National Partnership for Women & Families

Journal Review

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.

Providers, Patients Differ in Priorities for Contraceptive Decision-Making
Researchers from Dartmouth College surveyed women about how they prioritize 34 questions about information they might consider when selecting a contraceptive method. They also asked providers about their priorities in counseling women about the same information. While women and providers placed similar levels of importance on 18 of the 34 questions, they differed in the questions that they felt were most important overall.

Waiting Room App Helpful for Improving Contraceptive Knowledge
Researchers developed an app with information about long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) and randomly assigned women at a Title X clinic to use the app for up to 15 minutes in the waiting room or receive standard care. Although women who used the app were no more likely than other women to choose LARC at their visit, they "had significantly higher knowledge of contraceptive effectiveness" and "increased interest" in the contraceptive implant after using the app. In addition, app users were highly satisfied with it, and it did not disrupt the normal clinic flow.

Study Examines Associations Between Sexual Assault, Childlessness Among Female Veterans
In this study, researchers assessed relationships between experiencing attempted or completed sexual assault and voluntary and involuntary childlessness among female veterans. They interviewed more than 1,000 women and found associations between history of sexual assault and childlessness, as well as between sexual assault and increased rates of abortion, post-traumatic stress disorder and infertility, among other issues. The researchers urge women's health care providers to ask veterans about their service and recognize the complex ways it might affect their reproductive health.

Ob-Gyns Describe Frustration With Catholic Hospitals' Restrictions on Tubal Ligation
Tubal ligation is one of the most commonly requested contraceptive methods in the U.S., but it is prohibited under the Roman Catholic Church's religious directives for health care facilities. University of Chicago researchers interviewed ob-gyns to assess their opinions and experiences related to requests for the procedure in Catholic hospitals. The ob-gyns expressed frustration with Catholic hospital policies that they felt put patients at unnecessary risk and increased barriers to care, especially for patients with financial or insurance restrictions.

Researchers Review Studies on Adolescent Mental Health in Pregnancy, Postpartum Period
In a review of previous studies assessing the prevalence and effects of psychopathology among pregnant and postpartum adolescents, Rebecca Siegel and Anna Brandon of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill found "substantial research" on depressive symptoms among perinatal adolescents but little literature on the rates and challenges of other psychiatric conditions. In particular, the researchers recommended further study on anxiety and bipolar disorder in this population.