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ACOG in the News: Home Births, Midwifery, Sushi and Pregnancy, IUDS Return, and an App for Fertility Awareness

ACOG serves as an expert information source about women’s health for women and the media. The organization’s Office of Communications fields more than 1,200 media inquiries each year from newspapers, magazines, websites, radio, and TV broadcast outlets. In many cases, ACOG officers and members talk with the media, working with the Office of Communications. Here are several recent pieces in the media that prominently featured ACOG guidance and experts. We’ve included excerpts and links to the original articles.

The New York Times: Emergency Care Can Be Too Urgently Needed for Home Births

Op-Ed by ACOG President John C. Jennings, MD: The ability of a physician and labor team to rapidly respond and provide emergency care can be the difference between life or death for both mother and baby. Certain complications, like postpartum hemorrhage, can be fatal within minutes.

Live Science: What Is a Midwife? Weighing Pros and Cons

Midwifery is enjoying a rebirth in the United States, in part because of an anticipated shortage of obstetricians who can deliver babies. Over the next 10 to 20 years, not only might there be fewer obstetricians overall, but they will also be harder to find in rural areas and low-income communities, said Dr. Hal Lawrence, executive vice president and CEO of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). “Midwives can play a crucial and important role in helping obstetricians provide obstetrical care to women,” Lawrence told Live Science. A combination of obstetricians and midwives working together in highly trained obstetrical teams really works well for women, he added.

Health Affairs: Achieving Shared Decision-Making In Women’s Health

ACOG President John C. Jennings, MD, wrote this essay in response to an earlier Narrative Matters essay by physician and ethicist Carla Keirns, “Watching The Clock: A Mother’s Hope For A Natural Birth In A Cesarean Culture.”

HealthDay: Do Pregnant Women Need High Blood Pressure Treatment?

For one of the study’s authors, the choice is clear. Tighter blood pressure control, aiming to get women’s numbers “normalized,” is better, said the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Laura Magee, of the Child and Family Research Institute and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

“If less-tight control had no benefit for the baby, then how do you justify the risk of severe [high blood pressure] in the mother?” said Magee. But current international guidelines on managing high blood pressure in pregnancy vary. The advice from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is consistent with the “less-tight” approach, according to Dr. James Martin, a past president of ACOG. To him, the new findings support that guidance. “Tighter blood pressure control doesn’t seem to make much difference,” said Martin, who recently retired as director of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

ABC News: Sorry, Pregnant Women, New Study Is Not a Carte Blanche to Eat Sushi

For now, Dr. Jeff Ecker, who chairs the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Obstetric Practice, said women should continue to follow the current FDA recommendations. He said the study might help convince the FDA to change the guidelines, but more research analysis is needed. “The study suggests, as has been known for a while, that there are real benefits from fish eating,” he said. “The balance between the benefits and potential risk of mercury exposure and this work suggest that there’s not as direct a relationship between mercury exposure and adverse outcome as initially thought.”

Vogue: The Return of the IUD: Why a Once Controversial Form of Birth Control Is Worth Considering

American ob-gyns are three times as likely to choose an IUD for themselves as any other form of birth control, according to a 2013 poll published in the journal of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Next to upper-arm implants, which typically last three years, they are the most effective reversible form of birth control available today.

Gizmodo: I Almost Replaced My Birth Control with an App

I asked the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists who I should contact to get a doctor’s take on the app and its claims, and it hooked me up with Dr. Nathaniel DeNicola, an ob-gyn at University of Pennsylvania. “In general I think it’s great that we have so many apps available for women to track their fertility awareness,” DeNicola told me. He thinks doctors should bring these apps into the conversation about reproduction, though he’s skeptical about the claims that NaturalCycles makes. The “typical use” failure rate for the fertility awareness method of birth control is 25 percent, according to DeNicola, the American Pregnancy Association, the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, Planned Parenthood, and most available doctor-approved literature on the method.

“Nothing is inherently changing with women’s menstrual cycles, and nothing is changing in the way we know ovulation can vary. It’s hard to think that just doing it the phone will be a game-changer to that degree,” he said. “Think about the gap they have to close. You’re going from a less than 1 percent pregnancy rate [with IUDs] to a 25 percent pregnancy rate [with the fertility method]. That’s a pretty big gap to close just by recording temperatures on a mobile device, even with an algorithm. It’s unlikely that they’re going to reach the level of an IUD.” 

 

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
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