Dark Christianity
dark_christian
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May 2008
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The "pre-pregnant" recommendations, revisited.

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]velvetpage)

Okay, everyone, because I was still unconvinced (and because my daughter appears to be so happy in my uterus that she's not willing to come on time) I did a bit more research, with the help of a few friends who looked up some links. Here's what I found.

The first is a link to a brief summary, basically stating that the spin that was put on the CDC report was from the Washington Post and is not reflected in the actual recommendations:

http://pandagon.net/2006/05/16/you-poke-it-you-own-it-vs-cleaning-your-own-damn-catbox/#more-2899

Another take on basically the same thing:
http://syndicated.livejournal.com/bitchphd/298702.html

The link to the CDC report:

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5506a1.htm

And now, a few quotes with comments, from the CDC report itself.



"The recommendations are 1) individual responsibility across the lifespan, 2) consumer awareness, 3) preventive visits 4) interventions for identified risks, 5) interconception care, 6) prepregnancy checkup, 7) health insurance coverage for women with low incomes, 8) public health programs and strategies, 9) research, and 10) monitoring improvements."

First of all, one of the main complaints I saw was, "They give all these recommendations, but never help women with the costs of achieving them." Numbers 7 and 8 would suggest that the CDC has identified this problem and recommended that it be addressed.

"approximately 85% of all women in the United States have given birth by age 44 years."

Someone asked me for information to support the stat I quoted, which was that 80% of women give birth at some point in their lives. It turns out I underestimated by 5%.

"Health promotion activities to modify personal knowledge and attitudes and behaviors related to reproductive risk factors and the use of a reproductive life plan for women and couples also have been proposed (16,17). A reproductive health plan reflects a person's intentions regarding the number and timing of pregnancies in the context of their personal values and life goals. This health plan might increase the number of planned pregnancies and encourage persons to address risk behaviors before conception, reducing the risk for adverse outcomes for both the mother and the infant."

A few phrases are jumping out at me here: "Reproductive life plan," "number and timing of pregnancies," "context of their personal life goals" are a few. It looks to me like the CDC is advising people to plan their pregnancies well in advance and to have that information on hand with their doctors. If their personal life goals do not include children, presumably, that information should also be included in such a reproductive life plan.

"Isotretinoins. Use of isotretinoins (e.g., Accutane®) in pregnancy to treat acne can result in miscarriage and birth defects. Effective pregnancy prevention should be implemented to avoid unintended pregnancies among women with childbearing potential who use this medication (65--67)."

This quote is directly from the list of risk factors. Please note: it DOES NOT advocate that pre-pregnant women never take acutane; it actually recommends effective pregnancy prevention for women who need it. That's not a dominionist stance at all.

"Preconception care offers health services that allow women to maintain optimal health for themselves, choose the number and spacing of their pregnancies and, when desired, prepare for a healthy baby."

Key phrase: "when desired." 'Nuff said.

My conclusion: the Post put a very negative spin on a fairly balanced set of recommendations whose goals are to increase the percentage of planned vs. unplanned pregnancies, and improve their outcomes for women, children, and families. I was impressed by the number of times the recommendations used phrasing that reflected the importance of both men and women, using phrases like "women and couples." Even the basic concern that women were singled out seems to be unfounded when you read the actual recommendations.

I'm more concerned about a major newspaper choosing to dramatically overstate a potentially explosive issue, than I am about the recommendations themselves.

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