What are you doing for this year’s International Day of the Midwife, celebrated tomorrow on May 5th? Everyone with an internet connection is able to participate in the Virtual Conference to celebrate the day, with the full program available here. Also, follow them on Twitter at @VIDofM, and on Facebook at Virtual International Day of the Midwife. Hope others in your life celebrate the day with all you midwives out there! My partner purchased the Ina May Gaskin document Birth Story for watching with some fellow midwives tomorrow – looking forward to it!
For tips on attending a virtual conference, check out this cool post!
Pediatricians Issue New Home-Birth Guidelines – and Rattle Some Midwives – Bonnie Rochman at Time
An interesting change of pace in the home birth world, but an even more interesting divide of midwives… What do you all think about this one?
“…Many of the recommendations, published in the academy’s journal, Pediatrics, are fairly straightforward: at least one person at the birth should be responsible for tending to the newborn infant; that person should also be trained in infant CPR. Medical equipment should be tested before the delivery. A phone line should be available; while you’re at it, check the weather forecast too, in case complications arise and a trip to the hospital is necessary. In case of emergency, have a plan to transfer the laboring mom to a hospital. And do all the stuff that nurses do in the hospital to brand-new babies: monitor their temperature and heart rates, keep them warm and cozy, administer vitamin K and heel-prick newborn screening tests that are sent to outside labs for processing, among other things. “No matter where a baby is born, they deserve the same standard of care,” says Dr. Kristi Watterberg, a neonatologist and professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico who is the lead author of the AAP’s home birth guidelines.
More controversial is the academy’s advice that pediatricians endorse only midwives who are trained and cleared by the American Midwifery Certification Board. Midwives accredited by this board typically attend deliveries at hospitals and birthing centers. That position has upset certified professional midwives, who deliver the majority of babies born at home in this country but are accredited by a different body — the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM).
“The assumption is that one type of midwife is better than the other,” says Melissa Cheyney, an associate professor of medical anthropology at Oregon State University and a practicing certified professional midwife who oversees the research division for the Midwives Alliance of North America, or MANA, which represents certified professional midwives…”
Questioning the Pelvic Exam – Jane E. Brody at The New York Times
I wrote about this issue last fall, and have had it in my to-do list to write up an article for JMWH. How are you all feeing about this one?
“…She and others say that the justifications gynecologists typically offer for doing the pelvic exam — screening for a sexually transmitted infection and cervical cancer, early detection of ovarian cancer, and evaluating a woman for hormonal contraception — either do not require a bimanual exam or are not supported by research.
In a multicenter trial supported by the National Cancer Institute, for instance, no cancers of the ovaries were detected by a pelvic examination alone. The test sometimes did produce suspicious findings that resulted in further procedures.
“The pelvic examination is not an effective screening tool for ovarian cancer,” Ms. Analia Stormo, a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and colleagues wrote last March in the journal Preventive Medicine.
Yet Ms. Stormo also found that “almost 70 percent of obstetrician-gynecologists reported believing that a pelvic examination is an effective means of screening for ovarian cancer.”…”
Hey, FDA: Drop the Plan B Age Restriction – Jessica Valenti at The Nation
Sing it, Jessica.
“…Teens who don’t have access to a government ID would not have any easier a time procuring a passport or birth certificate. If a girl had either of those documents, it’s most likely that her parents would have them filed away. And if a teenage girl wanted to obtain a passport or birth certificate herself, there is no way she could do so in the seventy-two hours needed to ensure that Plan B is effective. There’s also a socioeconomic factor to who has licenses and who doesn’t, making the proof-of-age restriction even more burdensome to marginalized communities, especially young women who are undocumented.
Even 15-year-olds with an acceptable form of identification are not out of the woods. A study published last year in the journal Pediatrics showed that many pharmacists don’t understand the law as it pertains to Plan B. The study found that because of pervasive misinformation, nearly 20 percent of 17-year-olds would be denied the drug. And now we’re not even talking about pharmacists—but cashiers, who are more likely to be younger and untrained in protocol surrounding Plan B.
The larger question, however, is why should there be an age restriction at all. The reason a judge ruled Plan B should be available to women and girls of all ages is because it’s safe for all ages. And seriously, if we believe a 14-year-old is too immature to know how to take a pill, do we really think she’s adult enough to handle an unwanted pregnancy?…”
Dear ‘Gentlemen Scholar’: Shaking hands with a woman is easy – Casey Quinlan at Feministing
I don’t even know how this conversation, ‘How to shake hands with a woman,” is a thing. What is the matter with people?
“…The second mistake is made by Patterson, who goes on to explain that women are delicate little teacups that require gentle care:
The Gentleman Scholar knows that a gentleman always treats a woman gently. He breaks this rule only at her encouragement, like if she’s begging you to pull her hair or something—a rather more clear-cut form of physical communication than that which concerns us today.
Now, unless he’s referring to elementary school antics, Patterson is conflating rules around sex with a business practice, saying that you should use the same considerations and rules you use in a heteronormative dating situation. Even comedically, this is wrong on so many levels. During the debate over comments the president made to Attorney General Kamala Harris, several men commented to reaction pieces by saying, “What, I can’t even compliment a woman I’m on a date with now? I can’t even approach a woman at a bar by saying she’s attractive?” Some men can’t talk about interacting with women without referring to sex and dating because they see women as wives and girlfriends first and co-workers and bosses second….”
Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer – Peggy Orenstein at The New York Times
Sing it, Peggy.
“…Recently, a survey of three decades of screening published in November in The New England Journal of Medicine found that mammography’s impact is decidedly mixed: it does reduce, by a small percentage, the number of women who are told they have late-stage cancer, but it is far more likely to result in overdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment, including surgery, weeks of radiation and potentially toxic drugs. And yet, mammography remains an unquestioned pillar of the pink-ribbon awareness movement. Just about everywhere I go — the supermarket, the dry cleaner, the gym, the gas pump, the movie theater, the airport, the florist, the bank, the mall — I see posters proclaiming that “early detection is the best protection” and “mammograms save lives.” But how many lives, exactly, are being “saved,” under what circumstances and at what cost? Raising the public profile of breast cancer, a disease once spoken of only in whispers, was at one time critically important, as was emphasizing the benefits of screening. But there are unintended consequences to ever-greater “awareness” — and they, too, affect women’s health.
Breast cancer in your breast doesn’t kill you; the disease becomes deadly when it metastasizes, spreading to other organs or the bones. Early detection is based on the theory, dating back to the late 19th century, that the disease progresses consistently, beginning with a single rogue cell, growing sequentially and at some invariable point making a lethal leap. Curing it, then, was assumed to be a matter of finding and cutting out a tumor before that metastasis happens….”
Don Draper-Approved Sexist Ads of The Week – CopyRanter at BuzzFeed
“The year was 1969, and ad Mad Men really started honing their insecurity messages directed squarely at the woman’s vagina…”
Second Thoughts On Medicaid From Oregon’s Unique Experiment – Julie Rovner at NPR
“…Overall, the findings were uniformly positive. People with insurance used more care, spent less money. “We found big improvements in self-reported health,” Baicker said. “We asked people how they felt, how their health interfered with their normal daily activities. And they reported substantial gains when they got Medicaid coverage, relative to the randomly assigned control group that didn’t have Medicaid coverage.”
For this current study, however, the researchers wanted to go a little deeper. Rather than just asking people if they felt better, they wanted to see if they actually were healthier after getting Medicaid coverage.
So they did personal visits that included medical tests, like blood pressure and cholesterol screening.
But the results there weren’t so positive. There was no statistically significant difference between the Medicaid group and the control group in those measures.
The study did find, however, increases in the diagnosis and treatment of those common ailments in the Medicaid group.
And there was a significant decrease among the Medicaid population in the likelihood of being diagnosed with depression. “It was about a 30 percent decline in the probability of screening positive for depression among those who had Medicaid than among those who didn’t,” she said….”