National Partnership for Women & Families

Journal Review

No-Cost Access to LARC Tied to Rapid Decline in Births Among Young, Low-Income Women
Researchers examined the effects of a program that provided no-cost access to intrauterine devices and implants for low-income women at Title X-funded clinics in Colorado beginning in 2009. Use of the methods among women ages 15 to 24 at the clinics increased sharply by 2011, coinciding with declines in fertility rates, high-risk births, abortion rates, and infant enrollment in the state's Women, Infants and Children program, the researchers found.

Study Assesses Impact of Gestational Age Limits, Cost, Harassment on Abortion Access
Researchers from the Guttmacher Institute examined how three factors that affect abortion access -- gestational age limits, levels of harassment and cost of services -- changed from 2008 to 2012. They found there was little change in each factor but noted several variations by region and facility type. They also warned that additional abortion restrictions enacted since the study period could further restrict abortion availability.

Survey: Ob-Gyns Wrongly Think Pelvic Exams are Needed Before Prescribing Hormonal Contraception
Researchers from the University of California-San Francisco surveyed ob-gyns about their beliefs on the importance of pelvic exams for patients seeking hormonal contraception. Although clinical guidelines advise that ob-gyns do not need to perform pelvic exams before prescribing hormonal contraception to asymptomatic women, prior surveys suggest many ob-gyns still conduct such exams. In the new survey, most respondents felt the exams "are of some importance," which "may continue to pose a barrier to contraception provision," the researchers wrote.

One-Third of Pregnancy-Related Deaths in Ill. May Be Preventable, Review Finds
In the first analysis of pregnancy-related deaths in Illinois in over 60 years, researchers from the state Maternal Mortality Review Committee Working Group found that one-third of such deaths were potentially preventable. Noting that their findings are consistent with analyses in other states, the researchers called for "a multi-tiered approach [to] addressing provider, system and patient-related factors" in order to reduce preventable pregnancy-related deaths.

Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Conflict Requires Focus on Prevention
Writing in The Lancet as stakeholders gathered for the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict last month, experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine called for prevention measures that "challenge legal, economic, and social structures that uphold and foster gender inequality."

Comprehensive Review Affirms Safety of Waterbirth
A review of literature encompassing more than 31,000 waterbirths found that maternal and neonatal outcomes are comparable to those in other healthy childbearing populations. The researchers cautioned that waterbirth research to date is observational and not sufficient to demonstrate causal associations; however, "existing data support trained professionals in offering [waterbirth] to healthy women using evidence-based practice guidelines."

Maternal Depression, Pregnancy Intentions Tied to Return to Paid Work for New Moms
Researchers from the University of Maryland-College Park examined the relationships between maternal depression, whether a pregnancy was intended and return to paid work among women who had recently given birth. "Mothers who were not depressed and did not intend the pregnancy ... returned to paid work the soonest," whereas having an intended pregnancy and being depressed decreased the likelihood of return to paid work, the researchers found.