
“…We think of milk as a static commodity, maybe because the milk we buy in the grocery store always looks the same. But scientists now believe that milk varies tremendously. It varies from mother to mother, and it varies within the milk of the same mother. That’s partly because the infants themselves can affect what’s in the milk. “Milk is this phenomenally difficult thing to study because mothers are not passive producers and babies are not passive consumers,” Hinde says. Instead, the composition of milk is a constant negotiation, subject to tiny variables.
For example, she notes, in humans skin-to-skin contact appears to trigger signals that are sent through the milk. “If the infant is showing signs of infection, somehow that’s being signaled back to the mother and she up-regulates the immune factors that are in her milk. Now is that her body’s responding to a need of the baby? Maybe. Is it that she also has a low-grade infection that she’s just not symptomatic for and so her body’s doing that? Maybe. Is it partially both? Maybe. We don’t know. It’s brand-new stuff.”
The new awareness of this sort of signaling is why there’s been a paradigm shift in the study of milk. Scientists have gone from seeing it only as food to seeing it far more expansively—as a highly sensitive variable that plays a wide range of developmental roles…”
A woman’s right to hair down there – Louisa Saunders at IOL
To each their own!
“…Our sexual lives are a complex and personal matter and it is not my intention to question the feminist integrity of any woman who chooses to go hairless. There are those who argue that it is in some way empowering and that it is something women do for their own satisfaction – wear that vagina loud and proud. The removal of pubic hair is not confined to man-pleasing Barbies, nor even to straight women. Nevertheless, the fashion for it makes me uncomfortable. Hairless female genitalia have an obvious association, and that is with pre-pubescent girls. Where there are hairless genitalia, surely the unwelcome suggestion of the childish body is never far away…”
Why women are less free 10 years after the invasion of Iraq – Zainab Salbi at CNN
Continued arguments for feminism and the fights toward equality worldwide. The global is the local.
“…Economically, women have gone from being visibly active in the Iraqi work force in the 1980s — particularly in the farming, marketing and professional services sectors — to being nearly non-existent in 2013.
The women who could afford it withdrew from the public space due the violence dominating the streets. 10 years ago Iraq produced much of its own food and had a productive industrial sector — but now Iraq imports practically all of its food, and farmers and factory workers simply found themselves out of a job as industry ground to a halt. And while both women and men suffered as a result, the impact on women was greater due to their limited mobility in the face of poor security.
Violence against women — and the lack of legal protection for women — is also on the rise. Women’s rights groups blame the increase in violence on the social and economic pressure that families face, the lack of public and political will to stop it, and the increase religious conservatism that often justifies the violence…”
Anti-Choice March Madness: The Worst State for Women – Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones
“…Despite being Women’s History Month, March has seen relentless attacks on ladies’ rights. As soon as one state passes some outrageous woman-restricting bill, another is right behind with something even, well, outrageous-er. The “state-by-state race to the bottom on women’s health,” as the president of Planned Parenthood put it, inspired us to set up our own March Madness bracket to determine the national champion in the War on Women.
ROUND ONE: THE MEAN SIXTEEN
No doubt about it, these states all brought their A games to this season’s War on Women. From imposing onerous new building codes on abortion clinics to threatening to throw doctors in jail for providing life-saving abortions, these contenders made it all but impossible for women to obtain (still constitutionally protected) abortions. The qualifiers:…”
Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care – Cleveland Clinic
Beautiful. Can empathy be taught?
From Eve Ensler’s Facebook Page
50 Women Who Shaped America’s Health – Healthy Living Staff at The Huffington post
Included in the list are Virginia Apgar, Wafaa El-Sadr, Ina May Gaskin, Jane Hodgson, Henrietta Lacks, Margaret Sanger, and Dr. Ruth. Check out the full slideshow for this list of incredible change-makers!
“If you’ve received a blood transfusion, had lifesaving radiation therapy, experienced a natural birth or even lost weight by counting calories, you have used one of the many health innovations given to us by women in medicine.
In honor of Women’s History Month, the Healthy Living staff has been thinking about the accomplishments of the women who pioneered work in the sciences. As health journalists, we believe that all doctors and researchers deserve more recognition for their contributions to society. And as women, we can’t help but notice that our gender can affect the way we’re treated in these disciplines — fromcolleague discrimination to legislation aimed at lessening the control female patients have over their bodies, it can sometimes feel as though we’re living in a previous era…”