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expert-perspectives

Breastfeeding at Work: Challenges and Opportunities for Minnesota’s Mothers

Editor’s note: This post was developed by Alexis Russell, M.P.H., a 2015 graduate of the Public Health Administration and Policy Program, Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota School of Public Health and Katy Kozhimannil, Ph.D., M.P.A., associate professor, Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

August is National Breastfeeding Month. It’s also the “Back-to-school” time of year, when students and teachers prepare for the upcoming school year. It’s a time of great excitement, but, it’s also a particularly challenging time for teachers who also happen to be mothers who are breastfeeding.

In 2011, fewer than 1 in 4 Minnesota infants were breastfed to the recommended length of time. Employed mothers are one subgroup of women that struggle to meet recommendations for breastfeeding, due in part to barriers they experience as part of their day-to-day schedules and obligations at work.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research Snapshot: Vulvodynia has minimal effect on decision to conceive

In a recent study at the University of Minnesota, researchers found that despite painful symptoms associated with vulvodynia, the disorder ultimately had little effect on a woman’s decision to conceive.

Vulvodynia is a chronic disorder that causes pain to the vulvar area and is often difficult to diagnose. Considering the methods of treatment and effectiveness vary from woman to woman, researchers expected this arduous treatment process would significantly alter childbearing decisions.

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u-of-m-voices

5 Health Tips for Women

Carrie Ann Terrell, M.D., is an Obstetrician and Gynecologist, specializing in women’s health at the University of Minnesota. Terrell sees patients at the Fibroid Clinic, Women’s Health Specialists Clinic and Leo Fung Center for Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) and Disorders of Sex Development (DSD).

With women’s health week wrapping up, Health Talk wants to remind you that it is never too late to start reaching your health and fitness goals. I’ve compiled 5 tips to help you reach those goals.

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expert-perspectives

Cervical cancer screening: Is a Pap smear or HPV test better?

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2015, approximately 12,900 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the United States alone. To detect those cases, physicians use a Pap smear as the primary cervical cancer screening method.. However, a recent study published in the journal of Gynecologic Oncology, advocates for routine Human Papillomavirus (HPV) screening instead.

The study, authored by an expert panel from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), found that testing for HPV is more beneficial for cervical cancer screening than a Pap smear alone. The authors claim that routine Pap testing, performed every three years, isn’t as beneficial and accurate as routine HPV testing.

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news-and-notes

Legislative advisory committee pushes more support for incarcerated pregnant women

It is estimated that four percent of incarcerated women are pregnant when they enter custody. Most of the corrections facilities in Minnesota are not equipped to house pregnant women, and given their high likelihood of medical and social risk factors, many incarcerated pregnant women may be at high risk for poor health outcomes.

After passing a bill to address this disparity last spring, an advisory committee created by the legislature recommends lawmakers consider providing additional support to incarcerated pregnant and postpartum women. The initial bill established regulations on the use of restraints and mandated pregnancy tests for inmates, among other policy changes. It was a major improvement in standard of care, but more can be done, said committee lead Rebecca Shlafer, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

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research-and-clinical-trials

U of M study: Increasing access to and awareness of doula support may be beneficial financially and medically

A new study shows increased access to continuous labor support from a birth doula may help decrease non-indicated cesarean births among women who desire doula care. The research was conducted at the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.

A doula is a trained professional who provides support to women before, during, and after childbirth. This study examined who has access to doula care and the benefits of that access among a national sample of 2,400 women who gave birth in 2011-2012.

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