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Women's Health Education Program WHEP Blog: Reproductive Health

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Reproduction Concept

Restriction on Abortion Care Amplifies Health Disparities and Suffering

Reproductive rights including abortion care have been protected for the last 50 years. However, in June of 2022 the landmark Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The implications of such policy signify that individual states have full authority to regulate abortion policy in any way they deem fit.

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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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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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Woman holding a pregnancy test.

Unwanted Pregnancies: Outcomes for Children

It has been shown that unintended pregnancies in the United States account for half of the pregnancies each year. The rates of unintended pregnancies vary based on the relationship status with the highest among those who are unmarried but cohabiting. There are two categories of unintended pregnancies: mistimed and unwanted. The former describes a pregnancy that has occurred earlier than desired, while the latter refers to the situation when a woman wanted no children at all.

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Chestfeeding person.

Inclusivity in Chestfeeding

Gender identity is often fluid, and individuals who identify as transmasculine can still have the desire to chestfeed and carry their own child in their uteruses. Birthing parents who do not identify as a woman exist and they may not resonate with terms like "breastfeeding" or "mom." Language is powerful, as it can cause harm people and trigger feelings of gender dysphoria. But on the other hand, it can empower and help people feel more included.

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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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In Vitro Fertilization

A Quick Dive into Transgender Fertility and Barriers to Quality Care

Transgender individuals face unique health care difficulties surrounding family planning and fertility preservation. Clinical treatment for transgender individuals includes puberty suppression, gender-affirming hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgical procedures. It is recommended for clinicians to discuss family planning with all transgender patients, and ideally these patients should see fertility specialists prior to starting gender-affirming treatment.

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Cosmetic gel texture on green background.

New Conceptions of Contraception: What Is Phexxi?

If you have been watching a streaming service with ads in recent months, then there is a good chance an ad has popped up with Annie Murphy (Alexis Rose from Schitt’s Creek), promoting a new form of birth control approved on the market: Phexxi. Produced by Evofem Biosciences, Phexxi is a vaginal gel composed of lactic acid, citric acid, and potassium bitartrate. Approved last year, Phexxi is being marketed as a non-hormonal alternative to traditional hormonal oral contraceptives. It works by altering vaginal acidity directly before a sexual encounter to prevent sperm from being able to travel to and fertilize an egg.

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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

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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Reproduction Concept

Female Physicians and Infertility

One in four female physicians struggle with infertility, almost double the rate of the general public. When I first read this, I was truly shocked and scared. Somehow, I tried to justify to myself that it was not real, and that I had only read one research article and maybe there was sampling bias. However, the more I delved into the topic, the more research I found supporting it and the more stories I found of female physicians detailing their struggles with infertility.

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Holding medicine with a glass of water.

Medication Abortion

Yesterday, the federal government lifted a major ban on access to abortion care. Now, patients will be allowed to receive abortion pills by mail. Medication abortion is a common method available to women up to 10 weeks of gestation.

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