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Committee Opinion Number 586, February 2014

(Reaffirmed 2016. Replaces Committee Opinion Number 429, March 2009)

ABSTRACT: Rural women experience poorer health outcomes and have less access to health care than urban women. Many rural areas have limited numbers of health care providers, especially women’s health providers. Rural America is heterogeneous where problems vary depending on the region and state. Health care professionals should be aware of this issue and advocate for reducing health disparities in rural women.


Committee Opinion Number 578, November 2013

(Reaffirmed 2016. Replaces No. 395, January 2008)

ABSTRACT: Acknowledgment of the importance of patient autonomy and increased patient access to information, such as information on the Internet, has prompted more patient-generated requests for surgical interventions not traditionally recommended. Depending on the context, acceding to a request for a surgical option that is not traditionally recommended can be ethical. Decisions about acceding to patient requests for nontraditional surgical interventions should be based on strong support for patients’ informed preferences and values; understood in the context of an interpretive conversation; ...


Committee Opinion Number 576, October 2013

(Replaces No. 454, February 2010, Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Homelessness continues to be a significant problem in the United States. Women and families represent the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. Health care for these women is a challenge but an important issue that needs to be addressed. Homeless women are at higher risk of injury and illness and are less likely to obtain needed health care than women who are not homeless. It is essential to undertake efforts to prevent homelessness, to expand community-based services for the homeless, and to provide adequate health care for this underserved population. Health care pro...


Committee Opinion Number 575, October 2013

Reaffirmed 2016

ABSTRACT: Reducing exposure to toxic environmental agents is a critical area of intervention for obstetricians, gynecologists, and other reproductive health care professionals. Patient exposure to toxic environmental chemicals and other stressors is ubiquitous, and preconception and prenatal exposure to toxic environmental agents can have a profound and lasting effect on reproductive health across the life course. Prenatal exposure to certain chemicals has been documented to increase the risk of cancer in childhood; adult male exposure to pesticides is linked to altered semen quality, sterili...


Committee Opinion Number 574, September 2013

(Replaces No. 428, February 2009)

ABSTRACT: Same-sex couples encounter barriers to health care that include concerns about confidentiality and disclosure, stigma and discriminatory attitudes and treatment, limited access to health care and health insurance, and often a limited understanding of their health risks. Same-sex couples and their families are adversely affected by the lack of legal recognition of their relationships, a problem with major implications for the health of same-sex couples and their families. Tangible harm has come from the lack of financial and health care protections granted to legal spouses, and child...


Committee Opinion Number 570, August 2013

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Maternal and infant benefits from breastfeeding are well documented and are especially important to underserved women. Underserved women are disproportionately likely to experience adverse health outcomes that may improve with breastfeeding. They face unique barriers and have low rates of initiation and continuation of breastfeeding. Through a multidisciplinary approach that involves practitioners, family members, and child care providers, obstetrician–gynecologists can help underserved women overcome obstacles and obtain the benefits of breastfeeding for themselves and their infant...


Committee Opinion Number 559, April 2013

(Reaffirmed 2015)

ABSTRACT: Cesarean delivery on maternal request is defined as a primary prelabor cesarean delivery on maternal request in the absence of any maternal or fetal indications. Potential risks of cesarean delivery on maternal request include a longer maternal hospital stay, an increased risk of respiratory problems for the infant, and greater complications in subsequent pregnancies, including uterine rupture, placental implantation problems, and the need for hysterectomy. Potential short-term benefits of planned cesarean delivery compared with a planned vaginal delivery (including women who give b...


Committee Opinion Number 552, January 2013

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Many U.S. women are uninsured and face avoidable adverse obstetric and gynecologic health outcomes. The Affordable Care Act requires an expansion of Medicaid that would increase the percentage of U.S. women with health insurance, with the anticipated benefit of improved health. The 2012 Supreme Court decision allows states to opt out of Medicaid expansion. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports appropriate reimbursement to health care providers and the expansion of Medicaid as key strategies to improve women’s health.


Committee Opinion Number 547, December 2012

Abstract: Military service is associated with unique risks to women’s reproductive health. As increasing numbers of women are serving in the military, and a greater proportion of United States Veterans are women, it is essential that obstetrician–-gynecologists are aware of and well prepared to address the unique health care needs of this demographic group. Obstetrician–-gynecologists should ask about women’s military service, know the Veteran status of their patients, and be aware of high prevalence problems (eg, posttraumatic stress disorder, intimate partner violence, and military sexual t...


Committee Opinion Number 544, December 2012

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Unintended pregnancy remains a major public health problem in the United States. Access and cost issues are common reasons why women either do not use contraception or have gaps in use. A potential way to improve contraceptive access and use, and possibly decrease unintended pregnancy rates, is to allow over-the-counter access to oral contraceptives (OCs). Screening for cervical cancer or sexually transmitted infections is not medically required to provide hormonal contraception. Concerns include payment for pharmacist services, payment for over-the-counter OCs by insurers, and the ...


Committee Opinion Number 542, November 2012

ABSTRACT: Emergency contraception includes contraceptive methods used to prevent pregnancy in the first few days after unprotected intercourse, sexual assault, or contraceptive failure. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first dedicated product for emergency contraception in 1998, numerous barriers to access to emergency contraception remain. The purpose of this Committee Opinion is to examine the barriers to the use of oral emergency contraception methods and to highlight the importance of increasing access.


Committee Opinion Number 536, September 2012

(Replaces Committee Opinion No. 414, August 2008)

ABSTRACT: In the United States, most new cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) occur among women of color (primarily African American and Hispanic women). Most women of color acquire the disease from heterosexual contact, often from a partner who has undisclosed risk factors for HIV infection. Safe sex practices, especially consistent condom use, must be emphasized for all women, including women of color. A combination of testing, education, and brief behavioral interventions can help reduce the rate of HIV infection and its compli...


Committee Opinion Number 525, May 2012

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Lesbians and bisexual women encounter barriers to health care that include concerns about confidentiality and disclosure, discriminatory attitudes and treatment, limited access to health care and health insurance, and often a limited understanding as to what their health risks may be. Health care providers should offer quality care to all women regardless of sexual orientation. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorses equitable treatment for lesbians and bisexual women and their families, not only for direct health care needs, but also for indirect health car...


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February 2012

Committee Opinion Number 518, February 2012

ABSTRACT: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant yet preventable public health problem that affects millions of women regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or educational background. Individuals who are subjected to IPV may have lifelong consequences, including emotional trauma, lasting physical impairment, chronic health problems, and even death. Although women of all ages may experience IPV, it is most prevalent among women of reproductive age and contributes to gynecologic disorders, pregnancy complications, unintended pregnancy, and s...


Committee Opinion Number 516, January 2012

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Underserved women are those who are unable to obtain quality health care by virtue of barriers created by poverty, cultural differences, race or ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other factors that contribute to health care inequities. With passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Public Law 111–148 and 152, there is promise for increased health insurance coverage for underserved women. There is concern, however, that specific populations of underserved women may be left out. These women must continue to have access to existing safety net...


Committee Opinion Number 515, January 2012

(Reaffirmed 2015)

ABSTRACT: Sixty percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women live in metropolitan areas. Most are not eligible for health care provided by the federal Indian Health Service (IHS). The IHS partly funds 34 Urban Indian Health Organizations, which vary in size and services. Some are small informational and referral sites that are limited even in the scope of outpatient services provided. Compared with other urban populations, urban American Indian and Alaska Native women have higher rates of teenaged pregnancy, late or no prenatal care, and alcohol and tobacco use in pregnancy. Their infan...


Committee Opinion Number 501, August 2011

(Reaffirmed 2014)

ABSTRACT: The past two decades have yielded profound advances in the fields of prenatal diagnosis and fetal intervention. Although fetal interventions are driven by a beneficence-based motivation to improve fetal and neonatal outcomes, advancement in fetal therapies raises ethical issues surrounding maternal autonomy and decision making, concepts of innovation versus research, and organizational aspects within institutions in the development of fetal care centers. To safeguard the interests of both the pregnant woman and the fetus, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and t...


Committee Opinion Number 498, August 2011

(Reaffirmed 2015)

ABSTRACT: Long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse are varied, complex, and often devastating. Many obstetrician-gynecologists knowingly or unknowingly provide care to abuse survivors and should screen all women for a history of such abuse. Depression, anxiety, and anger are the most commonly reported emotional responses to childhood sexual abuse. Gynecologic problems, including chronic pelvic pain, dyspareunia, vaginismus, nonspecific vaginitis, and gastrointestinal disorders are common diagnoses among survivors. Survivors may be less likely to have regular Pap tests and may seek little o...


Committee Opinion Number 496, August 2011

(Reaffirmed 2013)

ABSTRACT: Compared with men, at-risk alcohol use by women has a disproportionate effect on their health and lives, including reproductive function and pregnancy outcomes. Obstetrician–gynecologists have a key role in screening and providing brief intervention, patient education, and treatment referral for their patients who drink alcohol at risk levels. For women who are not physically addicted to alcohol, tools such as brief intervention and motivational interviewing can be used effectively by the clinician and incorporated into an office visit. For pregnant women and those at risk of pregna...


Committee Opinion Number 457, June 2010

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Emergency plans that specifically address the needs of women, infants, and children during disasters are currently underdeveloped in the United States. Pregnant women, infants, and children are adversely affected by disasters resulting in an increased number of infants with intrauterine growth restriction, low birth weight, and a small head circumference. There is an increased incidence of preterm delivery. To provide for a healthy pregnancy and delivery, pregnant women affected by disasters need to be assured of a continuation of prenatal care. Those in the third trimester should b...


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