ACOG in the News: US Maternal Rate is Rising, and Zika Anxiety Leading Some Pregnant Women to Flee Miami

ACOG serves as an expert information source about women’s health for consumers 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.


Medscape ACOG, SMFM Update Guidance on Severe Maternal Morbidity

A joint consensus on severe maternal morbidity has been issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM). The document instructs healthcare providers to screen and review cases that meet at least one of two criteria: transfusion of at least four units of blood or intensive care unit admission of a pregnant or postpartum woman.

The document is the fifth in a series of joint ACOG and SMFM obstetric care consensus documents and is published in the September issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.


HealthDay U.S. Maternal Death Rate Is Rising

“But Dr. Nancy Chescheir, editor-in-chief of Obstetrics & Gynecology, speculated on some factors that could be driving the increase.

For one, she said, women in the United States are having babies at older ages, and they are also increasingly likely to be obese and have medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. So women are now going into pregnancy at greater risk of complications compared to years past.”

MedPage Today ACOG: Counsel Patients Considering IVF on Risks

While patients should receive counseling prior to undergoing any assistive reproductive technology (ART) or ovulation induction procedures, clinicians should take steps to reduce the risk of multiple gestations for their patients, said the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in an updated committee opinion.


WBUR 'A National Embarrassment': Maternal Mortality Rate Rises in the U.S.

If keeping moms alive while pregnant and in the weeks just after birth is a good barometer of health care in a country, the U.S. looks pretty bad. A study published this month in Obstetrics and Gynecology says the maternal mortality rate rose 27 percent (26.6 percent) between 2000 and 2014 in the U.S., while 157 countries reported a decrease during the same period.

"There's nothing in the paper that makes a clear link between these things, but I do think that's something that deserves exploring in more depth and highlights where the state's priority should be," said Dr. Daniel Grossman, vice chair of the committee on health care for underserved women at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Grossman agrees that the findings are an embarrassment for the country as a whole.


Stateline A Shortage in the Nation’s Maternal Health Care

The number of medical school graduates going into obstetrics and gynecology residency programs has remained steady since 1980, with about 1,205 residents entering the specialty each year, according to Thomas Gellhaus, ACOG’s president.

Most ob-gyns over age 55 are men. But women are almost equal in number in the 45-54 age group and outnumber men at the younger end of the profession. In 2013, more than four out of five first-year ob-gyns were women.


U.S. News & World Report Do You Have a Phobia of Pregnancy or Childbirth?

“‘Fortunately, women can cope with these fears – be they about enduring labor pains, dying during childbirth, delivering an unhealthy baby, disfiguring their bodies or not being listened to by their providers. ‘Some patients need mental help, and some … just need time and support,’ says [Scott] Sullivan, who's also South Carolina's district chair for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.’”

The Wall Street Journal No Rise Seen in Hysterectomy Complications After Morcellator Use Declines

“‘I think this is interesting data, I think it’s good data,’ said Dr. Hal C. Lawrence III, the executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the main professional society for the field. Dr. Lawrence wasn’t involved in the latest Columbia research. The fact that minimally invasive surgery didn’t drop very much after the debate illustrates that many doctors were already able to take that approach without the power morcellator, he said.”

BBC Is the US doing enough to fight Zika?

Thomas Gellhaus, president of American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), says doctors have been ‘extremely disappointed with the partisan politics Congress is playing in the face of this very real public health crisis’.

And while ACOG is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide the most up-to-date information, ‘the frightening reality is that there are still more questions than answers’, he says.”


CNN Acetaminophen during pregnancy may increase risk of hyperactivity in kids

“Dr. Hal C. Lawrence, CEO of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, echoed this concern, noting that the current study did not examine significant details, such as the exact dose taken or the reasons why a mother needed to take medication.

‘Behavioral disorders are multifactorial and very difficult to associate with a singular cause," Lawrence said. "The brain does not stop developing until at least 15 months of age, which leaves room for children to be exposed to a number of factors that could potentially lead to behavioral issues.’"

ABC’s “Good Morning America” Study links acetaminophen to childhood behavioral problems

During her segment, ACOG Fellow Dr. Jennifer Ashton, MD, says that, according to ACOG, there is no direct relationship between acetaminophen use and behavioral issues in children.

The Washington Post We know how to fight Zika in Puerto Rico—but we aren’t giving women the tools to do it

In her Outlook article, ACOG Fellow Dr. Kristyn Brandi, MD, said, “While I was there, I saw for myself how dire the situation is. Women, both pregnant and not pregnant, are terrified. At clinics throughout the island, patients have little or no information about Zika other than to use mosquito spray and nets. Some clinics had some forms of contraception, but the majority barely had oral contraceptive pills in their office to offer patients. Most did not have the newer forms of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) like the intrauterine devices (IUDs) or an implant.”

ABC News Possible Cuts to Planned Parenthood Could Hurt Florida's Zika Response: Experts

Dr. Hal Lawrence, president and CEO of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said he is concerned that a funding cut to Planned Parenthood clinics could give low-income women less access to birth control that can help them guard against unintended pregnancies in the face of the Zika threat.

‘Planned Parenthood for decades has provided ongoing well-woman services and contraceptives to millions of women in the U.S. and has been oftentimes the best access for some underprivileged women to get access to contraception,’ Lawrence said. Noting that approximately half of all pregnancies are unplanned, he said reducing access to birth control could increase the number of unintended pregnancies among women exposed to Zika through travel, sexual contact, or the new local outbreak.

‘More pregnant women might get Zika, and more children would then be at risk for significant neurological problems,’ he said.”


The Huffington Post Florida May Be The Worst State In Which To Get Pregnant Now

“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintained its status quo abortion stance ― that women should consult with their doctors about Zika during pregnancy ― while the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stressed the need for safe and legal abortion.

‘All women must have the legal right to abortion, unconstrained by harassment, unavailability of care, procedure bans, or other legislative or regulatory barriers,’ ACOG President Dr. Thomas Gellhaussaid in June. ‘The Zika crisis makes it impossible to ignore that women around the world do not have access to this basic health care need.’”

The Hill Zika funding held back by politics

In an op-ed, Dr. Tom Gellhaus, ACOG President, said, “As ob-gyns and women’s health care providers, we have seen firsthand the real harm politically motivated restrictions on reproductive health care have on women’s health. With the threat of Zika looming over women across the country, such laws and regulations mean even bigger obstacles to protecting women’s wellbeing.”


STAT Zika anxiety leading some pregnant women to flee Miami

“Most physicians are not necessarily recommending leaving the area because that’s a luxury that the majority of our patients don’t have,” said Dr. Elizabeth Etkin-Kramer, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists chair for the district that includes Miami-Dade. But she says she wouldn’t discourage it for those who have the option.

“If they have the luxury of leaving — it’s a personal choice — but I don’t think it’s a bad idea,” she said.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
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