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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.

Review Explores Changes in Global Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Development Agenda

January 30, 2014

This paper explores how institutional and structural changes in development assistance from 2005 through 2011 affected "inclusion of a sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda in national planning environments." The researchers highlight themes from a review of country case studies from 2005 and 2011, as well as identify key actions that could help prioritize sexual and reproductive health and rights in post-2015 development goals.

Study Examines Predictors of Postpartum Sexual Activity, Satisfaction

January 30, 2014

In a study examining factors associated with women's sexual activity and sexual satisfaction after giving birth, researchers found that about 60% of women resumed sexual activity by eight to 10 weeks postpartum. They also found that mode of birth did not significantly affect the resumption of sexual activity or satisfaction but noted that other factors -- such as age, breastfeeding and depression -- can affect postpartum sexual functioning.

Study Explores Effects of Maternal Depression on Children's Long-Term Mental Health

January 30, 2014

Although maternal depression has been linked to poor physical health in offspring early in life, little research has focused on the pathways between maternal depression and offspring health, particularly mental health later in life. For this study, researchers followed hundreds of mother-child pairs for 20 years, finding that ongoing maternal depression in early childhood partially explained offspring poor physical health, which predicted increased health-related stress and poor social functioning at age 20. In turn, these factors predicted more depressive symptoms later in young adulthood.

Faith-Based Organizations Play Integral Role in Global Family Planning Efforts

January 30, 2014

In a policy review, the Guttmacher Institute's Sneha Barot reviews faith-based organizations' (FBOs) involvement in global family planning efforts, discrediting the notion that "faith and family planning are incompatible." She explains how family planning efforts align with FBOs' broader involvement in global health programs and highlights government partnerships with FBOs that have expanded access to modern contraceptives in the developing world. Policymakers should take note that a "large swath of this community actively supports a robust U.S. family planning program overseas," she writes.

Adolescents' Emergency Contraception Requests Met With Misinformation, Other Barriers

January 30, 2014

To assess adolescents' experiences seeking emergency contraception, researchers posed as teenage callers asking about nonprescription access to EC at pharmacies in five major cities. They found that the process of obtaining EC can present several challenges for adolescents, who have to overcome pharmacy staff members' ethical judgments, confusion about dispensing regulations, misinformation and inconsistent responses about minors' confidentiality.

Unintended Pregnancies Rose While Intended Pregnancies Fell in Early 2000s, Study Finds

January 30, 2014

Using the latest data on pregnancy, birth and abortion rates, Guttmacher Institute researchers found a "slight shift from intended to unintended pregnancy" from 2001 to 2008. In total, 51% of the nearly 6.6 million U.S. pregnancies in 2008 were unintended. While the start of the economic recession in 2007 likely affected women's pregnancy intentions, the researchers emphasized that there are "dramatic and growing" disparities in unintended pregnancy rates by relationship status, income and education.

Review Discusses Management of Perinatal Mental Health Disorders

December 5, 2013

Maternal health care providers play a critical role in assessing women's mental health needs, but there is limited evidence on best practices for evaluating and managing perinatal mental health conditions. This overview of recent research discusses the prevalence, classification and identification of perinatal mental health issues and explores how PNMH-related disorders affect pregnancy, fetal outcomes and child development. "The challenge for health professionals is to effectively identify women with perinatal mental health problems and to ensure they are given comprehensive management plans," according to the researchers.

Communication, Education Can Reduce Barriers To Improving Adolescent Sexual Health, Review Finds

December 5, 2013

In a literature review, researchers from the University of Cincinnati assessed barriers to sexually transmitted infection screening and prevention among adolescents, as well as techniques for providers to overcome these barriers and ensure the best care. After reviewing six studies, the researchers concluded that open communication between parents and adolescents and access to comprehensive sexual education programs have a positive effect on STI screening and prevention. They emphasized that providers must educate adolescent patients about STIs and develop trusting relationships with them, as well as foster open communication between these patients and their parents.

On-Site Access to LARCs Varies Across Federal Qualified Health Centers

December 5, 2013

Researchers from the George Washington University surveyed federally qualified health centers to examine the on-site availability of long-acting reversible contraceptives, including intrauterine devices and implants. The researchers found that "patients seeking care in small FQHC organizations, FQHCs with limited dedicated family planning funding and FQHCs located in rural areas may have fewer choices and limited access to LARC methods on-site." They call on FQHCs to "redesign their practices to accommodate the delivery of LARC methods onsite."

Study Examines Homelessness, Military Sexual Assault Among Female Veterans

December 5, 2013

This study examined correlations between homelessness and a history of military sexual assault among female veterans, as well as treatment preferences among this population. The researchers found that more than 40% of homeless female veterans in their sample had experienced sexual assault during their service and that these veterans had more-severe symptoms of PTSD and other psychiatric issues. They also found that these women wanted safety-focused treatment options.

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