Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 30-year-old woman is evaluated for episodic migraine without aura that first presented in high school and has persisted into the third trimester of her current pregnancy. The headache attacks occur two to four times monthly and last 12 to 24 hours. She experiences moderately severe pain, significant nausea, no vomiting, and ...

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To put this post in perspective the pain of childbirth is said to be equivalent of amputating a finger. The joint statement of the American Congress of OB/GYN and the American Society of Anesthesiologists sums pain control during labor and delivery quite nicely: “There is no other circumstance where it is considered acceptable for an individual to experience untreated severe pain, amenable to safe intervention, while under a physician’s care. In ...

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This post by Paul Levy got me thinking about informed consent, and a case I saw recently got me to take a little time and write about an issue frequently ignored in medical school. A bit of background for non-medical readers. Informed consent is a term in medicine for when doctors get the agreement of the patient to do something to said patient.  For example, before a patient is cut ...

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The New York Times has reported on a woman who wanted to deliver vaginally and claims she was forced to have a repeat C-section (her third C-section) against her will. I can’t comment on the veracity of her claims, however a forced C-section is never, ever acceptable. It doesn’t mater if the fetus has an agonal rhythm (is visibly dying on the monitor), as an OB your role is to ...

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Wendy Davis, gubernatorial candidate for Texas, has a new memoir Forgetting to Be Afraid. In it she describes terminating two pregnancies. One termination appears to have been in the second trimester for fetal indications and the other she describes as an ectopic pregnancy. She writes, “The only medical option was to have surgery to terminate the pregnancy and remove the affected fallopian tube -- which in Texas is technically ...

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A 33-year-old woman in Indiana, Purvi Patel, presented to an emergency room with vaginal bleeding and when it was obvious that she had very recently delivered a baby the doctors on call notified the authorities. The body of her 28-week gestation infant was recovered. The pathologist believed the baby had taken a breath so Ms. Patel was with charged with neglect of a dependent. Sometime later the police ...

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Hospitals should not control the decisions of pregnant women Doctors, hospitals and judges have over the years attempted to control the decisions of pregnant women. In a recent Florida case, it’s not clear whether the controllers sought to protect the fetus, the woman or both. They may have wanted to protect the hospital from potential liability. The case involved a 39-week-pregnant woman. According to a Read more...

It was July 2012 and I was pregnant with my third child. As an experienced mother and labor and delivery nurse, I felt very comfortable at 29-weeks gestation and anticipated the usual course of pregnancy. However, at 30 weeks, I started battling with preterm labor issues. This eventually led to the early delivery of my son, a four week and stay in the NICU, and a life lesson in cost-awareness ...

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From time immemorial until about 75 years ago or so most babies were born at home. Now it’s around 1% in the USA, although it’s much higher than that in many Western European countries. The shift to hospital births paralleled the growth of hospitals, pediatrics, and obstetrics. With that shift there has been a perceived decrease in women’s autonomy over their healthcare decisions. There has also been an unsurprising jump in ...

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Vaginal video games: What to make of mobile Kegel apps There are two new high-tech ways that aim to help you with Kegel exercises, both with Kickstarter campaigns. There is the Skea (Smart Kegel Exercise Aid), basically a video game that proposes controlling the avatar with a vaginal probe that uses the pelvic floor muscles and kGoal, a vaginal insert that is meant to connect wirelessly with your smart phone and measures your squeeze ...

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