ACOG in the News: Doctor’s Notes for Pregnant Employees, 9-Valent HPV Vaccine, Kim Kardashian Pitches Morning Sickness Drug, and Avoidable Maternal Mortalities

ACOG serves as an expert information source about women’s health for women and the media. The organization’s Office of Communications regularly receives media inquiries 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 articles that prominently featured ACOG guidance and experts. We’ve included excerpts and links to the original articles.

New York Times – Doctors’ Notes for Pregnant Employees Can Backfire, Experts Warn

In a commentary published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, five doctors and a lawyer warned that unspecific or poorly timed notes could bring harsh responses from employers.

Dr. Laura Riley, the medical director of labor and delivery at Massachusetts General Hospital, has had some patients in the often-uncomfortable third trimester ask to stop working at 38 weeks, after a few preterm contractions. Some workplaces will accept the note and not penalize pregnant workers who take leave a week or two before delivery.

However, “many people don’t have that luxury, and they don’t know it until they take in a note,” Dr. Riley said. “Then they are denied, or worse, someone says: ‘Oh you can’t do your job? Then I don’t have a job for you.’”

Huffington Post – New Numbers Show Abortion-Related Deaths Still Extremely Rare

Abortion-related deaths continue to be extremely rare, according to new national data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday.

Between 1998 and 2010, roughly 16.1 million legal abortions were performed in the United States, but only 108 women died as a result, making the mortality rate 0.7 deaths per 100,000 procedures. 

"We know that legal abortion is one of the most frequently used medical interventions in the United States, with more than 1 million performed per year, so it's important to minimize the risk," Brittany Behm, a spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told The Huffington Post. The CDC's findings were published in the August issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology

Medscape  ACOG Updates Recommendations to Include 9-Valent HPV Vaccine

A key role of ob-gyns and other health care providers is to provide patients and their parents with information on the benefits and safety of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and to encourage adolescents to receive the HPV immunization, according to a revised Committee Opinion/updated recommendations published online, ahead of print on June 26 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

"Current vaccination rates are unacceptably low," write ACOG's Committee on Adolescent Health Care and Immunization Expert Work Group. "Studies have shown that physicians' recommendations play a crucial role in the acceptance of HPV vaccination by patients and parents of patients."

New York Daily News  Kim Kardashian is pitching a morning sickness drug Diclegis with a controversial history 

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says Diclegis is "safe and effective and should be considered a first-line treatment" for patients with morning sickness that doesn't improve after diet or lifestyle changes.

"She did people a very big favor — Diclegis is quite safe," says Dr. Jill Maura Rabin, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. "It is the only antinausea medication approved for use in pregnancy by the FDA."

Wall Street Journal – Pregnant Women Get More Ultrasounds, Without Clear Medical Need

Medical experts are now warning that frequent scans in low-risk pregnancies aren’t medically justified. A joint statement in May 2014 from several medical societies, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, calls for one or two ultrasounds in low-risk, complication-free pregnancies.

“Ultrasonogram should be used only when clinically indicated, for the shortest amount of time,” the statement said, referring to ultrasound scans, “and with the lowest level of acoustic energy compatible with an accurate diagnosis.”

Huffington Post – Getting Birth Control Will Be Easier Than Ever In These Two States

In most states, women need to go to their doctor or health clinic to get a prescription for hormonal birth control. But thanks to recent legislation, women in California and Oregon will now be able to buy hormonal birth control at the pharmacy without a doctor's prescription. 

Though an innovative policy, this is hardly controversial from a scientific perspective. Instead, it aligns with a significant body of research showing that hormonal birth control is a strong candidate for pharmacy access. Not only is this access common in most of the world , the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has  endorsed over-the-counter access for birth control pills since 2012. 

From a safety perspective, ACOG notes that many over-the-counter medications, like aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol) are linked to serious medical complications yet remain available without a doctor's prescription. What's more, the risk of blood clots, the main complication associated with birth control, might seem frightening at first glance, but research suggests that pregnancy and the post-partum stage are even riskier when it comes to developing these same clots.  

Today.com – The 6 biggest health mistakes women make in their 20s

According to a 2014 study in Fertility & Sterility, about 50 percent of reproductive age women have never discussed their reproductive health with a medical provider. Whether or not we want to talk about it, the scary truth is the "biological clock" is a real thing, and fertility begins to decline gradually at age 32, before declining more rapidly after 37, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

That doesn't mean you should go out and get knocked-up right away, but if there's any chance you might want kids in the future, talk to your Ob-Gyn and get educated.

Why? Because it's not just about fertility, Dr. Cheryl Iglesia, vice chair of the Patient Education Review Panel at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, told TODAY.

"You want to make sure you're in tip-top shape for when you do decide to get pregnant — you're taking the folic acid, you've got all your vaccinations, you've been tested for HIV — so you're having the healthiest babies."

The Economist – Exceptionally deadly

There is nothing inevitable about the rise in maternal mortality: California, where one out of eight American births take place, has reversed it. In 2007 a study of the state’s maternal deaths found that more than 40% were avoidable. In response, state agencies, hospitals, doctors and midwives came up with new ways to manage obstetric haemorrhage and pre-eclampsia, the two leading preventable causes of maternal death. California introduced these plans in 2010, and the state’s maternal-mortality rate has since plummeted to just over six deaths per 100,000 pregnancies, from nearly 17 in 2006.

Inspired by California’s success, federal, state and professional organisations including the CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have gotten together and introduced plans for handling obstetric haemorrhage, severe hypertension (extremely high blood pressure) and venous thromboembolism, the three most treatable causes of maternal death. The aim is to have procedures in place everywhere babies are born around the country within three years, and to halve maternal deaths within five years.

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
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