IOWA FAMILIES DENIED ACCESS TO EVIDENCE-BASED CARE

(Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest diaries advocating for or against bills pending in the Iowa legislature. The link to the study mentioned in the second paragraph appears to be broken. Here is the abstract from a peer-reviewed medical journal. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com... - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Friends of Iowa Midwives has worked with legislators to present companion bills in the House and Senate that would allow for safe and legal access to Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) in Iowa.  For 15 years Friends of Iowa Midwives has worked toward licensure for CPMs. In 1999 the Iowa Legislature conducted a scope of practice review, the result of which was a recommendation to the legislature that the CPMs should be licensed through the Iowa Department of Public Health.  The bills propose that a license be created for the already trained and nationally certified midwives who seek to provide quality and safe care to Iowa women.

Every year in Iowa, more than 500 women choose to give birth outside of the hospital.  This number is on the rise both in Iowa and nationally.  A study published last month in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health again demonstrated that for low-risk women out-of-hospital birth with skilled providers is a safe option.  This study found that almost 94% of the nearly 17,000 participants had a spontaneous vaginal birth.  The cesarean rate for this study was 5.2%.  The national average cesarean rate is 33%.  The in-labor transfer rate for this study was between 8-23%.  The most common reason for a transfer of care was prolonged labor or what is commonly called failure to progress. This study was one of among several that have demonstrated that out-of-hospital birth is a safe option for low-risk women. 

 

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Teen births drop nationwide and in Iowa

The U.S. teen birth rate reached “a historic low in 2010,” according to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control this week. Iowa was among 47 states where the birth rate for teenagers fell significantly from 2007 to 2010, and Iowa’s rate of 28.6 births per 1,000 teenagers was ranked 34th nationwide. More details are after the jump.

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Events coming up this weekend and next week

As always, post a comment or send me an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com) if you know of an event I should add to this post.

Friday, February 13:

As part of the “POWERLINES to the Future” conference of the Midwest Regional Physicians for Social Responsibility, there will be a free film and discussion of “Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives” at 7:30 pm in the International Center, Old Capitol Town Center Mall, downtown Iowa City.

Get full information at:

www.iowa-psr.org/pl/pl_home.html

One Iowa urges supporters to “write a note on Facebook or Myspace with the 25 Reasons you support marriage equality. Then tag 25 of your closest friends on the note and add your 25 reasons as a comment to the One Iowa Facebook or Myspace page.” Also, One Iowa is hosting a Happy Hour from 5-7 PM at Azalea Restaurant, 400 Walnut St., Des Moines.

Friends of Iowa Midwives is having a “Red Envelope Party” (where people can write letters to policy-makers advocating for expanding birth options in Iowa) in Davenport from 3 pm to 5 pm at the Harrison Hilltop Theatre. Click here for more information:

http://www.friendsofiowamidwiv…

Saturday, February 14:

Physicians for Social Responsibility is holding a “POWERLINES to the Future” conference at the International Center, Old Capitol Town Center Mall, Iowa City. PSR hopes to encourage Iowans, especially those involved in the health professions, to become more informed and actively engaged in confronting the gravest health challenges of our time:

Conference 9:00 AM — 4:00 PM

Check-in and breakfast at 8:00 AM

The Saturday program addresses health, environmental, and economic consequences of:

Nuclear weapons

Nuclear power

Coal fired power generation

View full program at:  www.iowa-psr.org/pl/pl_home.html/#program

Intended audience: physicians, allied health professionals, public health officials, general public, and students.

Registration includes breakfast and lunch on Saturday.

Pre-registration by Wednesday February 11, 2009 is required to be ensured food!

Sliding-scale conference registration fee.

Register online or download a printable registration form at:

www.iowa-psr.org/pl/pl_home.html/#registration

Friends of Iowa Midwives is having a “Red Envelope Party” at the Urbandale Public Library from 10 am to 12 pm, and at the Iowa City Public Library from 1 pm to 3 pm. For more information:

http://www.friendsofiowamidwiv…

Monday, February 16:

Big event on climate change co-sponsored by lots of good organizations:

The University of Iowa Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research and a variety of co-sponsoring organizations invite you to a climate change briefing and discussion to highlight the recent report of the Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council.

The briefing and discussion will take place on Monday, February 16, 6:00-7:30 pm at the Iowa State Historical Building Auditorium, 600 East Locust in Des Moines.

The meeting will be an opportunity to learn more about climate change science its potential impacts on Iowa, as well as learn about the recent options detailed in the work of the Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council report and participate in an informal discussion about climate change and next steps.

Iowa Climate Change Briefing and Discussion

Monday, February 16, 6:00-7:30 pm

Iowa State Historical Building, Auditorium

AGENDA

Welcome – Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie

Richard Leopold, Director, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Climate Science and Assessment of Climate Change for Iowa- Eugene S. Takle, Director, Climate Change Initiative, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Professor of Agricultural Meteorology, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University

Brief overview of the Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council’s Report –  Jerry Schnoor – Co-director, University of Iowa Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research and Chairman, Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council

What are our next steps? Interactive discussion with key legislators, ICCAC members and the audience

Adjourn for light refreshments

Climate Change Briefing and Discussion Co-Sponsors

Iowa State University Climate Science Initiative

UNI Center for Energy and Environmental Education

Iowa State University Extension

Iowa Department of Economic Development

Iowa Office of Energy Independence

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Iowa Department of Public Health

Iowa Office of Consumer Advocate

Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities

Iowa State Association of Counties

Iowa League of Cities

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation

Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Iowa Environmental Council

Iowa Interfaith Power & Light

Iowa Policy Project

Trees Forever

For more information or questions contact Joe Bolkcom, Outreach and Community Education Director, UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research at joe-bolkcom@uiowa.edu or 319-353-2681.

One Iowa is organizing this event:

February 16, 5:30 PM

“Transgender Medicine 101”

featuring Dr. Christine McGinn

FREE and open to the public

Dinner at 5:30, lecture at 6:00

Des Moines University Student Education Center Auditorium

3200 Grand Avenue, Des Moines

Go to www.oneiow.org for more information

Tuesday, February 17:

It’s the registration deadline for the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa’s Crossroads lunch on February 20 (see below for more information). Call 515-279-8715 to make a reservation.

The Women Food and Agriculture Network is holding “Women Caring for the Land” meetings on February 17, 18 and 19, for women landowners in Johnson, Jones and Linn Counties. These are free educational programs on conservation programming for women who are farm partners, owner-operators, or inheritors who own farmland. Laura Krouse will hold meetings in each county, followed by spring field days and a follow-up meeting. Please call her at 319-895-6924 to find out where and when the meeting will be held in each county.

Wednesday, February 18:

One Iowa and Lambda Legal are holding a “Let My Parents Marry” forum at 6:30 pm in the Coralville Public Library, Meeting Room A, 1401 5th St., Coralville.

Friends of Iowa Midwives is holding its third Annual Conscious Birth Summit from 3 pm to 8 pm in the Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A, Featuring screenings of The Business of Being Born and Orgasmic Birth.

Thursday, February 19:

From the Iowa Environmental Council newsletter:

Growing Sustainable Communities Conference

Join us Thursday, February 19, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., at the Grand River Center, 500 Bell Street in Dubuque. Cost is $20 per person, which includes a lunch. Limited number of student scholarships available. Our conference theme is “Promoting Historic Preservation as Part of the Climate Solution.” Insights will be offered on creating local and regional policies to promote sustainability through historic preservation. Keynote speakers for the event are Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Roya Stanley, director of the Iowa Office for Energy Independence. Deadline for registration is Feb 11 [from desmoinesdem: I know it’s late, but if you’re interested try calling anyway]. A limited number of student scholarships are available. Online registration and payment, as well as additional information, are available at www.sustainabledubuque.org or by calling 563.589.4110 during business hours. The mission of the conference is to educate the public on the issues that impact the long-term health and sustainability of our region and to create an opportunity for policy decision-makers from the tri-state area to come together to discuss ways in which they can enact the most effective change at the local level.

Also from the IEC bulletin:

Iowa Whitewater Coalition Annual Dinner Meeting

February 19, Des Moines

The IWC ‘Reconnecting the Rivers’ Annual Dinner Meeting will take place on Thursday, February 19th, with a social hour beginning at 6 pm and dinner at 7 pm. Following the meal special guest Adam Brooks, who has paddled the entire Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, will be sharing stories from his adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail and his plans for paddling 2300 miles of the Yukon River in Alaska starting in June. The meeting will be held at the House of Thai, located at 3017 100th Street in Des Moines. There will be a wonderful selection of dishes served banquet style, beverages and a cash bar for those interested. Tickets may be purchased for $25 per individual or $45 per couple. Proceeds from the event directly benefit the non-profit activities of the IWC and its Reconnecting the Rivers Campaign. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to: http://www.iowawhitewater.org/…

One Iowa and Lambda Legal are holding a “Let My Parents Marry” forum at 6:30 pm in the Des Moines Public Library, Meeting Room 1, 1000 Grand Ave. in Des Moines.

Friday, February 20:

The Interfaith Alliance of Iowa is holding a Crossroads luncheon:

Guest Speaker:    Nate Monson

Project Coordinator, Iowa Safe Schools

Subject:                Safe Schools for All

Sexual orientation and gender identity are two controversial topics in our communities and in our schools. Are our schools safe for LGBT youth? Learn about, discuss, and experience the effects of bias and harassment on students who identify and students who are perceived to be gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender and learn about laws dealing with the GLBT community.

Date:                    Friday, February 20

o       Time:        11:45 – 1 p.m.

o       Location: Plymouth Congregational Church, Des Moines (42nd Street & Ingersoll Avenue )

o       Cost:         $9.00

Reservations are required for Crossroads.  Please call or email TIA Iowa by Tuesday, February 17.

Office: 515-279-8715

Friends of Iowa Midwives is having a Red Envelope Party from noon to 1 pm at the Marion Public Library.

Saturday, February 21:

From the IEC bulletin:

Hunter Angler Summit

Please join other outdoor enthusiasts on Feb 21, at Johnson County Conservation Education Center at F.W. Kent Park, just west of Tiffin, for a one-day summit to learn about threats to Iowa wetlands, rivers and streams, and help the National and Iowa Wildlife Federation to launch a state campaign to fight back after the rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and administrative fiats that have left over half of Iowa streams and over 70 percent of Iowa’s prairie pothole wetlands vulnerable to losing Clean Water Act protections. Whether you are an angler who enjoys casting in your favorite stream or a hunter who counts on mallards and northern pintails, these decisions threaten the places you love. Policy experts and scientists will share the current efforts to eliminate protections in Iowa and the serious impacts they have for Iowa fish and wildlife. We will work together to design a statewide plan for hunters and anglers to stop the rollback of clean water protections for Iowa waters.  Hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts who care about clean water and wildlife should attend. Please RSVP: Email Pam Goddard, goddardp@nwf.org or call at 301-741-6606.

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Insurance companies punish women after cesarean births

Over at Daily Kos, nyceve put up another shocking diary about the practices of for-profit insurance companies in the U.S.

Today she links to this article from the New York Times about women facing higher insurance premiums, or even being denied insurance coverage, after giving birth by cesarean:

Insurers’ rules on prior Caesareans vary by company and also by state, since the states regulate insurers, said Susan Pisano of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group. Some companies ignore the surgery, she said, but others treat it like a pre-existing condition.

“Sometimes the coverage will come with a rider saying that coverage for a Caesarean delivery is excluded for a period of time,” Ms. Pisano said. Sometimes, she said, applicants with prior Caesareans are charged higher premiums or deductibles.

This problem could affect millions of American women:

In 2006, more than 1.2 million Caesareans were performed in the United States, and researchers estimate that each year, half a million women giving birth have had previous Caesareans.

“Obstetricians are rendering large numbers of women uninsurable by overusing this surgery,” said Pamela Udy, president of the International Caesarean Awareness Network, a group whose mission is to prevent unnecessary Caesareans.

Although many women who have had a Caesarean can safely have a normal birth later, something that Ms. Udy’s group advocates, in recent years many doctors and hospitals have refused to allow such births, because they carry a small risk of a potentially fatal complication, uterine rupture. Now, Ms. Udy says, insurers are adding insult to injury. Not only are women feeling pressure to have Caesareans that they do not want and may not need, but they may also be denied coverage for the surgery.

The New York Times piece also mentions one woman who was rejected for coverage by the Golden Rule Insurance Company:

She was turned down because she had given birth by Caesarean section. Having the operation once increases the odds that it will be performed again, and if she became pregnant and needed another Caesarean, Golden Rule did not want to pay for it. A letter from the company explained that if she had been sterilized after the Caesarean, or if she were over 40 and had given birth two or more years before applying, she might have qualified.

Great news–all she has to do to get health insurance coverage is be sterilized!

Seriously, we need a national health care policy that prohibits insurance companies from refusing to cover people with pre-existing conditions.

Until that happens, women would be advised to do whatever they can to reduce their risk of having a c-section.

Some surgical births are unavoidable, and in those cases it is a lifesaving procedure. However, there are ways to reduce the risk of having an unnecessary cesarean.

I advise women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant to strongly consider using a midwife for your prenatal care, labor and delivery. Most midwives have a far lower cesarean rate in their practices than obstetricians.

One New Jersey hospital that has a thriving midwifery program has the second-lowest rate of c-sections in that state, “despite serving a low-income urban patient population that is more likely to have high-risk pregnancies.”

Hiring a certified doula to help the mother during labor and delivery has been shown to reduce the rate of cesarean births as well. You can have a doula assist you whether you are under the care of a midwife, an obstetrician or a family doctor, whether you give birth in a hospital, a birth center or at home.

You should also seek information about the c-section rates of the hospitals and birth centers in your area, if you have a choice. As I mentioned  in this post on cesarean births in Iowa, the percentage of babies born by c-section can vary widely from hospital to hospital.

For more information on cesarean births and the benefits of having a doula, click here.

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