women 4 hope

Dedicated to addressing women’s issues.

Women’s Health Issues In The News

Posted by Catherine Morgan on October 18, 2007

In Women’s Health News — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

I decided to post on some of the interesting health and wellness issues that have been in the news this week…

Starting with the Autism Speaks website…They now have video examples of children with autism, compared to children without, in the hopes of helping parents recognize early signs of the disease. Also, a new study shows that the United States is lagging behind in maternal health, and the House urges health agencies to expand research into Postpartum Depression.


With 1 in every 150 children having some degree of Autism, knowing the symptoms and being diagnosed early is critical. This week Autism Speaks is helping parents learn what is common behavior for most children, as compared to what is common in an Autistic child, with the use of videos.

See this Associated Press Video on the new website. (2 minutes)

Please keep in mind that there are many presenting features associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that are depicted in the video clips you are about to see. However, most children do not show all of the features all of the time. Instead, many children have some of the features some of the time. Awareness of these common presenting features may help to heighten your index of suspicion. Individually, they may not indicate a problem; however, in combination, they may indicate a need to conduct a screening or a diagnostic evaluation. Not all signs and features need be present for ASD to be diagnosed.

By viewing these videos of symptoms found in Autism, parents can help recognize a potential problem early, and bring it to the attention of their child’s pediatrician.

As always, there are critics of this idea who believe that these videos may cause unnecessary worry for parents. However, as both a nurse and a mother, I would say that the potential benefits to parents viewing these videos, far outweighs any potential risk of undue worry.

In spite of all the controversy over the treatment and the politics of Autism, I think one thing everyone can agree on, is the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. With such a short amount of time that a child will actually spend with their doctor, parents are the first line of defense when it comes to recognizing the symptoms their children are exhibiting.

Then there is a new study showing that the United States is lagging behind in maternal health, this also happens to be a topic that is being addressed by the BlogHer community, through BlogHer Acts. I found the statistics on this quite disturbing, and shocking. We do still live in the richest country in the world, right?

The United States has a far higher death rate than the European average, the report shows, with one in 4,800 U.S. women dying from complications of pregnancy or childbirth, the same as Belarus and just slightly better than Serbia’s rate of one in 4,500.

Just one out of 47,600 women in Ireland die during or just after childbirth, the report found. Bosnia had the second-lowest rate, with 1 in 29,000 women dying during pregnancy and childbirth. — read full article here

The United States is ranked 41st in the world for maternal mortality, with 1 in 4,800 women dying from pregnancy complications.This is what they are saying at Chrone Speaks

While the BBC article uses a graph from the Lancet, showing the rise or drop in maternal mortality around the world, I’d like to point out that the US is lumped in with other developing nations.

However, just a few short months ago, in August, there was a very disturbing report that maternal mortality rates were rising in the US.

Causes of the rising maternal mortality rates for the US can be listed in a few short words:

  1. abstinence only education
  2. closing women’s clinics
  3. laws restricting (safe) abortions

I hope the anti-abortionist take note of this — they are the principle reason why women are dying untimely deaths — the rate of unsafe abortions has not changed since 1995.

They make a pretty good point…Look what is happening in Aurora, with the attempt to stop the opening of a Planned Parenthood there. If one truly cares about life, then one should care about all life, including women and mothers. It seems to me there is a degree of rational thought that is sometimes being excluded from many people’s biblical interpretation of life. And ignoring that only results in more lives lost…When will the Pro-Life Movement start being Pro-”All Life”???

Also in the news…The House urges health agencies to expand research into postpartum depression. This is another issue that the BlogHer community is passionate about. This cause is being led by Katherine Stone…

Katherine Stone suffered postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder with the birth of her son in 2001. She is now an advocate for women with postpartum mood disorders, primarily through her blog Postpartum Progress, the most widely-read blog in the United States on these illnesses, which include postpartum depression, postpartum OCD and postpartum psychosis. — read more about Katherine here

From the Associated Press

The bill cites studies that up to 80 percent of new mothers experience “baby blues,” characterized by mood swings, feelings of being overwhelmed and irritability.

It said more serious postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, which can occur during pregnancy and anytime within the first year of the infant’s birth, impair between 10 and 20 percent of new mothers.

Postpartum psychosis, striking one in 1,000 new mothers, may entail losing touch with reality, delusions, auditory hallucinations, paranoia and hyperactivity.

It notes that while the causes of postpartum depression are unknown, theories include a steep and rapid drop in hormone levels after childbirth, difficulty during labor or pregnancy and external factors such as a lack of support from one’s spouse, stressful events such as the death of a loved one or a previous history of depression.

Rush said 90 percent of depression cases are treatable, but that only 15 percent of women with postpartum depression receive treatment.

So these are some of the health issues in the news this week…Are you or your family being affected by any of these issues?


6 Responses to “Women’s Health Issues In The News”

  1. […] came across this post – Women’s Health Issues In The News – and thought it was worth sharing. I hope you find it interesting too and take the time to read […]

  2. Liz said

    Do you have any information on the link between induced labor and/or cesarean birth and autism?

  3. No Liz I don’t, sorry. But if you find out any additional information let me know.

  4. Thank you Catherine for sharing an awesome healthy information about pregnancy issues..

    Pregnancy is a joyful journey of nine months and every woman works hard in these months to welcome the baby in to this world.

    Even though you take proper care during these months, you may develop several serious complications during labor and delivery.

  5. Emily said

    Thank you, Catherine, this is a fantastic post. I’d like to add that restricting abortion doesn’t actually reduce abortions — it just takes them underground with the result that women die. The current issue of Lancet references a study showing that the same number of abortions occur in countries where it’s illegal as where it’s legal. Thirteen percent of global maternal deaths are because of botched abortions. In some countries, it’s as high as 40%.

    Layered into this, as the BBC article mentioned, is giving women access to contraceptives. It’s almost inconceivable to us as Americans not to have control over the timing of our pregnancies. Imagine not fully understanding how our bodies work and not having access to any kind of contraceptive. Don’t an overhwelming percentage of Americans believe in birth control? And yet, we impose a gag rule on organizations who accept US funds – which means that young girls being married off in their teens, are going to get pregnant, probably over and over again, and many of them will die.

  6. There are so many different theories about treatment of autism, you really have to look into all of them and decide which is best for your situation.

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