Thank goodness it’s October. I was entirely ready for September to come to an end, though starting a month on a Tuesday felt a little odd. It’s made the week feel like it’s always in the middle: never finished and never quite started. A lesson in rolling with the punches! Happy National Midwifery Week! And many thanks to the ACNM for all the work they’ve put into advertising my beloved profession this week – join in on social media with the hashtag #MidwivesMakeADifference!
Where the Safety Net Won’t Catch Us: How Obamacare Fails Black Women on Maternal Health – Elizabeth Dawes Gay at RH Reality Check
“…What Black women are facing is a problem that even stellar health insurance and health-care access (which ACA does not guarantee) cannot solve. It cannot be addressed by traditional thinking about access to medical care, health, and health policy, because such thinking is inadequate to deal with the problems that our country is facing. Health insurance reform cannot achieve better health outcomes for Black women and their children because it does not work toward justice. Even with the ACA in place, Black women will still be plagued by the chronic stress that comes with simply being Black in the United States.
Reducing and eliminating disparities requires some innovation, creativity, and risk-taking. We have to take a comprehensive, intersectional approach that works to eliminate injustice and, as University of California, Los Angeles OB-GYN Michael Lu and his colleagues say, “undo racism.”
In order to close this gap in maternal health, they believe “[w]e cannot eliminate racial disparities in birth outcomes without addressing racial disparities in education, healthcare, housing, employment, the criminal justice system and the built environment.” The good news is that we can do something. A good place to start is to change public policy.
Only bold policies and reforms addressing institutional and systemic flaws that produce inequality will make the big difference we as advocates seek. This is what reproductive justice advocates understood when they rallied together to change the discourse and take action almost two decades ago. Now, we see many more adopting this intersectional approach in one form or another. For example, the Center for American Progress’ Fair Shot campaign acknowledges the intersection of economic security and reproductive health and signals a shift in the policy approach to health and well-being.
We cannot achieve good reproductive and maternal health outcomes by simply focusing on health-care services. We must have economic justice, social justice, and environmental justice to achieve reproductive justice. And we must have reproductive justice to make progress as a society. We cannot move forward by leaving some communities behind…”
We Need to Stop Shackling Pregnant Women in Prison – Now. – Victoria Law at Bitch Media
“…Shackling during pregnancy is inhumane and unnecessary. Pregnant women in jails and prisons are more likely to experience miscarriage, preterm birth, low birth weight infants, and potentially fatal conditions like preeclampsia. In addition to being dehumanizing, shackling can increase stress and lead to further complications, as well as render doctors unable to treat women in emergency situations. So why is it so hard to pass laws ensuring this basic health care protection?
It may be that, when we think of prison, we don’t think of women in prison, let alone pregnant women in prison. Orange is the New Black is the one mainstream media portrayal that I can easily point to and know that people have at least heard of it. But for the most part, women—and women’s issues—continue to be invisible when we think about prison. That means that we don’t think about the issues that accompany increasing arrests and incarceration. We don’t question narratives of people in prison as scary, threatening, faceless “others” rather than normal people who have done something illegal.
This invisibility also means that we’re less likely to question people like Steve Patterson, spokesperson for Chicago’s Cook County Sheriff’s Department, when he argues against anti-shackling protection using scare tactics like, “If you’re laying in hospital bed, and in the next hospital bed is a woman who’s in on a double murder charge, because she’s pregnant she shouldn’t be handcuffed to the side of the bed—I think if you’re the person laying in bed next to her you might disagree.” (Note: imprisoned people do not share hospital rooms with non-incarcerated people.)…”
15 Things the Experts Don’t Tell You About Childbirth – Catherine Pearson at The Huffington Post
“…2. “Natural” means different things to different people.
If natural childbirth is a personal priority, be sure to be 100 percent clear with your care provider or care team about what exactly that means to you, said Marcy Tardio, a certified nurse-midwife who oversees home births in the New York area. She said a potential benefit of home birth is the amount of time midwives are able to spend answering such questions. “It has been said that many [women and couples] spend more time shopping for a car than for how they’re going to birth,” she said.
The key is to understand what “natural” means to your care team, wherever you give birth: No interventions? Minimal interventions? The option to walk, eat and drink? Intermittent fetal monitoring? Just keep in mind, of course, that plans can change…”
WIC and Shutdown: Where to Get Baby Food and Formula – Feminist Hulk
“…If you need formula or baby food, or would like to donate, please consult the list below for resources in your region. This list will be updated as more info comes in. Please check with your local WIC office first — most are still open as of this writing (Oct 7). I will include both information on WIC availability as well as alternative resources and local donation drives wherever possible.
If you have a resource to add to this list, please send the organization name, address, web/phone contact, and operation hours to email@example.com. Please include as much info on donation and pickup procedures as possible.
Disclaimer: I am not a WIC representative, nor am I an official contact person for any of the resources listed below. If you have an update for an entry, or believe one of these resources was added in error, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What about breastfeeding families?: WIC provides important breastfeeding support services that are also affected by the government shutdown. If you know of local resources for lactation counseling for WIC families, please email this info as well. Make sure to check out La Leche League and Human Milk 4 Human Babies.
This list is still under construction. Please send info if your state’s resources aren’t included, or are incomplete…”
9 Things Every Woman Should Know About Menstruation – Anea Bogue at The Huffington Post
“…7. Nutrition Profoundly Effects Your Cycle. You have the power to maximize each phase and reduce physical and emotional discomforts by maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and taking vitamins that support your female body. For example, increasing your magnesium intake (via food or supplements), especially in week 4 of your cycle, can significantly reduce cramping, while regular intake of vitamin B6 throughout your cycle can help to minimize bloating.
8. You’re Not Crazy! The Pre-Menstrual phase (week 4) consists of the final days before you begin a new cycle. Progesterone continues to rise until just before the end of this phase when estrogen, testosterone and progesterone all plummet to their lowest levels. If you deny the natural need you have to slow down and turn inward, feelings of resentment, frustration and anger find a way to surface. The solution? Give yourself permission to move a little slower and take care of YOU.
9. A Little PMA (Positive Menstrual Attitude) Goes a Long Way! Studies have shown that many of the less desirable physical and emotional manifestations of the Pre-Menstrual Phase (week 4) can be minimized by developing a more informed and positive attitude around your menstrual cycle…”
MCALC The First Gender Neutral Menstrual Calculator – Auny Moons
“…-Neutrality Guaranteed: We understand that sex and gender identity are not the same, because of this, we designed our app so it can be used by almost everyone. Mcalc is 100% gender neutral and it won’t assume anything from you while using it.
-Notifications: Mcalc will keep you updated on the important dates of your menstrual cycle, it’s built in alarm system will allow you to set notifications you care about.
-Adaptation: We all have different needs, and Mcalc can suit them accordingly, it will only display the information relevant to your purposes and won’t nag you with irrelevant data. Using Mcalc on “sex mode” will help you reduce your risks of getting pregnant when having sex for fun, while setting it on “baby mode” will help you increase your chances of getting pregnant when planning one.
-Tracking: Mcalc lets you keep a log of your activity for later reference, it’s as simple as tapping a date in our calendar and tick the events that happened that day to save them for further reference.
-Information: Discover new things about menstrual cycles by using Mcalc’s informative pages…”