I wanted to go the extra mile for my patient. The resistance I found was unexpected. She was young. Her life — an incredible journey in diplomatic circles — was crippled too soon by a recurring disease that would ultimately prevail. Day after day, I'd round on her in what seemed like a pointless exercise, waiting for the inevitable to come. Another round of chemotherapy would have to wait for her ...

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It is a fluke of the news cycle that if we don't hear a product warning frequently, we can "forgive" that product and think it has somehow become safe. While no one would "forgive" cigarettes, lead in drinking water or mercury in tuna, the public has definitely softened on the danger of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause. So it is noteworthy that a recently released ...

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The first time a woman went into the final stage of labor, I watched from a corner of the room. As a third-year medical student, I was on my six-week clinical rotation in obstetrics and gynecology, and it was day one of the two-week portion on the labor and delivery floor. As a loudspeaker announcement projected over the woman's screams, and nurses and doctors rushed in response, I instinctively clasped ...

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The Somalian government should be ashamed of condoning the widespread occurrence of female genital mutilation. According to UNICEF, 98 percent of women from the ages 15 to 49 have undergone FGM in Somalia from 2005 to 2014. As defined by the World Health Organization, FGM is a procedure that removes or injures female genitalia for a non-medical purpose. This procedure has absolutely no health benefits for women. It ...

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The debate over the safety of giving birth at home, both for the mother and for the infant, has continued for years. I’ve written about the issue myself. From time immemorial until about 75 years ago or so, most babies were born at home. Now it’s around 1 percent in the USA, although it’s much higher than that in many Western European countries. The shift to hospital births ...

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To put it simply, I’m scared by news headlines and conversations about the climbing rates of maternal mortality among Black women. I’m not surprised, however. As an internist, I regularly marvel at the advances that have been made in Western medicine, yet I pause and wonder why, in our profession, we continually get this mortality issue wrong. The conversation about the state of Black women’s health has reached a ...

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It’s that time of year when the weather outside is growing colder, the evenings seem to kick off way too early in the day, and the decorations around town remind all of us all of the fast-approaching holiday season.

But for many of us obstetricians, this can often translate into anxiety over how often we’ll be pulled away from long-scheduled holiday activities to rush to the hospital ...

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On January 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade established a woman’s fundamental right to abortion nationwide. Roe v. Wade should not be overruled because women having universal access to abortion services means women have the right to choose what is best for their health care. This is how health care should be in that if there is a viable medical option for the patient to pursue, the patient should have the ...

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I am a 38-year-old board-certified OB/GYN. I have been married to my husband for 12 years. I am the mom of two young boys. I drive a Subaru. In short, I am the complete opposite of the demographic that rules TikTok. Never heard of TikTok? It’s OK – until recently, neither had I. TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform that seems to have exploded overnight. The app, which is famous for ...

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I recently had a conversation with a new patient who was referred for surgery. As it happens, she discussed me with people she knew before her appointment. I like patients to look me up, talk to friends, find out who I am, and come with an expectation of what they will get in my clinic. We had a normal new patient visit, and per my typical workflow, I explained the agenda: ...

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When my obstetrician told me I was not going back to my clinic that afternoon due to severe preeclampsia, I was so indoctrinated that my first thought was of the inconvenience to my patients who would need to be rescheduled. Only a few minutes later did it register that I would be giving birth sooner than I had anticipated, and my new life as “working mother” would begin. I was due ...

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I did not want a baby.  As a 26-year-old third-year medical student who had quite recently ended a far from ideal relationship -- of this, I was certain. On vacation, in New York City, walking in Soho carelessly, I laughed with my friend Noelle over the fragility of condoms. “Trust me,” I said. “They break.” How many months in my sexually active life did I apprehensively count and recount the number of ...

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Why does the most expensive health care system on the planet do such a poor job protecting the lives of pregnant women? More important, what can be done about it? The United States continues to lead the world in health care spending yet it has the highest maternal death rate among wealthy nations. Researchers have found that maternal mortality in the United States 
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This past August, I attended the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) District VI meeting in Wisconsin. The theme of this year's meeting was "Bringing it Back Home," with a keynote presentation focused on developing the emotional habits to influence others and "embody the inner attitude of a leader." After a day of much self-reflection, I decided to stop by the poster presentations during a break between the major talks. ...

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In the recent book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, David Epstein makes a strong argument for exploring or sampling different interests and jobs before settling on a career of choice, a process that leads to “match quality,” which describes the degree of fit between one’s work and who they are. This idea flies in the face of our strongly held belief that early specialization, or ...

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As a profession, we’ve yet to standardize maternity leave and breastfeeding allowances for women. Given the length of medical training (seven-plus post-graduate years), timing (prime reproductive years) and slow increase in the ratio of female to male surgical residents, females choosing to start families during training are particularly afflicted. We just celebrated my son’s first birthday. I had him during one of the busiest years of my surgical residency, and it’s ...

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I am an experienced OB/GYN, well-versed in obstetrics, infertility, gynecology, surgery and — yes — menopause, or so I thought. So why was I so blindsided by my own menopause transition? I thought I was going through burnout, with anxiety, anger, mood swings, irritability, and depression. I was at a point in my career as an OB/GYN of 20-plus years that patients flocked to me because of my reputation and expected ...

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The field of teratology (also known as dysmorphology) is rapidly growing with daily innovations in prenatal medicine, genetics and preventive care that show its uniquely intersectional nature. But, the term teratology, and its derivatives teratoma and teratogen — derived from the ancient Greek root teras — do not do justice to the promising future of this field. I would like to see the field move away from this term for two reasons. First, ...

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When I walked into my first shift on labor and delivery as a brand new OB/GYN intern, complete with a freshly starched white coat, I was 33 weeks pregnant. As I listened to my chief resident effortlessly sign out the labor board, I was terrified. As the words pre-eclampsia, chorioamnionitis, and postpartum hemorrhage swirled around the room, I couldn’t get my heart rate under control. “They already hate ...

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It has been a savage few months for reproductive rights, with 12 states passing 26 bills to ban abortion, including measures that ban abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy, as well as attempting to outlaw safe methods of abortion. In the face of this extreme, unprecedented wave of attacks, several states pursued an alternative route, passing laws that expand the scope of abortion providers to ...

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