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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.

20-Week Abortion Bans Will Disproportionately Affect Younger, Low-Income Women, Study Finds

December 5, 2013

Much is unknown about women who need abortions at or after 20 weeks' gestation, particularly among patients who did not seek the procedure because of fetal anomalies or life endangerment. Researchers from Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health studied the experiences of later abortion patients, finding that many of their characteristics were not remarkably different from those of first-trimester patients and likely did not influence their need for later abortions. Rather, "mounting complications of each obstacle faced [while seeking an abortion] resulted in some women's being in the first-trimester group and others' in the later abortion group," they found, noting that younger women and those with limited financial resources are disproportionately affected by 20-week abortion bans.

Poor Health of Recently Incarcerated Men's Female Partners Largely Overlooked, Study Suggests

December 5, 2013

For this study, researchers examined health risks and conditions among women who are in relationships with men recently released from incarceration. This population of women is a medically vulnerable and largely overlooked in the public health discourse, the researchers concluded. They urged physicians to screen for such relationships among female patients, adding that this population "desperately needs medical attention" as the Affordable Care Act is implemented.

Study Compares Outcomes for Group Prenatal Care With Traditional CNM Care

December 5, 2013

A prenatal health care delivery model called CenteringPregnancy combines health assessment, education and support in a group setting. Researchers compared the program with traditional certified nurse-midwife care, finding that women in CenteringPregnancy were more likely to quit smoking during pregnancy and breastfeed for at least six weeks. However, there were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of pregnancy weight gain, caesarean rates, gestational age at birth or preterm birth rates.

Article Describes Best Practices for Providing Care to Pregnant Women Who Use Drugs

October 31, 2013

Neonatal abstinence syndrome is a significant and increasing problem in the U.S., but a "collaborative, educational approach" by maternal care providers "can yield the best care for mothers and infants alike," according to Tammy Casper of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and Megan Arbour of the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing. They provide clinical guidance and resources for midwives to identify and manage drug use in pregnant women, from the prenatal through postpartum periods. The article focuses on identifying and providing care for pregnant women at risk of drug use, as well as testing newborns for NAS and ensuring adequate future care.

Analysis Discusses Sexual Health Issues Among Female Cancer Survivors

October 31, 2013

While there is increased attention on addressing quality-of-life issues in cancer survivors, sexual health is infrequently discussed, according to Sandy Falk and Don Dizon of Harvard Medical School. In the article, they explain common sexual issues related to cancer treatments and how they affect women physically and emotionally. They stress the need for physicians to educate their patients about the possible sexual side effects of treatment and encourage them to connect patients with appropriate resources.

Planned Parenthood Texting, IM Program Helpful for Teens With Sexual Health Questions, Study Finds

October 31, 2013

NYU researcher Margaret Giorgio and colleagues from Planned Parenthood Federation of America evaluated a PPFA pilot program that allows teens to chat with experts about sexual and reproductive health questions via instant messaging and text messaging. The program successfully reached its vulnerable groups "in moments of particular worry" and helped reduce their level of worry, the study found. "If interventions can be developed that reach young people with information and education that helps reduce worry, encourages the use of needed health services, and motivates changes in health behaviors, these technologies could be an important addition to public health practice," the researchers wrote.

Study Examines Prevalence of Reproductive Coercion, Link to Intimate Partner Violence

October 31, 2013

For this study, Lindsay Clark and colleagues at Brown University assessed the prevalence of reproductive coercion among women presenting for care at a large, urban obstetrics and gynecology clinic. The researchers found that about 16% of women experienced coercion; those women also were more likely to report co-occurring intimate partner violence. The study authors call on ob-gyns to routinely assess patients for both reproductive coercion and intimate partner violence.

ACOG, ASRM Committee Opinion Calls for 'Timely Action' To Reduce Exposure to Toxic Environmental Agents

October 31, 2013

In a committee opinion, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine warn about the harmful effects of exposure to toxic environmental agents on both reproductive health and fetal development. They recommend ways that reproductive health care providers can help protect patients' health from adverse effects. The groups also "call on their members to advocate for policies to identify and reduce exposure to environmental toxic agents while addressing the consequences of such exposure."

Group Prenatal Care Linked To Greater Use of Postpartum Family Planning Services, Study Finds

October 31, 2013

Researchers from the University of South Carolina compared postpartum family planning utilization among Medicaid beneficiaries who attended group prenatal care with those who attended individual prenatal care. They found that women who received group care were more likely to access family planning services at three, six, nine and 12 months postpartum than those who received individual care. Utilization of postpartum family planning services was highest among non-Hispanic black women who participated in group care, suggesting that such programs can help address health disparities, according to the researchers.

Changes in Physician Training Can Help Translate Women's Health Research Into Practice, Editorial States

September 26, 2013

Research on women's health and sex and gender medicine "is not always consistently translated into clinical practice," in part because the topics are not adequately included in physician training programs, according to an editorial by Kim Templeton of the University of Kansas. In a survey of internal medicine residents, many noted "limited training opportunities" and had low comfort levels with women's health topics, she writes. Templeton's suggestions include developing curricula and faculty development opportunities to "improve the translation of current research into clinical practice for all health care professionals."

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