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Father working at home but baby interrupting his session.

No Paid Parental Leave for Americans

Paid parental leave is a benefit of employment that almost seems intuitive; it lets parents in the workforce care for themselves and their newborn following delivery, reducing financial insecurity and stress during those times. The United States remains the only industrialized, modernized country that does not have a paid family medical leave program. While the U.S. has implemented the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), this only affords unpaid leave and has strict eligibility requirements, often excluding those most in need, exacerbating existing health disparities.

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Growing Fetus

Substance Use Disorder During Pregnancy

Substance use during pregnancy is a public health concern as it can harm both the mother and the fetus. It is estimated that 8.5% of all pregnant women in the U.S. use substances during the pregnancy (Smith, 2020). Substance use during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of low birth weight, birth defects, neonatal mortality and long-term developmental issues (Louw, 2018 and Oni, 2021). Because of the possible health risks of using substances during pregnancy, physicians should have an understanding of this issue.

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Feet on scale.

Anorexia Nervosa: Understanding the Definition, Treatments and Challenges to Eating Disorder Recovery

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Edition-5 (DSM-5) is the most recent publication by American Psychiatric Association to guide in the diagnosis and classification of mental health disorders. The DSM-5 contains sets of diagnostic symptoms grouped into disorders, which assists clinicians and researchers with effective diagnosis and treatment.

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Breastfeeding Mother

Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Parent

We often hear of the multitude of health benefits breastfeeding has for a baby. This is likely one of the most motivating factors for people to breastfeed. However, there are also several important health benefits for breastfeeding parents. These benefits include both short-term and long-term influences on a person’s health. Since being a parent to a newborn baby requires a lot of giving, it is empowering for patients to be aware that making the decision to breastfed can also be for themselves and their own health.

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Smiling female character sits in lotus pose.

Practicing Self Compassion in Times of Stress: Good for Your Mind and Body

We have all heard the hashtags (#TreatYourself) and ad campaigns to promote self-love, and its benefits on our emotional and mental well-being. However, the effects of stress on mental well-being have never been more pertinent. With the rising stresses of the COVID pandemic, researchers have found that women have been especially susceptible to the mental health consequences. Studies show women are almost three times as likely as men to report suffering from significant mental health consequences, including anxiety, loss of appetite, insomnia and trouble completing everyday tasks1. The practices of mindfulness and self-compassion have often been employed by counselors and practitioners as a method to manage stress.

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Vaccine bottle on a colored background.

HPV Vaccination

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States; approximately 14 million Americans become infected each year. Although HPV most often presents asymptomatically and clears without major clinical consequence, it can persist and progress to anogenital warts, precancers or even cancers of the cervix, other anogenital tract and oropharynx. In the United States, over 40,000 cancers are diagnosed each year in both men and women that are attributed to HPV infection. In women, HPV is thought to be linked to greater than 90% of cervical cancer cases and approximately 70% of vaginal and vulvar cancers.

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Female doctor and senior patient discuss medical records.

Women in Medicine Month

Being a woman in medicine means different things to different people. For some, it means finding their own niche in a historically male-dominated field. For others, it means providing comfort and care to other women in their most desperate times of need. For most, it means being able to inspire future generations to pursue whatever they dream of, free of the shackles of labels, discouragement and doubt.

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Female doctor and senior patient discuss medical records.

The Impact of Structural Racism on Black Women's Health

Medical and technological advancements over the last century have resulted in substantial improvements in health for people of all genders in the United States. However, Black women continue to have poorer health outcomes and higher mortality rates than other U.S. women. According to Black Demographics, despite being younger (36.1 years) on average than U.S. women overall (39.6 years), Black women have a higher prevalence of acute and chronic health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, stress and pregnancy-related morbidity (Chinn et al. 2021).

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Scientist handling samples for cryopreservation.

Is Social Freezing Really Beneficial?

A new trend is spreading across Silicon Valley: In 2014 Apple and Facebook made headlines by offering to cover oocyte freezing for its employees as a part of health benefits. The move gained a lot of publicity and brought the tricky conversation of parenthood and the workforce back to the forefront.

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Breastfeeding Mother

Breastfeeding in Public – It’s Up to Mom’s Comfort, Not Yours

Feeding your baby is a natural and wonderful way to not only keep baby healthy and happy, but for you to bond with your newborn. So why has breastfeeding in public become such a large issue?

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Reproduction Concept

What Legal Rights Do Pennsylvania Minors Have to Reproductive Care?

As the national landscape of reproductive health care evolves, health care providers must stay abreast of local and state laws, and patients should know what rights they have. Health care providers to minors in Pennsylvania may encounter questions or concerns about what types reproductive of health care their patients can receive confidentially and independently.

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Breastfeeding Mother

Debunking MD Misconceptions about Breastfeeding

As an MS4, I thought I was ready to excel in my Women’s Health in the Community: Breastfeeding Elective at St. Christopher’s Center for the Urban Child. It turns out that I had to learn even faster than I usually do. As the trained lactation consultants went through common breastfeeding myths with me that afternoon, I realized that I had believed every single one of them. At another hospital, one without lactation consultants, a doctor might even be counseling their patients wrong. In order for us to counsel our patients correctly, we must first debunk those misconceptions that we hold for ourselves. Here are the biggest ones that have fundamentally changed how I will practice medicine.

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Abstract Background

The Shadow Pandemic: Violence Against Women and Girls

In the shadows of COVID-19, there was another pandemic arising, that unfortunately was masked by the pressing nature of the COVID pandemic. This is now termed the “Shadow Pandemic”: the increasing rates of violence against women and children since the onset of COVID-19 pandemic.

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Hospital Mammogram Room

Cancer Screening in Transgender Individuals

Cancer screening guidelines have largely contributed to reduced cancer mortality in recent medicine. Mammograms, colonoscopies and Pap smears have aided in early detection and treatment. However, the guidelines set by the United States Preventative Services Task Force and American Cancer Society are limited to cisgender individuals. There are not currently any clear guidelines about cancer screening in transgender individuals.

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Gynecologist Visit

The Importance of Medicare for All for Women

When discussing health care access, one of the key features of the system that is often overlooked is the coverage of care for those assigned female at birth. First and foremost, women normally should have a separate physician from a primary care provider that addresses complex conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, dyspareunia, breast health and more. These conditions are often chronic, underdiagnosed and therefore undermanaged. Then there are the added obstetrical costs that need to be covered for those who choose to have a child.

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