Double Dose: A Modest Proposal for Pregnant Teens; C-Section Stats Under Review; Googling Your Health; New Info on Medicare and Health Insurance Coverage

By Christine Cupaiuolo — January 13, 2008

A Modest Proposal: “Pregnant students in a Denver high school are asking for at least four weeks of maternity leave so they can heal, bond with their newborns and not be penalized with unexcused absences,” reports the Denver Post, which notes that Denver Public Schools has no districtwide policy, meaning it’s left up to schools to “to work out plans for students to continue their education.”

What that means is some schools have set a policy whereby girls who don’t show up for school the day after they give birth are charged with unexcused absences. Many of the comments on this story argue against “special treatment.”

Florida Considers Proposal to Teach “Abstinence Plus”: “The bill would still require that schools teach abstinence as ‘the only certain way to avoid pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases,'” reports the AP. “But, the measure would require that starting in the 6th grade, sex education classes provide information about the health benefits and side effects of contraceptives.”

Iowa Gets Funding to Reduce Unintended Pregnancies: Former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack launched a statewide project called “Iowa Initiative to Reduce Unintended Pregnancies” that will focus on women ages 18 to 30. “As a woman, as a teacher, as a mother, I believe we have a responsibility to give all women in our state the knowledge and the means to prevent unintended pregnancies,” she said. From the Des Moines Register:

Half of all pregnancies in Iowa in 2006 were unintended, Vilsack said, citing state Department of Public Health statistics. Of those, 14 percent ended in terminations, she said, citing Iowa Barriers to Prenatal Care Project statistics.

Iowa ranks 48th in the nation in making family planning services available and 39th in its public funding for those efforts. More than half of Iowa’s counties do not have family planning centers, Vilsack said.

C-Section Statistics Under Review: “In 2006, 31.1% of U.S. births were by C-section, a 50% increase over the previous decade,” notes USA Today in a story that examines the debate over safety of elective c-sections.

For more information, check out this earlier post on c-sections and the rise of maternal mortality, as well as Rachel’s post on c-section rates by hospital.

FDA Takes Action on Biodentical Hormones: “The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on pharmacies that sell customized hormone mixtures as antidotes for menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, saying they are being promoted with false claims about their benefits and contain an ingredient the agency hadn’t approved,” reports the Wall St. Journal.

Here’s more from Well, where an interesting discussion follows, and the FDA press release.

Do You Google Your Health?: Rahul K. Parikh, M.D. doesn’t mind if you do and suggests websites that provide accurate, up-to-date medical information. Don’t forget Rachel’s great post on online health research — it includes questions to ask when evaluating the reliability of websites.

Medicare and Health Insurance Coverage: The Kaiser Family Foundation this week released a new issue brief providing an overview of Medicare’s financing and the fiscal challenges the program faces in the coming decades.

KFF also released two updated fact sheets that provide the most current information and data on health insurance coverage for women ages 18-64. The first, Women’s Health Insurance Coverage, provides new statistics on health coverage, describes the major sources of health insurance, summarizes the major policy challenges facing women in obtaining health coverage, and provides data on the more than 17 million women who are uninsured.

The second fact sheet, Health Insurance Coverage of Women by State, provides state-by-state data on the uninsured rate, as well as rates of private insurance and Medicaid coverage.

2 responses to “Double Dose: A Modest Proposal for Pregnant Teens; C-Section Stats Under Review; Googling Your Health; New Info on Medicare and Health Insurance Coverage”

  1. great headlines. I am glad to see Iowa taken a proactive response to educating women about birth control. I had many adult women come through the doors of Planned Parenthood, who were clueless about birth control (ie: “if you did it standing up, you could not get pregnant.”) That is just one example of the eye-popping quotes I heard.

    I wonder about is the age of women receiving these C-sections. As more and more older women are conceiving, I wonder if there is any correlation?

  2. Thanks for all the great headlines! The Denver teen pregnancy issue is especially interesting and it was shocking to read some of the reader comments in the Denver papers. Several people seemed to think that a leave of absence from high school for new moms would become an incentive to teen pregnancy, which I think is ridiculous. I hope that the women are granted the leave of absence they’re seeking and not made to feel punished by or ostracized from the school system.

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