women's health | KUOW News and Information

women's health

When you're pregnant, going to the doctors can be exciting. You get to find out if you're having a boy or a girl. Maybe hear the baby's heart beat.

But in southern Africa, many women find out something else.

Allison Groves at American University recently ran a study in a town outside Durban, South Africa. They followed about 1,500 pregnant women. The results left her speechless.

The Supreme Court has overturned a Texas law requiring clinics that provide abortions to have surgical facilities and doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The law was predicted to close many clinics and further reduce availability of abortion in Texas; the court has ruled the law violated the Constitution.

Politics Makes Abortion Training In Texas Difficult

Jun 21, 2016

Every year, more than 100 new obstetrician-gynecologists graduate from a Texas residency program and enter the medical workforce. Theoretically, all have had the opportunity during their four years of residency to learn about what's called "induced abortion" — named that to distinguish it from a miscarriage. But the closure of abortion clinics in Texas — more than 20 since 2013 — has made that training increasingly difficult.

Vermont Insurers Must Now Cover Vasectomies

Jun 19, 2016

Vermont has become one of several states working to make sure vasectomies are among the birth control options couples can afford.

Gov. Peter Shumlin last month signed into law a bill that adds vasectomies to the list of procedures that most health insurance coverage in Vermont must pay for.

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Seattleite Amelia Bonow is not the type to whisper about anything. But her abortion was something she kept to herself – until a few days ago.

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Josue Decavele

The Zika virus, which has been declared a global emergency by the WHO, has been known for decades in East Africa. But until now, its reputation in Africa has been much less serious. 

Kamala B.K. is tiny. She's barely 5 feet tall. A bright red ribbon sets off her dark hair.

As she walks past our guesthouse in the village of Thankot, we try to get her to come over and talk to us. But the 14-year-old won't come over to the porch.

"Because she's menstruating, she should not be entering another person's house. It's disrespectful," says Cecile Shrestha of Wateraid.

The inside of the elevators at Amazon headquarters in Seattle. People who work at Amazon refer to themselves as Amazonians.
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After a New York Times' expose on exacting worker conditions at Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos said he was shocked -- and then asked for direct feedback from workers. 

Julia Cheiffetz, an executive editor at HarperCollins, took Bezos at his word. 

Next year, the military will officially lift restrictions on women in combat, the end of a process that, according to the Government Accountability Office, may open up as many as 245,000 jobs that have been off-limits to women. But those who deploy overseas may continue to face obstacles in another area that can have a critical impact on their military experience: contraception.

There has never been a welcome mat for abortion service providers in the Flathead Valley, a vast area that stretches over 5,000 square miles in the northwest corner of Montana. Susan Cahill began providing abortions in 1976 in the first clinic to offer the service in the Flathead.

"But that had an arson fire, and then we rebuilt that," she says. "Then we had the anti-choice people try to arrest me for doing abortions when I wasn't a doctor."

There's new evidence suggesting that women's brains are especially vulnerable to Alzheimer's disease and other problems with memory and thinking.

Women with mild cognitive impairment, which can lead to Alzheimer's, tend to decline faster than men, researchers reported this week at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Washington, D.C.

The United States is basketball crazy.

For boys and girls who play sports, basketball is the most popular choice.

But as Americans age, a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reveals, there's a widening gender gap when it comes to hoops. Why are adult female basketball players giving up the game they once loved?

If you've wondered whether there's a downside to wearing superskinny jeans, this story's for you.

A 35-year-old Australian woman wound up in the hospital after wearing skinny jeans while helping a family member move.

The move involved "many hours of squatting while emptying cupboards," according to a report published Monday in the journal Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

When an email arrived the other day promoting an "Interfaith Service Focused on Below the Belt Cancers," I was intrigued.

It turns out Thursday, June 18, is the start of the third "Globe-athon to End Women's Cancers." To kickoff this continuing campaign, there will be two days of events in New York City dedicated to making people more aware of the cancers that strike more than 1 million women a year and figuring out the best strategies for diagnosis and treatment.

Women in the U.S. are having more babies — exactly 3,985,924 last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preliminary data show that birth rates in the U.S. were up by 1 percent last year from 2013. It's the first increase in seven years.

But teenagers aren't having as many babies. The birth rate in that group dropped by 9 percent in 2014 compared with 2013. For context, teen births have been on the decline since 1991.

Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can be harmful to the developing fetus. Pregnant women who suffer from serious depression face a difficult dilemma: Should they continue taking medication and risk unknown side-effects to the fetus, or go through their pregnancies trying to handle their depression without medication?

Officials and activists from around the world gathered in New York this week to mark the 20th anniversary of the landmark 1995 World Conference on Women.

Although there were a lot of depressing statistics discussed at the current meeting, there was one piece of good news that many kept citing as reason for hope: Since 1995 the rate of women worldwide who die in childbirth has dropped by more than 40 percent.

Of the million or so women who have abortions every year in the U.S., nearly a quarter end their pregnancy using medications. But just as states have been passing a record number of restrictions on surgical abortion, more are trying to limit this option as well.

One of the country's strictest laws is in Ohio. To understand it, a little history helps.

Kevin Stormans, owner of Ralph's Thriftway, is at the heart of a seven-year legal over whether pharmacists can withhold prescriptions for religious reasons. The debate began over whether pharmacists may refuse to dispense the contraception pill Plan B.
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Whether pharmacists must dispense controversial prescriptions goes before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday. The case pits patients’ access to medication against healthcare providers’ religious beliefs. 

In 2007, pharmacy owner Kevin Stormans and two pharmacists sued Washington state. The Washington Pharmacy Board had just adopted rules to insure that patients had access to prescriptions in a timely manner.

Facebook and Apple made news with their decision to offer their employees up to $20,000 towards the costs of egg freezing and other reproductive technologies. Jeannie Yandel speaks with Brigid Schulte, reporter for the Washington Post and author of Overwhelmed: Work Love and Play When No One Has the Time, about other ways employers might help their employees attain work-life balance.

In a darkened lab in the north of England, a research associate is intensely focused on the microscope in front of her. She carefully maneuvers a long glass tube that she uses to manipulate early human embryos.

"It's like microsurgery," says Laura Irving of Newcastle University.

Irving is part of a team of scientists trying to replace defective DNA with healthy DNA. They hope this procedure could one day help women who are carrying genetic disorders have healthy children.

Why I Didn't End Up Donating My Eggs

Oct 20, 2014
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Two five-inch syringes with bright orange caps have been placed atop the white linen of the grand banquet table, like little sterile centerpieces.

The table sits in an elegant meeting room – arched floor-to-ceiling windows, rich floral carpet – on the second floor of a posh downtown Portland, Oregon, hotel.

There’s a racial gap when it comes to how women experience breast cancer. Black women are 40 percent more likely to die from the disease compared to white women. And black women who survive tend to have lower quality of life.

If your eyes feel like a sand dune and your vision improves when you blink, you've probably got dry-eye syndrome. This used to be considered a women's thing, caused by hormonal changes at menopause, but thanks to our fondness for staring at screens it's becoming an equal opportunity ailment.

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