Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

From the 2 March 2015 Guttmacher Institute press release

Increasing Publicly Funded Family Planning Services Could Substantially Reduce These Costs

U.S. government expenditures on births, abortions and miscarriages resulting from unintended pregnancies nationwide totaled $21 billion in 2010, according to “Public Costs from Unintended Pregnancies and the Role of Public Insurance Programs in Paying for Pregnancy-Related Care: National and State Estimates for 2010,” by Adam Sonfield and Kathryn Kost. In 19 states, public expenditures related to unintended pregnancies exceeded $400 million in 2010. Texas spent the most ($2.9 billion), followed by California ($1.8 billion), New York ($1.5 billion) and Florida ($1.3 billion); those four states are also the nation’s most populous.

Unintended pregnancies U.S. map of public costs

Previous research has demonstrated that investing in publicly funded family planning services enables women to avoid unwanted pregnancies and space wanted ones, which is good not only for women and families, but also for society as a whole. In the absence of the current U.S. publicly funded family planning effort, the public costs of unintended pregnancies in 2010 would have been 75% higher.

Sonfield and Kost report that the total gross savings from averting all unintended pregnancies in 2010 would have been $15.5 billion. This is less than the total public cost of all unintended pregnancies, because even if all women had been able to time their pregnancies as they wanted, some still would have had planned births that were publicly funded. These potential savings do not account for the cost of providing family planning services and other interventions that might be required to prevent the unintended pregnancies.

“Reducing public expenditures related to unintended pregnancies requires substantial new public investments in family planning services,” says Sonfield. “That would mean strengthening existing programs, such as the Title X family planning program, as well as working to ensure that the Affordable Care Act achieves its full potential to bolster Medicaid and other safety-net programs. We know we can prevent unintended pregnancies and the related costs. There are public programs in place that do it already, but as these data show, there is significantly more progress to be made.”

The new research also highlights the central role played by Medicaid and other public insurance programs in providing critical pregnancy-related care—including prenatal care, labor and delivery, postpartum care and infant care—that help keep women and babies healthy. Fifty-one percent of the four million births in the United States in 2010 were publicly funded, including 68% of unplanned births and 38% of planned births.

“These findings demonstrate the continuing importance of Medicaid and other public health insurance programs in preserving maternal and child health, and in supporting pregnancy-related care,” says Adam Sonfield, coauthor of the new report.

For more information:

Unintended Pregnancy Rates at the State Level: Estimates for 2010 and Trends Since 2002

Fact Sheet: Unintended Pregnancy in the United States (national)

State Facts on Unintended Pregnancy

Fact Sheet: Publicly Funded Family Planning Services in the United States (national)

State Facts on Publicly Funded Family Planning Services

State Data Center

March 21, 2015 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[News article] Proof Birth Control Access Is A Very, Very Big Deal To Women

Proof Birth Control Access Is A Very, Very Big Deal To Women.

Image of vaginal birth control device NuvaRing

Image of vaginal birth control device NuvaRing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 7 July 2014 Huffington Post article

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations cannot be required to provide their employees with coverage for contraception, a decision that medical groups like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists — this country’s leading group of professionals providing health care to women — have called “profoundly” disappointing.

“This decision inappropriately allows employers to interfere in women’s health care decisions,” the group said in a statement.

“Contraceptives are essential health care for women and should not be treated differently than other, equally important parts of comprehensive care for women, including well-woman visits, preconception care visits, cervical and breast cancer screenings and other needed health care services,” ACOG added.

Because that’s the thing about birth control. For many women across the United States, of all different religious, political and socioeconomic backgrounds, it’s an absolutely essential part of how they stay healthy. From pain management and menstrual cycle regulation to straight-up family planning, here are just some of the ways that birth control has been a very, very good thing in the lives of real women.

 

July 8, 2014 Posted by | health care | , | Leave a comment

[Brookings Institute report] Isabel V. Sawhill and Quentin Karpilow – Three Facts about Birth Control and Social Mobility

From the 1 November 2013 report

An NGO health worker holds contraceptive pills during a family planning session with housewives availing free pills in Tondo, Manila (REUTERS/Erik De Castro).

The ability to control our fertility, to have children when—and with whom—we want, is a precious gift of modern science. For women in particular, birth control has also been a boost for social mobility. But there is still progress to be made.

1. The Pill Transformed Women’s Life Chances

The Pill gave American women something genuinely new: a convenient and highly effective means of controlling their own fertility. Although the Pill was licensed by the by the FDA (as Enovid) in 1960, state and federal laws limited the access of young single women to oral contraception. But as those laws changed in the late 60s and early 70s, oral contraceptive use jumped among young single women. And look what happened to the gender mix of professional college courses:Goldin and Katz graph showing first year female professional students as a fraction of first year students

Of course this could be coincidence. But the best researchers in the field don’t think so. Using sophisticated research designs, that isolate the causal effects of the Pill, scholars have shown that the diffusion of the Pill raised women’s college attendance and graduation rates (Hock, 2007), increased the representation of women in professional occupations (Goldin and Katz, 2002), and boosted female earnings (Bailey et al., 2012).

2. Unintended Pregnancies Still Too Common

But unintended pregnancy rates – 3 million or more a year – remain stubbornly high in the U.S. The benefits of birth control are being only partially realized. Half of all pregnancies are mistimed or unwanted – and 95 percent of all unintended pregnancies occur among women who either aren’t using contraception at all or aren’t using their contraceptive method consistently:

Pie chart of 2001 Unintended pregnancies by consistency of contraception method used in month of conception

It is time for a new revolution in family planning, with even better contraception than the pill. Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) such as intra-uterine devices (IUDs) have a big role to play in solving America’s contraception deficit. Because these highly effective methods don’t require the daily maintenance that the Pill does, LARCs could potentially eliminate the problems of inconsistent use, as a study conducted in St Louis suggests.

3. Most Disadvantaged Need More To Lose

Early, unwed pregnancy rates are highest in the most disadvantaged communities. Recent research suggests that for those with starkly limited opportunities, better family planning may do little to improve their life trajectories. The impact of better contraception for this cohort is small for the depressing reason that they have so little to lose in the first place. These women need better family planning, but they also need better educational and work opportunities. In short, they need more to lose.

Earlier this week, I talked about these issues at an event sponsored by AEI and the Institute of Family Studies. In tomorrow’s blog post, I’ll set out the gains we could realize from getting better at birth control.

November 1, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Contraceptive Use Averts 272,000 Maternal Deaths Worldwide

Map of countries by maternal mortality

Map of countries by maternal mortality [2011](Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 10 July 2012 article at Science News Daily

Contraceptive use likely prevents more than 272,000 maternal deaths from childbirth each year, according to a new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Researchers further estimate that satisfying the global unmet need for contraception could reduce maternal deaths an additional 30 percent. Their findings were published July 10 by The Lancet as part of a series of articles on family planning.

“Promotion of contraceptive use is an effective primary prevention strategy for reducing maternal mortality in developing countries. Our findings reinforce the need to accelerate access to contraception in countries with a low prevalence of contraceptive use where gains in maternal mortality prevention could be greatest,” said the study’s lead author, Saifuddin Ahmed, MBBS, PhD, associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s departments of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, and Biostatistics. “Vaccination prevents child mortality; contraception prevents maternal mortality.”

Effective contraception is estimated to avert nearly 230 million unintended births each year. Worldwide, roughly 358,000 women and 3 million newborn babies die each year because of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Nearly all of these deaths occur in developing countries, where 10 to 15 percent of pregnancies end in maternal death due to unsafe abortions….

Melinda Gates

 “Part of what I do with the (Gates) Foundation comes from that incredible social justice I had growing up and belief that all lives, all lives are of equal value,” said Gates during a recent interview with CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

About the flak over her Catholicism she said: “We’re not going to agree about everything, but that’s OK.”

Gates is promoting an ambitious family planning program — which includes raising billions of dollars to provide contraceptives to 120 million women worldwide — at the London Summit on Family Planning July 11.”New Study Finds Little Progress in Meeting Demand for Contraception in the Developing World (press release from Guttacher Institute,  19 June 2012)

A new study by the Guttmacher Institute and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, finds that the number of women in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy but are not using modern contraception declined only slightly between 2008 and 2012, from 226 to 222 million. However, in the 69 poorest countries—where 73% of all women with unmet need for modern contraceptives reside—the number actually increased, from 153 to 162 million women.The report, Adding It Up: Costs and Benefits of Contraceptive Services—Estimates for 2012, finds that 645 million women of reproductive age (15–49 years) in the developing world are now using modern contraceptive methods, 42 million more than in 2008. ….

[via the Science Daily article above]
Timing Pregnancy an Important Health Concern for Women
 (Apr. 11, 2012) — A new article highlights the importance of a woman’s ability to time her childbearing. The author asserts that contraception is a means of health promotion and women who work with their health care …  > read more
Deaths from IVF Are Rare but Relevant (Jan. 27, 2011) — Although still rare, maternal deaths related to in vitro fertilization are a key indicator of risks to older women, those with multiple pregnancy and those with underlying disease, warn …  > read more
Alternative Strategies to Reduce Maternal Mortality in India (Apr. 20, 2010) — A new study finds that better family planning, provision of safe abortion, and improved intrapartum and emergency obstetrical care could reduce maternal mortality in India by 75 percent in less than …  > read more
Should The Contraceptive Pill Be Available Without Prescription? (Dec. 23, 2008) — Making the contraceptive pill available without prescription will not reduce unwanted pregnancies, says an expert in an article published on the British Medical Journal …  > read more
Huge Proportion Of Maternal Deaths Worldwide Are Preventable (Feb. 19, 2008) — Women who die during pregnancy and childbirth in sub-Saharan Africa, more may die from treatable infectious diseases than from conditions directly linked to pregnancy. These results indicate that …  > read more
[via WordPress]

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Statistics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Population Action International – Videos and more on contraception and related topics

From the About Page of Population Action International

Population Action International advocates for women and families to have access to contraception in order to improve their health, reduce poverty and protect their environment. Our research and advocacy strengthen U.S. and international assistance for family planning. We work with local and national leaders in developing countries to improve their reproductive health care programs and policies. PAI shows how these programs are critical to global concerns, such as preventing HIV, combating the effects of environmental degradation and climate change, and strengthening national security.

Current topics include Climate Change, Contraceptives and Condoms, Environment, Family Planning, Population Trends and Demography, and Security and Governance.

Each topic has resources in at least several of  these publication types

  • Publications
  • Blog posts
  • News
  • Policy and Issue Briefs
  • Reports
  • Advocacy Guides
  • Videos
  • Articles
  • Data and Maps
English: Picture Of Ortho Tri-Cyclen oral cont...

Image via Wikipedia

February 13, 2012 Posted by | environmental health, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

UNFPA Launches New Online Database, Country Profiles to Track Progress in Maternal and Reproductive Health

From the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) news item

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has recently launched MDG 5b+ Info, an online database system designed to track global progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other related indicators of maternal health at the country level. Adapted from the UN-endorsed DevInfo database system, MDG 5b+ Info compiles the latest relevant household survey data with international data and allows for easy generation of tables, graphs and maps for inclusion in presentations, reports and advocacy materials.

The MDG 5b+ Info database contains data on sexual and reproductive health indicators drawn from national Demographic and Health Surveys and other MDG indicators at the global, national and sub-national levels, where available. The MDG 5b+ Info database is published online by UNFPA at www.devinfo.info/mdg5b,  providing worldwide access to this important dataset. Policy makers and planners are encouraged to access the data to support evidence-based decision making on issues related to maternal and reproductive health.

November 20, 2010 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health News Items, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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