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*Editors' Note: As of January 2017, the Monthly Women's Health Research Review has been discontinued. Below are archived articles for your reference.

One-Third of Pregnancy-Related Deaths in Ill. May Be Preventable, Review Finds

July 31, 2014

In the first analysis of pregnancy-related deaths in Illinois in over 60 years, researchers from the state Maternal Mortality Review Committee Working Group found that one-third of such deaths were potentially preventable. Noting that their findings are consistent with analyses in other states, the researchers called for "a multi-tiered approach [to] addressing provider, system and patient-related factors" in order to reduce preventable pregnancy-related deaths.

Study Examines Associations Between Sexual Assault, Childlessness Among Female Veterans

June 25, 2014

In this study, researchers assessed relationships between experiencing attempted or completed sexual assault and voluntary and involuntary childlessness among female veterans. They interviewed more than 1,000 women and found associations between history of sexual assault and childlessness, as well as between sexual assault and increased rates of abortion, post-traumatic stress disorder and infertility, among other issues. The researchers urge women's health care providers to ask veterans about their service and recognize the complex ways it might affect their reproductive health.

Maternal Depression, Pregnancy Intentions Tied to Return to Paid Work for New Moms

June 25, 2014

Researchers from the University of Maryland-College Park examined the relationships between maternal depression, whether a pregnancy was intended and return to paid work among women who had recently given birth. "Mothers who were not depressed and did not intend the pregnancy ... returned to paid work the soonest," whereas having an intended pregnancy and being depressed decreased the likelihood of return to paid work, the researchers found.

Comprehensive Review Affirms Safety of Waterbirth

June 25, 2014

A review of literature encompassing more than 31,000 waterbirths found that maternal and neonatal outcomes are comparable to those in other healthy childbearing populations. The researchers cautioned that waterbirth research to date is observational and not sufficient to demonstrate causal associations; however, "existing data support trained professionals in offering [waterbirth] to healthy women using evidence-based practice guidelines."

Waiting Room App Helpful for Improving Contraceptive Knowledge

June 25, 2014

Researchers developed an app with information about long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) and randomly assigned women at a Title X clinic to use the app for up to 15 minutes in the waiting room or receive standard care. Although women who used the app were no more likely than other women to choose LARC at their visit, they "had significantly higher knowledge of contraceptive effectiveness" and "increased interest" in the contraceptive implant after using the app. In addition, app users were highly satisfied with it, and it did not disrupt the normal clinic flow.

Ob-Gyns Describe Frustration With Catholic Hospitals' Restrictions on Tubal Ligation

June 25, 2014

Tubal ligation is one of the most commonly requested contraceptive methods in the U.S., but it is prohibited under the Roman Catholic Church's religious directives for health care facilities. University of Chicago researchers interviewed ob-gyns to assess their opinions and experiences related to requests for the procedure in Catholic hospitals. The ob-gyns expressed frustration with Catholic hospital policies that they felt put patients at unnecessary risk and increased barriers to care, especially for patients with financial or insurance restrictions.

Providers, Patients Differ in Priorities for Contraceptive Decision-Making

June 25, 2014

Researchers from Dartmouth College surveyed women about how they prioritize 34 questions about information they might consider when selecting a contraceptive method. They also asked providers about their priorities in counseling women about the same information. While women and providers placed similar levels of importance on 18 of the 34 questions, they differed in the questions that they felt were most important overall.

Researchers Review Studies on Adolescent Mental Health in Pregnancy, Postpartum Period

June 25, 2014

In a review of previous studies assessing the prevalence and effects of psychopathology among pregnant and postpartum adolescents, Rebecca Siegel and Anna Brandon of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill found "substantial research" on depressive symptoms among perinatal adolescents but little literature on the rates and challenges of other psychiatric conditions. In particular, the researchers recommended further study on anxiety and bipolar disorder in this population.

Review Assesses Women's Interest in On-Demand Oral Contraception

May 29, 2014

Researchers examined previous studies that assessed women's interest in on-demand oral contraceptives that would be used only shortly before or after sex. They determined that women are not only interested in such a product but that some women already use existing contraceptives, particularly emergency contraceptives, in this manner. Given the "magnitude and seriousness of the unmet need for contraception" worldwide, the researchers suggest further research toward developing a marketable on-demand oral contraceptive product.

Study Examines Abortion Coverage and Out-Of-Pocket Costs

May 29, 2014

Researchers from Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health examined abortion coverage and out-of-pocket costs among women receiving abortion care from 2008 through 2010, prior to an increase in federal and state restrictions on abortion coverage. They found that many women incurred substantial out-of-pocket costs, especially at later gestations, with more than half reporting that cost was a reason for delay in obtaining an abortion. Women were less likely to report that costs contributed to delays if they had Medicaid or private insurance, were at a lower gestational age or had higher incomes.

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