Another Score for Public Health Nurses and Midwives

This article is filled with good news. I love good news. Apparently there has been an ‘unexplainable’ drop in infant mortality rates in one certain county (Dane) in Illinois over the last 20 years and they are just scratching their heads even though all the ‘evidence’ as to why is sitting right there in front of them. DUH.

One huge issue in our country is the very high infant mortality rate among African American women due to premature deliveries. Nationwide for 2007, according to the latest federal data, infant mortality was 6 per 1,000 for whites and 13 for blacks-up to 20 per 1,000 in some areas. Dane county was hovering around 19 deaths per 1,000 births back in the early 1990’s. Now it is down to 5. “The steep decline, reaching parity with whites, is particularly intriguing, experts say, because obstetrical services for low-income women in the county have not changed that much.” according to the article.

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Fewer Mammograms, and now…..fewer PAPS.

For those who are fans of full body CT scans, and mammograms and colonoscopy’s etc. you may be dismayed to learn that just this week yet another screening is being downplayed.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG) has changed their recommendations regarding PAP smears for young women. Young women should have their first Pap test no sooner than age 21, regardless of when they become sexually active and should have annual PAPs ever other year after age 21- and even up to every 3 years if no abnormality is ever detected after 3 tests.

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Midwives and Passports in South Texas

Back in the 1990’s  75 midwives in the South Texas area were convicted of filing false birth certificates claiming to have delivered babies in the United States that were actually born elsewhere-mostly in Mexico.  This was one way for babies to gain US citizenship without the mothers risking their lives to cross the border to gain citizenship for their babies. I know it was illegal, but if only women ran the world……

For those of you who don’t know this, it is pretty common practice for pregnant women to enter into the US to deliver their babies so they can gain US Citizenship. (I am looking for statistics on this and not having an easy time finding them.) It’s an issue of contention for people against illegal immigration.

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Preterm Babies- Finally They Mentioned the C word.

The Health Day Reporter posted an article today citing statistics from the report:  Born A Bit Too Early: Recent Trends in Late Preterm Births, issued by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, stating that “The percentage of babies born preterm in the United States rose by more than 20 percent from 1990 to 2006, most delivered at the end of the preterm period, federal health officials report.”

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Could the Downturn in the Economy Positively Affect Birthing Women?

Every cloud has a silver lining right?  I wonder if the economic problems that are seeming to plague nearly every industry-including health care- might actually end up having a positive affect on the quality of birth experience for pregnant women and for the profession of midwifery as a whole.

Economically, hiring midwives makes sense. Generally speaking, a midwife who is employed by a hospital or birthing center earns anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 a year, (old stats) where as a family physician earns upwards of $120K and an obstetrician can earn $200K or more.  If an established practice or hospital is looking for a birth practitioner to join their group, it would make fiscal sense to consider hiring a nurse-midwife!

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New Guidelines for Mammography

OK- So this is unrelated to birth, but in my opinion it’s a huge women’s health issue.  Mammography.

Hello, my name is Lori, I am 40, and I have crappy health insurance.  Like a good informed citizen, I got a mammogram shortly after my 40th birthday because that was the ‘right’ thing to do according to the medical powers that be.  This decision was made by me based on the recommendation and guidelines, that were changed just today by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. I am applauding this decision and here’s why.

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Anniversary of the “Night of Terror”

On November 15th 1917, the warden of Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to torture the women sufferagists who were being held there.  They had been thrown in jail for picketing Woodrow Wilson’s White house-trying to get the word out about a woman’s right to vote.  By the end of that night, many of the women were barely alive.

Being somewhat of a fan and student of the first american feminist era- the 1910’s and 20’s, I would just like to call your attention to the brave women who fought, and eventually won our right to vote.  I think it’s important to remember them.

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Folic Acid- The Skinny on the Latest Findings

Any women who is or has been pregnant within the last 20 years or so has heard about the benefits of taking folic acid.  Folic acid is Vitamin B9. The natural form of the vitamin, called folate, is found in spinach, broccoli, beans, and peas.  Health professsionals have recommend that pregnant women take folic acid supplements to ward off the potentially fatal condition of spina bifida (a condition where part of the spinal cord is exposed).

Now, a new study has just been released drawing connections between high levels of Vitamin B9 in later pregnancy and the instances of asthma among young children.  This finding only exists if women took supplements-not if they ate lots of green, leafy vegetables.

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Midwifery Workshop in Las Cruces

I’m reprinting this press release for anyone interested in attending this workshop in Las Cruces on Saturday.

Empowerment Through Education

Midwifery teams up with grad students to teach women about options in childbirth.

A New Mexico State University graduate student, in partnership with a local midwifery clinic, will present a workshop to educate the community about options in childbirth Saturday.

Brooke Tou, a master’s of public health student, organized the “Choice in Childbirth: The Midwifery Model of Care” interactive workshop and panel discussion as part of her master’s degree program in the College of Health and Social Services. Tou said the overall goal of the workshop is to empower women to make conscious decisions about giving birth.

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