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Improving Children’s Life Chances through Better Family Planning

January 29, 2015 Comments off

Improving Children’s Life Chances through Better Family Planning
Source: Brookings Institution

Non-marital childbearing is associated with many adverse outcomes for both the mother and the child. Most of these births are unintended. If we could reduce these unintended births it might improve children’s prospects by enabling their mothers to get more education, earn more, and wait to have children within marriage. In this brief, we trace the effects of reducing unintended childbearing on children’s success later in life by using the Social Genome Model (SGM) to simulate the effect on children’s life chances of aligning women’s fertility behavior with their intentions.

Though the impacts of improving women’s control over their fertility are small for the population as a whole, there are significant and important improvements in the lives of children who would have otherwise been “born too soon.” These findings suggest that increasing access to and awareness of high-quality, easy-to-use contraception and improving the educational and labor market prospects of low-income women are important steps in improving children’s life chances.

The reproductive context of cohabitation in comparative perspective: Contraceptive use in the United States, Spain, and France

January 28, 2015 Comments off

The reproductive context of cohabitation in comparative perspective: Contraceptive use in the United States, Spain, and France
Source: Demographic Research

Background:
Discussions of cohabitation’s place in family formation regimes frequently emphasize comparisons of reproductive behavior among married versus cohabiting couples. Many argue that the rise in cohabitation may have been fueled by availability of highly effective contraception, but that differences in contraceptive use between married and cohabiting couples should diminish as cohabitation becomes more established.

Objective:
We ask whether cohabiting women in the United States, Spain, and France are more likely than married women in these countries to use the most effective contraceptive methods and reversible methods. We also investigate whether the association between union status and contraceptive use has changed since the mid-1990s.

Methods:
Using data from the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth, the Spanish Fertility, Family and Values Survey, the French Gender and Generations Survey, and the Fertility and Family Surveys, we first descriptively compare contraceptive use patterns of cohabiting women to those of married women and then estimate regression models to adjust for group differences in key background factors.

Results:
Net of differences in age and parity, cohabitors were more likely than married women to use the most effective contraceptives in the mid-1990s’ United States and France, yet notably not in Spain even when cohabitation was relatively uncommon. The case of Spain thus refutes the assumption that highly effective contraception is a necessary precursor for dramatic growth in cohabitation.

Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance — United States, 2011

January 27, 2015 Comments off

Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance — United States, 2011
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

In 2011, a total of 151,923 ART procedures performed in 451 U.S. fertility clinics were reported to CDC. These procedures resulted in 47,818 live-birth deliveries and 61,610 infants. The largest numbers of ART procedures were performed among residents of six states: California (18,808), New York (excluding New York City) (14,576), Massachusetts (10,106), Illinois (9,886), Texas (9,576), and New Jersey (8,698). These six states also had the highest number of live-birth deliveries as a result of ART procedures and together accounted for 47.2% of all ART procedures performed, 45.3% of all infants born from ART, and 45.1% of all multiple live-birth deliveries, but only 34% of all infants born in the United States. Nationally, the average number of ART procedures performed per 1 million women of reproductive age (15–44 years), which is a proxy indicator of ART use, was 2,401. In 11 states (Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia), the District of Columbia, and New York City, this proxy measure was higher than the national rate, and of these, in three states (Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York) and the District of Columbia, it exceeded twice the national rate. Nationally, among ART cycles with patients using fresh embryos from their own eggs in which at least one embryo was transferred, the average number of embryos transferred increased with increasing age (2.0 among women aged 40 years). Elective single-embryo transfer (eSET) rates decreased with increasing age (12.2% among women aged 40 years). Rates of eSET also varied substantially between states (range: 0.7% in Idaho to 53% in Delaware among women aged <35 years).

See also: Births Resulting From Assisted Reproductive Technology: Comparing Birth Certificate and National ART Surveillance System Data, 2011 (PDF; National Center for Health Statistics)

Opioid Prescription Claims Among Women of Reproductive Age — United States, 2008–2012

January 23, 2015 Comments off

Opioid Prescription Claims Among Women of Reproductive Age — United States, 2008–2012
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Prescription opioid use in the United States has become widespread (1), and studies of opioid exposure in pregnancy suggest increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes, including neonatal abstinence syndrome and birth defects (e.g., neural tube defects, gastroschisis, and congenital heart defects) (2,3). The development of birth defects often results from exposures during the first few weeks of pregnancy, which is a critical period for organ formation. Given that many pregnancies are not recognized until well after the first few weeks and half of all U.S. pregnancies are unplanned (4), all women who might become pregnant are at risk. Therefore, it is important to assess opioid medication use among all women of reproductive age. CDC used Truven Health’s MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters and Medicaid data* to estimate the number of opioid prescriptions dispensed by outpatient pharmacies to women aged 15–44 years. During 2008–2012, opioid prescription claims were consistently higher among Medicaid-enrolled women when compared with privately insured women (39.4% compared with 27.7%, p<0.001). The most frequently prescribed opioids among women in both groups were hydrocodone, codeine, and oxycodone. Efforts are needed to promote interventions to reduce opioid prescriptions among this population when safer alternative treatments are available.

Trends in perinatal health after assisted reproduction: a Nordic study from the CoNARTaS group

January 23, 2015 Comments off

Trends in perinatal health after assisted reproduction: a Nordic study from the CoNARTaS group
Source: Human Reproduction

STUDY QUESTIONS Has the perinatal outcome of children conceived after assisted reproductive technology (ART) improved over time?

SUMMARY ANSWER The perinatal outcomes in children born after ART have improved over the last 20 years, mainly due to the reduction of multiple births.

WHAT IS KNOWN AND WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS A Swedish study has shown a reduction in unwanted outcomes over time in children conceived after ART. Our analyses based on data from more than 92 000 ART children born in four Nordic countries confirm these findings.

STUDY DESIGN Nordic population-based matched cohort study with ART outcome and health data from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

PARTICIPANTS, SETTING AND METHODS We analysed the perinatal outcome of 62 379 ART singletons and 29 758 ART twins, born from 1988 to 2007 in four Nordic countries. The ART singletons were compared with a control group of 362 215 spontaneously conceived singletons. Twins conceived after ART were compared with all spontaneously conceived twins (n = 122 763) born in the Nordic countries during the study period. The rates of several adverse perinatal outcomes were stratified into the time periods: 1988–1992; 1993–1997; 1998–2002 and 2003–2007 and presented according to multiplicity.

MAIN RESULTS AND ROLE OF CHANCE For singletons conceived after ART, a remarkable decline in the risk of being born preterm and very preterm was observed. The proportion of ART singletons born with a low and very low birthweight also decreased. Finally, the stillbirth and infant death rates have declined among both ART singletons and twins. Throughout the 20 year period, fewer ART twins were stillborn or died during the first year of life compared with spontaneously conceived twins, presumably due to the lower proportion of monozygotic twins among the ART twins.

LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION We were not able to adjust for some potential confounders such as BMI, smoking, length or cause of infertility. The Nordic ART populations have changed over time, and in recent years, both less as well as severely reproductive ill couples are being treated. This may have affected the observed trends.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS It is assuring that data from four countries confirm an overall improvement over time in the perinatal outcomes of children conceived after ART. Furthermore, data show the beneficial effect of single embryo transfer, not only in regard to lowering the rate of multiples but also concerning the health of singletons.

See: Largest study of babies born after infertility treatment shows significant improvements in health over past 20 years (Science Daily)

What the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Forgets to Tell Americans about How to Protect Their Sexual and Reproductive Health

January 21, 2015 Comments off

What the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Forgets to Tell Americans about How to Protect Their Sexual and Reproductive Health
Source: Women’s Health Issues

If there is one thing that health care experts seem to agree on, it is the importance of preventive care. Anything that can help the American public to do a better job of understanding, accessing, and affording effective preventive care and thereby helping them to avoid potential threats to their health should be indisputably a good thing for individuals, families, and society.

Recommendations for the public about what preventive care services an individual might need at different points in his or her life can be one important tool in this tool box, and that goes double for recommendations that speak with the imprimatur of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). So, a series of fact sheets on “staying healthy” from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)—a branch of DHHS devoted to evidence-based improvements to the provision of U.S. health care—should be a welcome and valued resource (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), 2014a, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), 2014b).

In this light, it is disappointing to find the AHRQ fact sheets falling short of the mark in some critical ways related to their recommendations on sexual and reproductive health care. The four fact sheets—for women of all ages, women at age 50 and older, men of all ages, and men at age 50 and older—contain a wealth of good advice about screenings and preventive medicine that a patient might need. However, they leave out many effective sexual and reproductive health-related preventive services—perhaps most notably any mention of contraceptive services and supplies—that have been endorsed by other agencies in the DHHS and by the medical establishment more broadly, and that have been promoted through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirements for private health plans to cover preventive services without patient out-of-pocket costs (HealthCare.gov, 2014, Sonfield, 2012). The AHRQ fact sheets compound those oversights by seeming to imply that they embody the sum total of DHHS’s preventive care recommendations, when in reality they seem to be based almost exclusively on the recommendations of a single body, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Contraception and Hormonal Management in the Perimenopause

January 21, 2015 Comments off

Contraception and Hormonal Management in the Perimenopause
Source: Journal of Women’s Health

This literature review focuses on contraception in perimenopausal women. As women age, their fecundity decreases but does not disappear until menopause. After age 40, 75% of pregnancies are unplanned and may result in profound physical and emotional impact. Clinical evaluation must be relied on to diagnose menopause, since hormonal levels fluctuate widely. Until menopause is confirmed, some potential for pregnancy remains; at age 45, women’s sterility rate is 55%. Older gravidas experience higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, and death.

Many safe and effective contraceptive options are available to perimenopausal women. In addition to preventing an unplanned and higher-risk pregnancy, perimenopausal contraception may improve abnormal uterine bleeding, hot flashes, and menstrual migraines. Long-acting reversible contraceptives, including the levonorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG-IUS), the etonogestrel subdermal implant (ESI), and the copper intrauterine device (Cu-IUD), provide high efficacy without estrogen. LNG-IUS markedly decreases menorrhagia commonly seen in perimenopause. Both ESI and LNG-IUS provide endometrial protection for women using estrogen for vasomotor symptoms. Women without cardiovascular risk factors can safely use combined hormonal contraception. The CDC’s Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use informs choices for women with comorbidities. No medical contraindications exist for levonorgestrel emergency-contraceptive pills, though obesity does decrease efficacy. In contrast, the Cu-IUD provides reliable emergency and ongoing contraception regardless of body mass index (BMI).

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