You know what’s so great? Being so busy with work and friends and life that my Sunday posts have slipped by the wayside. Am I sorry? Yes, only because now this post is so long. So much has happened! Birth and reproductive health culture are in the forefront! Life is exciting!
Anyway, I am thinking of you all from my world, and thankful that we are working alongside each other. Keep up what you’re doing – it’s making a difference! Just look below!
Also, my undergrad basketball team is currently playing in the Elite Eight – GO BLUE!!!
Meet the Doctor Who Opened a Natural Birthing Center in Her Abortion Clinic – Heather Wood Rudolph at Cosmopolitan
“…Sixteen years after her mentor Dr. Barnett Slepian was murdered by an anti-choice extremist, Dr. Katharine Morrison has transformed the clinic he once led into a groundbreaking new venture. On Valentine’s Day, Buffalo Women Services became thefirst abortion clinic and natural birthing center in the country. The facility provides both abortion services and the full spectrum of reproductive care — pap smears, prenatal visits and natural delivery, which is free from drugs, IVs and a schedule.
Dr. Morrison talks to Cosmopolitan.com about the greatest challenge of her life that has turned out to be her most rewarding.
You’ve owned Buffalo Women Services since 2004. What have been some of the major obstacles in providing abortion care over the years?
Buffalo was one of the epicenters of the abortion wars. We had [the anti-choice organization] Operation Rescue here in 1988 and again in 1992. They would protest outside doctors’ homes, follow their kids — really terrible things. When I came to work here in 1998, I asked the owner, “Isn’t it dangerous to do abortions? It’s so political.” She said, no, it’s not anymore. Three months later, Dr. Slepian was killed.
In Buffalo since then, it’s just become evermore oppressive. When I started in Buffalo in 1988, you could have an abortion at any number of doctors’ offices or clinics, and if you had any medical issue or just wanted general anesthesia, you could have [an abortion] in any number of hospitals. Fast-forward to today and you cannot have an abortion in any hospital in Buffalo, N.Y. We’re hanging on by our fingernails.
When were you first introduced to natural birth?
In 2007 I went to a meeting led by a midwife, Eileen Stewart. She had a thriving home birth practice, but she was retiring because she couldn’t find an OB/GYN to collaborate with her. At that point in New York state, a midwife needed to have a written collaborative agreement with a doctor. It occurred to me that, although I had delivered 2,000 to 3,000 women, I had never actually seen a natural birth. I asked Eileen if she would take on a few clients so I could go with her to a few home births and see what it was all about. So I signed a written collaborative agreement with her and started attending home births in July 2007.
What’s the difference between the deliveries you were doing and natural birth?
It’s a different culture of birth. A woman isn’t subjected to anything she doesn’t want. She doesn’t need an IV [for drugs or fluids]. She can eat and move around. No one’s checking her every hour. She can go at her own pace, and even have a water birth. There’s no rush to cut the umbilical cord as there is at a hospital. And if labor is progressing slowly, no one’s pressuring the patient to have a C-section, as can happen at a hospital. All of these things were part of my routine in my previous practice. But when I saw this woman-centered care, I was hooked…”
Don’t Birth That Baby In A Tub, Doctors Say, But Midwives Disagree – Nancy Shute at NPR
“…Hospitals are increasingly giving women the option going through labor or giving birth in a pool of warm water. Laboring in the tub is fine, the nation’s obstetricians and pediatricians say, but there’s not enough proof that it’s safe to actually give birth there.
The doctors’ statement has raised eyebrows among nurse-midwives, who have been helping women deliver in water for decades in order to ease pain and speed delivery.
“I would consider warm water immersion during labor and birth a midwifery standard of practice,” says Jenna Shaw-Battista, director of the nurse midwifery education program at the University of California, San Francisco. “We don’t believe that the [doctors’] letter accurately portrays the growing body of research supporting water birth.”
“There’s actually pretty good evidence that it’s safe to labor in the tub,” says Dr. Aaron Caughey, an associate professor of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and a member of the committee that wrote the opinion, which was published Thursday. “But there’s less good evidence that it’s safe for the baby and even safe for the mom in terms of infection risk, to give birth in the tub.”
And of course that’s the first thing people want to know; is it safe? The biggest fear is that a baby could draw its first breath in the water, then choke or drown. The doctors note individual case reports of drowning or near drowning, both at hospitals and home births, but those reports don’t give any sense of what the circumstances were or how common those incidents might be.
“Case reports are the lowest form of evidence,” Shaw-Battista counters. She is completing a study of 1,200 women who labored or birthed in water, and says they did as well or better than women who did not. “Given the bulk of the data, I don’t think we should use case reports to reject options that women are currently enjoying.”
It’s essential that water births be conducted with a trained professional, be planned, and follow established guidelines, Shaw-Battista says. That includes bringing the baby up to the surface right away, not putting the baby back in the water, and checking to make sure that the umbilical cord is long enough to lift the baby without damaging the cord…
There are risks associated with water birth, Harper says, but they can be reduced by excluding women with high-risk pregnancies, health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure, or a previous C-section. Infection control is also critical, since the water can be contaminated with feces or blood, as is having a doctor or midwife trained in water birth in attendance. “When you follow those narrow criteria, it’s no riskier than delivering on a bed.””
A terrifying precedent: Woman to be tried for murder for giving birth to stillborn – Nina Martin, Propublica at Salon
“…Prosecutors argue that the state has a responsibility to protect children from the dangerous actions of their parents. Saying Gibbs should not be tried for murder is like saying that “every drug addict who robs or steals to obtain money for drugs should not be held accountable for their actions because of their addiction,” the state attorney general’s office wrote in a brief to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
But some civil libertarians and women’s rights advocates worry that if Gibbs is convicted, the precedent could inspire more prosecutions of Mississippi women and girls for everything from miscarriage to abortion — and that African Americans, who suffer twice as many stillbirths as whites, would be affected the most.
Mississippi has one of has one of the worst records for maternal and infant health in the U.S., as well as some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease and among the most restrictive policies on abortion. Many of the factors that have been linked to prenatal and infant mortality — poverty, poor nutrition, lack of access to healthcare, pollution, smoking, stress — are rampant there.
“It’s tremendously, tremendously frightening, this case,” said Oleta Fitzgerald, southern regional director for the Children’s Defense Fund, an advocacy and research organization, in Jackson. “There’s real fear for young women whose babies are dying early who [lack the resources to] defend themselves and their actions.”
Those who share such worries point to a report last year by the New York–basedNational Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) that documented hundreds of cases around the country in which women have been detained, arrested and sometimes convicted — on charges as serious as murder — for doing things while pregnant that authorities viewed as dangerous or harmful to their unborn child.
The definition of fetal harm in such cases has been broad: An Indiana woman whoattempted suicide while pregnant spent a year in jail before murder charges were dropped last year; an Iowa woman was arrested and jailed after falling down the stairs and suffering a miscarriage; a New Jersey woman who refused to sign a preauthorization for a cesarean section didn’t end up needing the operation, yet was charged with child endangerment and lost custody of her baby. But the vast majority of cases have involved women suspected of using illegal drugs. Those women have been disproportionately young, low-income and African American…”
These Women Want to Change the Way You Think About Abortion – Chanel Dubofsky at Cosmopolitan
“…Do your friends talk openly about abortion? If you’ve had an abortion, do you discuss it? If not, why not? According to the Guttmacher Institute’s latest stats, three out of 10 women in the U.S. will have an abortion by the time they turn 45, which means it’s a very common procedure that’s still treated as a taboo.
Kate Cockrill, 36, and Steph Herold, 26, are the activists and entrepreneurs behind Sea Change, a new nonprofit that seeks to tackle the stigma around abortion and other reproductive experiences, such as adoption and infertility. “A few months back we got a package from a woman in Georgia,” Cockrill said. “In the package was the sweetest letter thanking us for our work. This woman had never told anyone about her abortion but had written a whole book about the isolation, shame and judgment she felt. She didn’t know who to send it to, so she sent it to us. The saddest thing about it: Her abortion was more than 25 years ago.”
Cockrill and Herold spoke with Cosmopolitan.com about the “living room revolution” they’re launching to help women across the country connect about their experiences of pregnancy, sexuality, and parenthood…”
“…Antidepressants are neither entirely safe nor inherently dangerous in pregnancy. The data does suggest some potential for risks, though relatively rare, and in cases of moderate to severe depression, the benefits may outweigh the risks for some women and babies.
That said, all medications used for mental health cross the placenta, thus exposing the developing fetus to these drugs, and, in spite of widespread use, there’s still a lot we don’t know about their safety in pregnancy.
The most commonly recommended medications for depression (and anxiety) in pregnancy are the SSRIs and SNRIs, and these are really the only ones that are considered even remotely “safe.” Most other categories of antidepressants – mood stabilizers and tricyclic antidepressants, for example, are associated with congenital malformations and should almost always be avoided.
While substantial studies in hundreds of thousands of pregnant women do not show any harm from using these drugs while pregnant, other important studies, including by the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, have found that exposure during pregnancy increases the risks of complications including:
- Congenital malformations (septal heart defects, craniosyntosis, anencephaly, and omphalocele)
- Preterm birth
- Gestational hypertension
There is a controversial association with increased miscarriage risk. Additionally, newborns that had been exposed to maternal use of antidepressants during the pregnancy, may exhibit poor neonatal adaptation (neonatal behavior syndrome), which includes tremors, rapid breathing, and even persistent pulmonary hypertension.
Since 2004, drug-labeling laws require a warning about the potential for adverse effects on newborns to appear on antidepressant packaging.
Timing of use during the pregnancy (i.e., which trimester), and at what dose, may have an impact on safety, as does the choice of medication…”
Exam Rooms and Bedrooms: Navigating Queer Sexual Health – Taja Lindley at RH Reality Check
“…Queer sexuality is not a specialty in reproductive health care. And as this recent case of woman-to-woman transmission of HIV confirmed by the CDC reveals, health-care providers need to tell their patients about the risks associated with all sex.
Indeed, people are having all kinds of sex, regardless of how they identify their orientation; we need a health-care system that is prepared to address everyone’s questions, issues, and concerns about sex, sexuality, and sexual and reproductive health. Unfortunately, sex education and sexual health services remain within a hetero-normative context. This must change.
With the roll-out of Obamacare, thousands of previously uninsured LGBTQ folks who haven’t seen a health-care provider in years are navigating plans, finding providers, and likely going through this same trial and error that I did to find someone who gets them. Thankfully, there are resources to aid in this journey, and yet the exam room isn’t the only place where the conversation is awkward and where their questions will be sometimes avoided.
When I used to identify as straight and had sex with men, life seemed so much simpler. No condom? No sex. My mother, a registered nurse who gave birth to me at age 19 and raised me on her own, had the birds and the bees talk with me when I was in the second grade. We covered anatomy, intercourse, and the process of pregnancy and birth. And while I thank her for the early crash-course in sex education, its focus on pregnancy left out a whole lot of other information—like STI risk through other sexual activity beyond intercourse. She probably focused on pregnancy because she was concerned about me becoming a young mom too, but good intentions aside, there was a gap in my sex ed that was not filled by the public education system in metro Atlanta.
As I navigated the waters of sexual health as a straight woman, I found information relatively easy to find and health-care providers ready with answers to my questions. Public materials and ads about safe sex were everywhere—for straight people. I saw a few about men who have sex with men, but absolutely nothing about women who have sex with other women. So in 2010, when I had my first sexual experience with a woman, I was ill-equipped to have conversations around safe sex and put that into practice. My sex ed didn’t prepare me for this part of my sexual expression, and my mother didn’t anticipate her daughter being queer. (I’ll save my coming out story for another article.) So what’s a queer girl to do?…”
Evidence for the Vitamin K Shot in Newborns – Rebecca Dekker at Evidence Based Birth
“…Vitamin K deficiency bleeding, thought to be a problem of the past—has been recently thrust back into the spotlight. During an 8-month period in 2013, five infants were admitted to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, with life-threatening bleeding. The infants were diagnosed with late Vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB)—four of the infants had bleeding in the brain, and one had bleeding in the intestines. Although the five infants survived, two required emergency brain surgery to save their lives, one has severe brain damage (a stroke with right-sided paralysis and severe cognitive delays), and two have mild to moderate brain injuries (Personal communication, Dr. Robert Sidonio, 2014).
What did these infants have in common? The infants ranged in age from seven weeks to five months old; three were male and two were female. Three of the infants were born in hospitals, and two were born at home. All of the infants were exclusively breastfed. Most importantly, what these infants had in common was that all of their parents had declined Vitamin K shots at birth.
Concerned by this outbreak, the hospital asked the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to look into the situation. Researchers from the CDC examined Tennessee hospital records and found that between the years 2007 and 2012, there had been zero cases of Vitamin K deficiency bleeding out of more than 490,000 births. They randomly sampled records from babies born at three Nashville hospitals and found that 96.6% of infants received Vitamin K injections. In contrast, only 72% of infants born in local freestanding birth centers received Vitamin K (Warren, Miller et al. 2013).
When the parents of the five infants were asked why they had declined Vitamin K, their reasons for declining included: concern about an increased risk for leukemia, a belief that the injection was unnecessary and “unnatural,” and a fear that their infant would be exposed to toxins in the shot. Only one of the families was aware that life-threatening bleeding was a possibility if they declined the injection (Warren, Miller et al. 2013; Personal communication, Dr. Robert Sidonio, 2014).
So what is the deal with Vitamin K? Why do most babies receive a Vitamin K shot? Can the shot really cause leukemia? (The answer is no.) What are the chances that an infant will develop life-threatening bleeding if he does not receive the Vitamin K shot? What is the evidence that the shot prevents bleeding? Are there any alternatives? These are the questions we will be tackling in this epic Evidence Based Birth article…”
9 Ridiculously Simple Things All Women Should Be Doing For Their Health – Catherine Pearson at The Huffington Post
“… 1. Prep before you go to the doctor.
…Or midwife or whichever qualified provider you choose to see. Alice Cooper, a nurse practitioner in the department of obstetrics and gynecology with Duke Medicine asks her patients: “Why don’t you think about the three top things that are important to you before you come to see me the next time?'” she said. “That way, we are making sure that your needs are being met, in addition to whatever boxes we need to check off to get the routine things covered.”
Of course, for the many women in this country who lack access to quality, affordable health care, getting in to see a doctor is easier said than done. But if anything, that probably makes prepping ahead even more important…”
Federal Judge Strikes Down One Of The Strictest Abortion Laws In The Nation – Igor Volsky at Think Progress
“…A federal judge struck down on of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation on Friday, ruling that that a measure in Arkansas restricting abortions starting at 12 weeks of pregnancy “impermissibly infringes a woman’s Fourteenth Amendment right to elect to terminate a pregnancy before viability” of the fetus.
The law cut off women’s access to legal abortion services well before the point of viability, which is typically around 24 weeks. However, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright’s ruling “let stand the law’s requirement that a woman seeking an abortion first undergo an ultrasound to determine whether a fetal heartbeat is present.”
The legislature overrode Gov. Mike Beebe’s (D) veto and enacted the law in March 2013, which had initially sought to ban abortions after just six weeks. In his veto statement, Beebeargued that the 12-week prohibition “blatantly contradicts the United States Constitution” and the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade. In 1973, the court found that women have a constitutionally protected right to legal abortion services until the medically accepted point of viability.
Arkansas attorney general, Dustin McDaniel has not said if the state would appeal Wright’s decision. Similar restrictions exist in North Dakota and approximately a dozen states nationwide…”
FDA makes generic versions of emergency contraception available over the counter – Maya at Feministing
“…Good news: The slow–and often infuriating–expansion of access to emergency contraception took another step forward last week when the FDA announced that generic versions of EC can now be sold over the counter to folks of all ages.
Until now, a sweetheart deal had given the pharmaceutical company that makes the brand name version, Plan B, exclusive rights to sell their product without age restrictions, while generic versions were available only to those over 17 and remained behind the pharmacy counter. Now that all products can be side-by-side on the shelf, the generic versions, which typically cost less, will hopefully drive down the price overall.
Of course, this is EC we’re talking about, so obviously some confusion must remain. For now, while young women should be able to purchase them no problem, generic versions must include a label saying they are intended for “women 17 years of age or older.” Given that the complicated battle to get EC over the counter has left the public–including, most unfortunately, manypharmacists themselves–confused about the rules, this labeling probably won’t help.
So be sure to spread the word to all your friends: To prevent pregnancy after sex, go to a drugstore (maybe call ahead to make sure they stock it), find emergency contraception, ignore the labels about age restrictions (read the other instructions), purchase your preferred brand, don’t let anyone convince you that you need to show ID or otherwise give you a hard time, do the happy dance when you get your period/a negative pregnancy test…”
I Believe My Baby Thor Died of Health Care Politics – Elizabeth Heineman at Womens E-News
“…I believe that my nurse-midwife Deirdre is an excellent practitioner. I believe her hundreds of successful deliveries and the intense loyalty of her clientele demonstrate that she provides an important service. I believe her practice of non-invasive birthing for low-risk pregnancies contributes to a necessary movement toward more sensitive forms of reproductive health care.
I believe that after decades of successful practice and no bad outcomes, Deirdre made the wrong judgment call in not referring me to a doctor once I was a week postdate. I believe that judgment call resulted in Thor’s death.
I believe the likelihood of her making the wrong judgment call was heightened by the fact that she felt under siege. I believe the warfare between the medical profession and out-of-hospital midwives made her reluctant to refer a low-risk pregnancy with no sign of trouble to a doctor. Though I believe her most fundamental reason for not referring me to a doctor was much simpler: in her evaluation, it wasn’t medically necessary.
I believe the likelihood of Deirdre’s making a mistake was heightened by her professional isolation. I believe that isolation reduced the opportunity for informal, day-to-day talk with colleagues to remind her of risk factors that rarely come into play but which can be critical, like the dramatically higher incidence of stillbirth for women over 40 starting at 41 weeks’ gestation.
I believe that my midwives in Berlin, where I’d had my son Adam, practicing as a group and without feelings of defensiveness since local obstetricians collaborated with them, would have been more likely to refer me to a doctor.
I believe Deirdre has revised some of her practices as a result of Thor’s death. I believe she remains professionally isolated, and that this isolation creates unnecessary risks for her clients…”
Photographing The Butch Women Of San Francisco – Sarah Karlan at BuzzFeed
“…When photographer Meg Allen began taking portraits of her friends in the San Francisco area last year, she had no idea it would soon become a project close to her heart. Allen describes herself as a “butch-ish queer” chick — she has been all of her life. “I tried to do the feminine thing there and there, but it always felt so false.” Her photo-based documentary BUTCH attempts to explore the butch identity and aesthetic through a series of personal portraits.
Allen says she was initially inspired by the photography of Catherine Opie, Honey Lee Cottrell, Tee Corine, and Chloe Sherman in Jill Posener’s book Nothing But the Girl — but wanted to give an updated look at feminine masculinity. “I lived in San Francisco at the time, and the Mission was Latino and dyke city … yet the only thing I saw published or visual in a major way was this book and a handful of others.”
In her own words, Allen describes what BUTCH means to her:
“It is a celebration of those who choose to exist and identify outside of the binary; who still get he’d and she’d differently throughout the day.”…”
Why Medical Research Often Ignores Women – Rich Barlow at BU Today
“…There are times when researchers should exclude certain groups, says Palmer, who with Lynn Rosenberg (GRS’65), an SPH professor of epidemiology, is a principal investigator of the Black Women’s Health Study, which researches numerous diseases in black women, a group traditionally overlooked by research. But generally, researchers must be on the lookout to include both sexes, according to Palmer, who discussed the gender bias study with BU Today.
BU Today: How in this day and age does medical research still overlook female subjects?
Palmer: It is better than it was 25 years ago, a lot better. The National Institutes of Health made a rule 20 years ago that every study the NIH funded had to say whether women and minorities were included and in what proportions, and if not, why. Still, many grants get funded without women or with only a few, but at least it pushed researchers to be more likely to include women.
It’s hard to make a law that would work, because every study is different and circumstances are different. Where researchers have not done their part is that it’s still easier or more convenient to enroll men in studies. Lung cancer and cardiovascular disease are more common in men, even though they’re very serious for women; as the report said, lung cancer is a huge cause of death in women. But more men get lung cancer than women, largely due to patterns of smoking. With cardiovascular disease, it’s largely influenced by smoking and sedentary lifestyle, and major heart disease and stroke happen earlier in men than in women. So it’s just easier to get numbers of men to be in the studies.
Is it medically justified then, in some cases, to exclude certain groups?
That’s right. One of the problems with the NIH rule is that it was interpreted to mean every study should have a mix of people. So many people design their studies to represent whatever general population they were working with, and as a result, they might have only 20 percent women, and maybe that wouldn’t be enough to analyze women separately. Many of us argued that for groups that are underrepresented, it can be more effective to design a study just in that one group.
Would a study that excluded, say, women, ever be justified if lung cancer and heart disease occur more in men, with maybe a separate, complementary study involving just women and those diseases?
There are grounds for doing that, in my view, if it’s a disease that’s uncommon in the other sex, or if there’s something very different going on in one versus the other. When we do studies of breast cancer, we only enroll women, because 99 percent of breast cancers occur in women. Male breast cancer is a different thing, and it wouldn’t be helpful to have 10 men in our study of 1,000 women. That would be a case where you would do a study just of men. But the thing about lung cancer—it’s not a good justification where the disease gender split is 60-40 or 70-30.
Why can’t medical research results be extrapolated between genders?
Some do translate, but men and women have different hormones. There are many pathways affected by hormones in the body. Cardiovascular disease, in particular, and some of the cancers are affected by hormones…”
25 Everyday Examples of Rape Culture – Shannon Ridgway at Role Reboot
“…Chances are, most of you have heard the phrase “rape culture.”
It’s used often in feminist circles, and it describes a very important social conditioning that we experience culturally.
But how many of you know what it actually looks like?
In reading through feminist forums and articles online, particularly in articles about rape or sexual assault, I notice that sometimes in the comments section, people make statements about how rape culture is just a phrase that’s made up to make men look bad or to make it seem like rape is something that happens far more often than it actually does.
After reading these comments, I could have easily dismissed them as fodder written by online trolls and gone on with my day. But it really got me thinking.
Perhaps some people truly don’t understand what rape culture is.
After all, if you’re hearing the phrase for the first time, it can be really confusing.
We understand the word “culture,” from a sociological or anthropological viewpoint, to be things that people commonly engage in together as a society (ranging from the arts to education to table manners), and we find it difficult to link the word “rape” in with that concept.
We know that at its core, our society is not something that outwardly promotes rape, as the phrase could imply. That is, we don’t, after all, “commonly engage” in sexual violence “together as a society.”
To understand rape culture better, first we need to understand that it’s not necessarily a society or group of people that outwardly promotes rape (although it could be).
When we talk about rape culture, we’re discussing something more implicit than that. We’re talking about cultural practices (that, yes, we commonly engage in together as a society) that excuse or otherwise tolerate sexual violence.
We’re talking about the way that we collectively think about rape.
More often than not, it’s situations in which sexual assault, rape, and general violence are ignored, trivialized, normalized, or made into jokes.
And this happens a lot. All the time. Every day.
And it’s dangerous in that it is counterproductive to eliminating sexual violence from society.
So what, exactly, does rape culture look like? How does it present itself?
Well, to see what I’m referring to, take a look at the examples below.
Because if we don’t understand the meaning behind the concept of rape culture, or if we have a skewed interpretation of the meaning, we may find it easy to deny its existence.
And you may think that some of these examples are isolated, one-off situations. But in reality, they’re part of a larger societal trend.
That is rape culture…”
Microbirth: Why ‘Seeding Baby’s Microbiome’ Needs to Be on Every Birth Plan – Toni Harman at The Huffington Post
“…As the fetus grows in the womb, it develops in a near-sterile environment relying on its mother for protection. But when the baby emerges, it is entering a world of bacteria, some of which are bad (pathogens) but some of which are good.
In the weeks and days leading up to birth, specific species of good bacteria are migrating to key locations in the mother’s body and are transferred to the baby during and immediately after birth via the birth canal, immediate skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding. The role of these good bacteria is to train the baby’s human cells to distinguish between what is “friend” and what is “foe” so that its immune system can fight off attack from pathogens. This process kickstarts the baby’s immune system and helps to protect the infant from disease for its entire lifetime.
However, with interventions like use of synthetic oxytocin (Pitocin / Syntocinon), antibiotics, C-section and formula feeding, this microbial transfer from the mother to baby is interfered with or bypassed completely. For babies that enter the world by C-section, their first contact could be with bacteria that is resident in hospitals and from strangers, i.e. not with the special cocktail of bacteria from the mother.
The latest scientific research is now starting to indicate that if the baby is not properly seeded with the mother’s own bacteria at birth, then the baby’s microbiome, in the words of Rodney R Dietert, Professor of Immunotoxicology at Cornell University, is left “incomplete”. Consequently, that baby’s immune system may never develop to its full potential, leaving that infant with an increased risk of developing one or more serious diseases later in life.
The discovery of the microbiome is an exciting moment in human history. The insight it gives into the existence of the trillions of bacteria that live on us and in us potentially offers the medical community a new way to treat disease. Even more importantly, it also offers the possibility of helping to prevent disease in the first place. And it all starts with birth…”
On Being an Abortion Doula – Roc Morin at The Atlantic
“…“She was chit-chatty at first,” began full-spectrum doula Annie Robinson, describing one of her first clients. “She didn’t seem anxious, didn’t seem like she particularly had much to say. And then, the [abortion] procedure began and I stood beside her, holding her hand, and she went into this other zone. She turned to me and just started going back in time to when she was six years old, eight years old, just telling me these horrific stories of sexual violence—abuse that her body had been subject to. It was astounding to witness—to feel palpably how the body holds memory—holds trauma. It was profound and it was an honor to be there. When we’re seized by something that needs to be shared, it’s so crucial for someone to be there to receive it, because to share it is to let it go.”
Robinson is one of over 20 volunteers for The Doula Project, a New York City-based nonprofit organization. The organization was started in 2007 as a way to provide caregivers to women undergoing abortions. In the words of the project’s mission statement, their doulas offer “all of the benefits of what is typically known to be the territory of birth doulas: pain management and relaxation techniques, information and education about pregnancy, and above all, emotional support and empathy.”
In 2009, the project expanded to encompass birth-work as well, though the majority of their clients are still women terminating pregnancies.
I met with the 27-year-old Robinson to discuss her experiences in this role over the past two years…”
Future providers as advocates – Jennifer Colletti at Ipas
“…In Nigeria, despite the fact that unsafe abortion is one of the most significant and preventable causes of maternal death and injury, many young doctors object to providing abortion care. In Nicaragua and El Salvador, health sciences students often note their universities’ curricula lack accurate information on women’s sexual and reproductive health. And the situation is similar in the United States, where medical students at some schools have to seek special training on abortion care outside their basic curricula.
These examples all illustrate a global fact: While many health sciences schools provide clinical training in sexual and reproductive health care, that doesn’t necessarily mean students are prepared to navigate the professional and personal obstacles to providing such care, or the stigma and conflict that often surround topics such as contraception and abortion.
“In many countries, medical students are not taught about unsafe abortion and the impact it has on women’s rights and maternal health,” says International Federation of Medical Student Associations (IFMSA) President Joško Miše.
Aiming to fill this gap, Ipas has been working with medical students associations and schools of health sciences since 2000 to engage almost 3,000 students in trainings on sexual and reproductive health and rights. The trainings use a human rights lens to examine these topics and create a safe space for future health-care workers to clarify their values and learn skills related to providing contraception, abortion and youth sexual health services.
“Helping these students develop awareness, sensitivity and comfort with challenging sexual and reproductive health topics is key to expanding women’s access to reproductive health care, including safe abortion,” explains Karah Pedersen, Ipas senior youth advisor.
In Latin America and Africa, and globally in partnership with the IFMSA, Ipas is working with health sciences students to raise awareness of sexual and reproductive health and rights issues in their countries, to develop skilled and passionate advocates for reproductive rights, and to integrate content on human rights and reproductive health—including abortion—into curricula at health sciences schools. Students aren’t the only ones who benefit: Health sciences students and faculty who participate in Ipas trainings report the experience can be life changing both personally and professionally…”
Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan come out swinging against Hobby Lobby corporate religion claim – Katie McDonough at Salon
“…Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dominated much of the questioning at the start of Tuesday’s oral arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., suggesting that at least three of the court’s nine justices are dubious of the company’s claim that corporations can have religious faith and that providing employees with contraceptive coverage is a violation of its “religious liberty” under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
As Brent Kendall reports in the Wall Street Journal, Hobby Lobby attorney Paul Clement had barely opened his mouth to speak before Sotomayor jumped in to ask about the consequences of corporate religion. If corporations could claim a religious objection to providing contraception coverage, she asked, couldn’t they also object to vaccinations or blood transfusions? Kagan picked up the thread on corporate religion, noting that there are a number of other medical treatments that are not considered legitimate under certain religious doctrine, and asked if corporations should be able to object to covering those as well. Empowering corporations to do this would mean, “Everything would be piecemeal; nothing would be uniform,” according to Kagan.
Kagan also grilled Clement on Hobby Lobby’s claim under RFRA, an “uncontroversial law” that Hobby Lobby is attempting to use it to disrupt “the entire U.S. code.” Ginsburg noted here that RFRA passed in 1993 with overwhelming bipartisan support, and that to use the measure to endow corporations with religious rights “seems strange.”…”
Oh Joy Sex Toy: How to Eat Pussy – Erika Moen at Bitch Media
Image cropped – to see full image visit the above website.
New Study Confirms It: Breast-Feeding Benefits Have Been Drastically Overstated – Jessica Grose at Slate
“…A new study confirms what people like our own Hanna Rosin and Texas A&Mprofessor Joan B. Wolf have been saying for years now: The benefits of breast-feeding have been overstated. The study, published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, is unique in the literature about breast-feeding because it looks at siblings who were fed differently during infancy. That means the study controls for a lot of things that have marred previous breast-feeding studies. As the study’s lead author, Ohio State University assistant professor Cynthia Colen, said in a press release, “Many previous studies suffer from selection bias. They either do not or cannot statistically control for factors such as race, age, family income, mother’s employment—things we know that can affect both breast-feeding and health outcomes.”
Colen’s study is also unique because she looked at children ages 4-14. Often breast-feeding studies only look at the effects on children in their first years of life. She looked at more than 8,000 children total, about 25 percent of whom were in “discordant sibling pairs,” which means one was bottle-fed and the other was breast-fed. The study then measured those siblings for 11 outcomes, including BMI, obesity, asthma, different measures of intelligence, hyperactivity, and parental attachment.
When children from different families were compared, the kids who were breast-fed did better on those 11 measures than kids who were not breast-fed. But, as Colen points out, mothers who breast-feed their kids are disproportionately advantaged—they tend to be wealthier and better educated. When children fed differently within the same family were compared—those discordant sibling pairs—there was no statistically significant difference in any of the measures, except for asthma. Children who were breast-fed were at a higher risk for asthma than children who drank formula.
Colen’s conclusion is the same one I came to when I wrote about a British pilotprogram that would pay women to breast-feed: Breast-feeding is good, but it shouldn’t be such a huge societal priority. As Colen put it, “We need to take a much more careful look at what happens past that first year of life and understand that breast-feeding might be very difficult, even untenable, for certain groups of women. Rather than placing the blame at their feet, let’s be more realistic about what breast-feeding does and doesn’t do.”…”
How Being Ignored Helped A Woman Discover The Breast Cancer Gene – Nancy Shute at NPR
“…Back in the 1970s, a geneticist named Mary-Claire King decided she needed to figure out why women in some families were much more likely to get breast cancer.
It took 17 years for King and her colleague to identify the single gene that could cause both breast and ovarian cancer. During that time, many people discounted her work, saying that genes couldn’t cause complex diseases like cancer. She proved them wrong by mapping the location of the gene she named BRCA1. In 1994, after an international “race” of four years among competing laboratories, the BRCA1 gene was successfully cloned. (King describes her experience in Thursday’s issue of the journalScience.)
The discovery revolutionized genetics and cancer treatment. Simple genetic tests now let women know if they have mutations in their BRCA genes that increase cancer risk. They then can act on that knowledge, as actress Angelina Jolie did.
King, now a professor of genome science at the University of Washington, talked with NPR’s Audie Cornish on Thursday about how she slowly but surely built evidence to prove that BRCA did indeed cause cancer…”
Too Many Women Don’t Have Fun In Bed. Maybe It’s Because Their Partners Never Took This Class? – Rebecca Eisenberg at Upworthy
“…OK, I’m gonna be straight with you here. This sketch features the word “b*tch” like more times than I can count, and the audio is 150% NSFW.
HOWEVER, I still think it’s worth watching because they’re playing characters (in more ways than one), what they have to say is actually pretty good advice about respect and mutual satisfaction in relationships, and the ending made me laugh out loud because, c’mon ladies, if we had the opportunity, we’d do the same, wouldn’t we?…”