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The Executive Desk: February

Hal C Lawrence III MDHal C. Lawrence, MD, Executive Vice President and CEO

Hal C. Lawrence, MD, Executive Vice President and CEO

ACOG’s Executive Board meeting took place on Friday, February 7, 2015. President John Jennings, MD, opened the meeting by welcoming the board members to the first Executive Board meeting in the new ACOG Board Room. As part of the renovation process of ACOG’s headquarters, ACOG donated old furniture to various groups. The furniture from the previous board room found a new home in the City Hall of Denton, MD.

A moment of silence was held to acknowledge the deaths of Harold Kaminetzky, MD, past ACOG president and past ACOG vice president, practice activities, and Morton Stenchever, MD, former editor of ACOG’s Clinical Updates in Women’s Health Care and ACOG’s Clinical Review. The board was also informed of some significant staff changes at ACOG. Albert Strunk, MD, deputy executive vice president and vice president, fellowship activities, will retire at the end of June. Gerald Joseph, MD, will transition from vice president of practice activities to fill Dr. Strunk’s role as vice president, fellowship activities. We are also excited to welcome Christopher Zahn, MD, on April 1 as the new vice president, practice activities. In addition, two long-time ACOG employees, who had relocated from Chicago with ACOG, Margaret Goodman and Pamela Van Hine, have retired. 

President Jennings’ report pointed out that the Executive Board’s role was to establish direction for ACOG. He cited a team process with the Executive Board and how the Executive Committee can be a significant part of that team. He also highlighted the new EVP/CEO evaluation tool developed by the presidential officers and EVP/CEO. Lastly, he prepared us for a review of Nominations Committee’s revised Policies and Procedures.

President Elect Mark DeFrancesco, MD, laid the plan for the July Executive Board program, which will be a comprehensive review of our strategic plan. This review of ACOG’s operations, governance, and priorities will determine how ACOG should be positioned for the future. Be on the lookout for more information this summer.

Immediate Past President Jeanne Conry, MD, updated the group on her well woman care project and informed us of her activities surrounding her upcoming FIGO program on environmental toxins in reproductive health this October 4-9, 2015.

Treasurer Scott Hayworth, MD, reviewed ACOG’s financial documents and called attention to the fact that we ended up the year with a positive balance. Dr. Hayworth then identified the individuals who participated in ACOG’s Development Fund as President’s Society Members, and a fair number of them are currently on the Executive Board. He particularly highlighted Dr. Amanda Kallen, the JFCAC Chair.

The EVP/CEO report noted the excellent reports that had been provided by all members of the Executive Committee and the outstanding reports by the staff vice presidents. Moving on to a review of legislative activities, it was pointed out that President Obama’s budget included continuation of the Medicare to Medicaid bump for primary care, which also included ob-gyns. The outstanding activities of Ob-Gyn PAC were mentioned, including its high success rate of supporting winning candidates, as well as the fact that we reached well over $1.3 million in the last election cycle. The Board then learned about an upcoming article by the leaders of eight medical specialty organizations recommending policies to reduce firearm violence.

Barbara Levy, MD, vice president, health policy, reviewed the activities in the Advocacy Division, including that the Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care is working with ACOG District II on the Save the Mothers Initiative. Advocacy is also working with the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) to put forth a portfolio program for MOC Part IV. Dr. Levy noted the ongoing activities in coding and credentialing, spotlighting the issue with CMS about bundling pelvic support procedures with vaginal hysterectomy and how that will be undone April 1. You will be able to bill retroactively with the coding correction for activities going back to October 2014 when the CMS rule was changed. Later, she highlighted The Joint Commission’s change of terminology on sentinel event, and ACOG’s clarifying document with the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), The Joint Commission, and the Association of Women’s Health and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN).

Other division reports of note include the education report by Sandra Carson, MD, which featured the new educational module for residencies which will go on sale next month, and the practice report by Gerald Joseph, MD, which reviewed issues on ebola, morcellation and immunization. Our Immunization Task Force has received several awards, and we continue to collaborate well with SMFM on Obstetrics Consensus documents. 

Rounding out the reports:

  • Bert Peterson, MD, updated the Board on global women’s health activities and goals
  • Peter Nielsen, MD, Armed Forces District Chair, gave a great update on the Task Force on Collaborative Practice, to be completed by year’s end
  • Lisa Hollier, MD, Assistant Secretary, updated us on the Women’s Health Care Team Leadership Task Force and how the group are developing a course to be utilized at the Annual Meeting and at District meetings
  • Bob Yelverton, MD, District XII Chair, gave an update on the Work Group for Practice Transitions
  • Public member Cathy Whittlesey thanked everyone for allowing her to be a part of the Executive Board and how important it is to her
  • ACNM President Ginger Breedlove described the ongoing collaboration between ACOG and ACNM

Our special issues segment was a report regarding data collection given by Frank Opelka, MD, FACS. The American College of Surgeons is creating a system that enables medical specialty organizations to evaluate data being housed in different electronic medical records. The data is not transferred but utilized in a cloud format so that it can be evaluated in a secure HIPPA-compliant fashion.  

President’s Blog

President's Blog: Reducing Maternal Mortality with Obstetric Care Designations

Maternal deaths related to childbirth in the United States have been rising in the past decade. According to a 2014 report published in The Lancet, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is now more than double the rate in Saudi Arabia and Canada, and more than triple the rate in the United Kingdom.

Clinical Practice: A New Look for an ACOG Website: Immunization for Women

Immunization for Women has a brand-new look and feel. Originally created in 2010, the website was redesigned and relaunched on January 30, 2015, to keep up with ever-changing technology and expand upon ACOG’s available resources on immunizations and vaccine-preventable diseases.

Immunization is one of the greatest public health achievements of all time, and ob-gyns play a crucial role in adult and maternal immunization. ACOG’s Immunization Department and Immunization Expert Work Group have worked diligently to increase provider education and encourage ob-gyns to recommend and provide vaccinations to their patients. The newly enhanced website is designed to provide ob-gyns with up-to-date information on immunization recommendations, best practices, and patient education and to empower women with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about immunizations.

Significant enhancements include:

  • The Pregnancy section, accessible from the home page and navigation bar, has been improved to ensure that information on immunizations during pregnancy is up to date and easily accessible.
  • The redesigned home page features a rotating carousel that highlights pertinent immunization news and resources, as well as quick links to the latest immunization news, CDC immunization schedules, and the ACOG bookstore.
  • The newly structured Diseases & Vaccinations section, organized by disease name, provides a central location for information about vaccine-preventable diseases, current vaccination recommendations and safety information, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and supporting articles and studies.
  • The site provides easy access to ACOG’s immunization toolkits, with resources for ob-gyns and their patients on HPV, Tdap, influenza immunization during pregnancy, and immunization resources for ob-gyns.

The website features a provider and patient sides, which contain appropriate content for each audience. This feature is controlled by selecting whether you are a patient or provider in the tab on the top left of the website. The provider side offers access to ACOG’s clinical guidance on immunizations, information on immunizations during pregnancy, up-to-date recommendations for vaccination, frequently asked questions for physicians, and practice management resources. The patient side is intended to be a tool for patient education and includes links to personal stories from families negatively affected by vaccine-preventable illnesses, videos, ACOG FAQs for patients, and content syndicated from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including easy-to-read immunization schedules.

Whether you are a practicing ob-gyn, a pregnant woman, a mother, or a family member seeking immunization information, this website has what you are looking for! Can’t find what you need? The Immunization team frequently updates the website. Please contact us at

Events & Meetings: An Annual Meeting Insider’s Guide to San Francisco

Are you coming to San Francisco for the 2015 ACOG Annual Meeting, May 2–6? We hope so! You’ll discover exciting changes in the conference as well as the vibrant metropolis of San Francisco, chock-full of adventure for members—and your friends and family. To whet your appetite, we’ve consulted with the ultimate San Francisco insiders: ACOG leadership in the Bay Area.

Nature Moments

If you’re a nature aficionado, the city offers numerous opportunities to satiate your inner flower child. District IX Chair John Wachtel, MD, FACOG, is enthusiastic about the “Twin Peaks hike for spectacular views of the city, Fort Point for spectacular views of the bay, Marina Green for typical San Franciscan activity, and the Presidio for beautiful undeveloped areas (and some new awesome restaurants).” Jeanne A. Conry, MD, PhD, FACOG, immediate past president of ACOG, adds, “I love the California Academy of Sciences, with its aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum under one roof.”

How to See the Golden Gate Bridge

“Everyone needs a visit to Golden Gate Park,” says Dr. Conry. “Nothing beats it for running, birdwatching, hiking, and visiting museums, gardens, and the Japanese Tea Garden.” (Dr. Wachtel recommends the De Young Museum in particular.) “If it’s not foggy, running, walking, or biking over the bridge really is a must,” says Dr. Conry. Feeling adventurous? Her suggestion (or is it a challenge?): “Hike across the Golden Gate Bridge to Mount Tamalpais in Marin County.”

This City Is Serious About Brunch

One perk of visiting such a bustling, vivacious city is appreciating the smaller, more intimate experiences, like brunch. Dr. Conry warns visitors that brunch in San Francisco is no joke! Several noteworthy places to get a bite while enjoying a wonderful view are the “Waterbar and Epic Roasthouse—the venue for this year’s Welcome Reception,” she says. “The Cliff House is also great. For brunch, try Brixton, Mama’s on Washington Square, and Starbelly. You’ll find bottomless mimosas at Sweet Maple and the best bloody mary at Park Tavern.”

Neighborhood Destinations

Maybe you want to walk around, do a little shopping, and just take in the San Francisco lifestyle? “Take a walk around Union and Chestnut Streets for great boutiques and food,” says Dr. Conry. “Take a ferry to Angel Island for gorgeous views of San Francisco, or try an Alcatraz Island tour (buy tickets early if going solo!). The Ferry Building on the Embarcadero is a blast: great shops, great food, and a great walk to get there. Take advantage of views of the bay, watch sailing on the waterfront, and enjoy great seafood at Hog Island Oyster Company. Do not miss out on the cable cars: Take them to Fisherman’s Wharf to enjoy seafood and get some Ghirardelli chocolate. Great sundaes and chocolate candies are to be had there!”

Fun with Kids and Dogs

Have kids? Bring them! Dr. Wachtel recommends checking out the Exploratorium and San Francisco Zoo and seeking out the variety of free tours available all around the city. Bringing a furry friend? “Fort Funston is a great dog park,” says Dr. Wachtel.

Some Romantic Evening

If you’re traveling solo and are a romantic at heart or simply want to experience the fullness of San Francisco’s evening beauty, you haven’t been forgotten. “The San Francisco Bay Bridge is a real draw for anyone walking along the waterfront or anyone who can enjoy the new lighting at night,” says Dr. Conry. “Take a ferry over to Sausalito for dinner at Murray Circle Restaurant at the old Fort Baker. It is truly a fine dining experience.”

No matter who you are, there’s something to enjoy in San Francisco. After making your way to the Annual Meeting, May 2–6, why not stop and enjoy life in the city? When making your travel plans, be sure to visit the San Francisco Family Fun page of the Annual Meeting section on and consider signing up for an ACOG Guest/Spouse Tour. For the kids, check out Camp ACOG. With so much to offer, San Francisco is sure to impress and inspire you to come back for more!

Government Affairs & Health Policy: The Malawi Journal of ACOG’s First Global Health Scholar

“I walked into the room of my first patient, who was in active labor, to see a foot at the vaginal introitus,” wrote Bridget Kelly, MD, a third-year resident at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, in her journal. “With the help of a midwife, I delivered my first footling breech without complications.”

So began Dr. Kelly’s first 24-hour call in the labor and delivery section of Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. The pace never slackened. “As I was leaving to take the baby to the warmer, I was called back—there was another baby surprise—also breech!” she wrote. “I performed a total breech extraction of the second twin. Both babies did well, as did Mom—without any anesthesia!”

In Malawi at Kumuzu Central Hospital: Dr. Bridget Kelly, GHS, BCM; Dr. Susan Raine, Mentor, Vice Chair Global Health Initiatives, BCM; Dr. Lameck Chinula, Jr. Faculty, Kamuzu Central Hospital; and Dr. Vineeta Gupta, Techical Director, ACOG, Global Women’s Health.

As ACOG’s inaugural Global Health Scholar, funded by Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Kelly spent January 2015 in a one-month elective in Malawi, providing general obstetrics and gynecologic care. The Global Health Scholar Program is an opportunity for well-supervised residents and Fellows to work in ACOG’s low-resource target countries alongside established university faculty with whom ACOG partners.

The most difficult situation happened during Dr. Kelly’s third week. “I met a 16-year-old woman who was septic. She had delivered five days prior via cesarean delivery. She was transferred to the tertiary care hospital where I was working for postoperative fevers and peritonitis. She underwent an exploratory laparotomy, and the uterus appeared healthy. Though a washout was performed and she was continued on antibiotics, her sepsis worsened, as did her peritonitis. As we brought her into her third surgery in less than a week, just before she went to sleep, I asked her if her baby was alive. She shook her head no. The surgery began. Her abdomen was a disaster. There was dehiscence of the hysterotomy. The lower uterus was necrotic. When I touched it, pieces of uterine tissue just crumbled away. Her uterus didn’t seem salvageable. We needed to perform a hysterectomy in an attempt to save her life. We did it. It was difficult and not straightforward, but overall the procedure went well. That same night two young women died of sepsis—one was 19 and the other was 23.”

Dr. Bridget Kelly with supervising faculty and on-site mentor, Dr. Joe Sclafani, BCM.

Dr. Kelly worked with patients who were generally the sickest of the sick. She dealt with a variety of complications, many caused by the time it takes to be transferred by litter, cart, bicycle, or even walking to the tertiary referral center. The public health challenges in Malawi are large: The country has the highest rate of cervical cancer in the world, sepsis is the leading cause of maternal mortality in Malawi, and postpartum hemorrhage is the cause of many of the pregnancy-related complications and deaths that Dr. Kelly witnessed. While her experiences were often rewarding, invigorating, and enjoyable, she hopes that more Malawian women will soon have access to quality care.

When she returned to the United States at the end of January, Dr. Kelly visited ACOG, met with ACOG Executive Vice President and CEO Hal C. Lawrence, MD, and gave a presentation to ACOG staff who are also working with marginalized populations. Her experience has opened the door for future opportunities to help build institutional and human resource capacity through educational exchanges in low-resource countries. This first round of the ACOG’s Global Health Scholar Program was made possible with funding from Johnson & Johnson as well as a successful partnership between Baylor College of Medicine’s Global Health Initiatives and ACOG’s Office of Global Women’s Health. It is only through pooling resources and teamwork that this program has had its initial success.

Dr. Kelly with ACOG CEO and Executive Vice President Hal Lawrence, MD, and Jan Chapin, Senior Director, Women’s Issues

As envisioned by Johnson & Johnson and ACOG, the Global Health Scholar Program is bidirectional: At the end of February, Dr. Lameck Chinula, a Malawian junior faculty member from Kamuzu Central Hospital will travel to the United States. Baylor College of Medicine will host Dr. Chinula as he focuses his clinical observations on cervical cancer and attends ACOG’s leadership course to help contribute to his leadership position in the Malawian Ob-Gyn Society. Dr. Chinula will debrief at ACOG in late March, when he will present on his experience with U.S. cervical cancer patients. (Learn more about his experiences in a future edition of ACOG Rounds.)

To learn more about our Global Health Scholar Program, as well as opportunities for sponsoring a Global Health Scholar, contact Senior Director Jan Chapin, RN, MPH, in the Office of Global Women’s Health at



Government Affairs & Health Policy: A New Way to CLC

Click the image above to visit website.

ACOG’s 2015 Congressional Leadership Conference (CLC), the President’s Conference, March 8–10, is right around the corner. This year, the CLC comes with a new tool: a one-stop shop to get everyone involved in advocacy, whether you attend the conference or not.

At the CLC is an interactive website, updated weekly, with all the important CLC information. You can find logistics; events, including District Legislative Meetings; the conference agenda; and other helpful tools. RSVP for the fantastic IGHT Night at the Newseum Ob-GynPAC event and watch for late-breaking news, like our announcement that former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and veteran ABC White House correspondent Ann Compton are officially confirmed to speak this year. Check for updates and tips to help you be your best at our 33rd Annual Congressional Leadership Conference.

Can’t Attend? Advocate from Home

Can’t make it to Washington, DC, this year? Be part of our conference from home! and ACOG’s advocacy Twitter account, @ACOGAction, make it easy to stay connected and advocate for our specialty wherever you are. Follow @ACOGAction for live updates as the conference rolls on, and join the conversation with the hashtag #ACOGCLC. Take Action! will connect you with ACOG’s new advocacy website and help you call on your senators and representatives to support our legislative asks.

Remember: The most meaningful voice on Capitol Hill is yours, the trusted doctor constituent. Get involved today!



Government Affairs & Health Policy: ACOG Legislative Leaders Convene in Washington, DC

ACOG’s Government Affairs Committee met at the beginning of the month to consider ACOG’s 2014 successes and challenges and its 2015 legislative priorities and innovations. The committee discussed top-priority issues related to Medicare and Medicaid payments, medical liability reform, graduate medical education, workforce, and research. The group considered dynamic new ways to bring Fellows and Junior Fellows into advocacy work in the U.S. capitol and the statehouses. They also determined how best to recognize and highlight the great work of some of ACOG’s best advocates.

In conjunction with the committee meeting, three of ACOG’s top advocates took to the Hill urging Congress to repeal the SGR now, with no more patches! Barbara Levy, MD, FACOG, ACOG’s vice president for health policy, joined ACOG Government Affairs Committee members Lynn Coslett-Charlton, MD, FACOG; Barry Smith, MD, FACOG; and Patricia Miller, MD, FACOG. It was a full day of meetings in the House and Senate.

Thank you to each member of the committee for your engagement and thoughtful leadership. Here is a PDF that lists the members of ACOG’s Government Affairs Committee

Membership & Fellowship: New Career Opportunities for Ob-Gyns

Looking for a new position? ACOG Career Connection, the only job site devoted to ob-gyns, offers hundreds of obstetrics and gynecology opportunities from healthcare employers nationwide. Employers post their jobs here because they know top professionals search it every day.

The job site’s search function makes it easy to find your next move up. Plus, you can save any search and receive email alerts whenever a new opportunity is posted that matches your interests. You can also post your resume to ACOG Career Connection so the many employers searching our site can find you. The site offers tips on becoming an expert job seeker, including insight on how to ace your next interview, build an effective resume, and master the best job search techniques.

Each month, we’ll post a few new positions from Career Connections in ACOG Rounds. Here are this month’s selections:

  • Obstetrics/Gynecology Physician, Providence Health & Services, Medford, Oregon
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology Physician, LifePoint Hospitals Inc., Galax, Virginia
  • Ob-Gyn—NYC Suburbs, North Shore-LIJ Health System, New York, New York
  • Physician Assistant (full-time), , Long Beach, California
  • BE/BC Ob-Gyn, Aurora Gonzalez, MD, PA, Houston, Texas

To see these and other new jobs, go to ACOG Career Connection.

Special Career Fair Networking Event

Don’t miss an opportunity to meet face-to-face with employers at the Career Networking event on May 5, during ACOG’s Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting in San Francisco, May 2–6, 2015. Connect with outstanding employers, including CoxHealth, Community Health Systems, Mountain Medical Group, and more. Register today!

Membership & Fellowship: Executive Board Nominations for 2016-2017

Serving on the Executive Board is both an honor and a solemn commitment to our specialty and to the women that we serve.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is currently accepting candidates for the May 2016 to May 2017 term for the following national offices:

  • President-Elect
  • Secretary (three-year term)
  • Assistant Secretary (two-year term)
  •  Fellow-at-Large (two-year term)
  •  Young Physician-at-Large (three-year term)

The Fellow-at-Large position gives talented and committed ACOG Fellows who have no Executive Board experience (except for Fellows who have served only as Junior Fellow Advisory Council Chair) an opportunity to provide grassroots input as a member of the Executive Board. Fellow-at-Large candidates must have been a Fellow for more than eight years as of April 1, 2015.

The Young Physician-at-Large position is available only to members who have been a Fellow for eight or fewer years. The board includes two Fellow-at-Large positions and three Young Physician-at-Large positions on the board, and their terms are staggered.

ACOG recognizes that diversity and inclusiveness in volunteer and leadership positions strengthen the vitality of ACOG and are fundamental values of our organization. Please see my February 2015 letter, which outlines the procedures for Fellows seeking to attain a national office. To learn more, visit our national nominations and election process page; for more general information, including bylaws, please visit our leadership and governance page. If you have any questions about the nominations process, please contact Penny Rutledge at

Practice Management: Have You Taken the 2015 ACOG Survey on Professional Liability Yet?

The 2015 ACOG Survey on Professional Liability is now in progress. This is the 12th professional liability survey conducted by ACOG since 1983. Data generated from our own surveys enable us to serve as effective and aggressive advocates for ob-gyns and women’s healthcare at both the federal and state levels. Accurate data can help fill the gaps left by other surveys or by special interest groups, and help ensure that ob-gyns are not excluded from new or changing legislation. 

“ACOG’s surveys on professional liability play a critical role in educating our lawmakers and the public about the liability climate and its negative effect on access to care for women across the country,” said ACOG President John C. Jennings, MD. “Continuous data collection by ACOG remains essential in the evolving healthcare landscape.”   

Participation in the survey by all U.S. Fellows and Junior Fellows in practice is crucial for the accuracy and credibility of results. But time is short: The survey must be completed by March 13, 2015.  

Do so and you will be eligible to win a $100 gift certificate to the ACOG Bookstore. Five winners will be randomly selected. Take the Liability Survey now!

For Your Patients: A New Way to Reach Teens

Click on the image above to visit the webpage.

Do your young patients have a reliable online resource for their questions about sexuality, birth control, periods, pregnancy, LGBT issues, and the first visit to the gynecologist? Now they do: Health Information Especially for Teens is a newly designed section of that features adolescent-focused patient content.

It’s no secret that adolescents use the Internet as a primary source of information. Typing a question into a search box is easier than finding a medical expert to answer a question that may feel too embarrassing to ask in the first place. Although nothing can replace in-person counseling from an ob-gyn, ACOG’s teen health page provides the next best thing: reliable answers to many of the questions teens want to ask.

ACOG’s teen health page sports an entirely new look that appeals to teen eyes. It’s also user-friendly: When a user clicks on any of the patient FAQs, an “Especially for Teens” box appears on the left that helps her navigate back to the main teen health page. Each FAQ also includes related links to other teen-oriented FAQs.

The new teen health page currently features six patient FAQs:

Your Changing Body: Puberty in Girls (Especially for Teens)

You and Your Sexuality (Especially for Teens)

Your First Period (Especially for Teens)

Having a Baby (Especially for Teens)

District Newsletters: District II Newsletter January 2015

In This Issue: From the Chair, ACOG District II's Safe Motherhood Initiative, 17OHPC Task Force Reconvenes, Patient Safety & Quality Improvement Committee Meeting, Register for ICD-10 Coding Workshops, NYS Medicaid Offers List of High Risk OB Care Management Programs, Gardasil 9 Approved for Five Additional HPV Strains, Take A Gynecologic Survey - Win $50, Legislative Update, 2015 District & Section Fellow Election Results, Junior Fellow News, Young Physician, JF and Medical Student Awards Available, Resource Reminders, IRS Raises Standard Mileage Rate for Businesses, Fun Facts About...

District Newsletters: District VI Newsletter February 2015

In this issue: From the Editor; Introducing Our Newest Section: Peru; Vice Chair Report; Legislative Committee Report; Are You an ACOG Young Physician?; Mentorship; Junior Fellow News; Illinois; Iowa

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 College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188
Mailing Address: PO Box 96920, Washington, DC 20024-9998