Category Archives: Reproductive Health Care

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends ~ The Value of Community Partners

You may already know that Maine’s family planning providers are experts in sexual and reproductive health. Yet, you may be surprised to find out we do so much more than birth control and pap tests.

  • We provide testing and treatment for STDs, breast and cervical exams for women of all ages, and preconception services for those planning to get pregnant.
  • You can come to us with urgent issues, like urinary tract infections, yeast infections, emergency contraception, or if you just need to grab some condoms before the weekend.
  • We see patients of any gender, any age – and everything we do is confidential and     affordable.
  • At our Belfast location, we offer primary care services.
  • In Downeast Maine, the FPA provides additional family support services.

While family planning services are pretty broad in scope, we can’t always provide every service our patients need. That’s why we partner with other organizations and providers in local communities. Continue reading

Meet Leanne ~ A Family Planning Staff Profile

Leanne Clark, Site Administrative Coordinator, Waterville and Skowhegan Family Planning

If you call the family planning health centers in Waterville and Skowhegan, Leanne Clark is probably the voice you’ll hear on the phone. As Site Administrative Coordinator for these two FPA locations, Leanne is usually the first person to make contact with patients who call or come through the door.

I had lunch with Leanne at a nearby Waterville restaurant and we chatted about her family planning work. Here’s what we talked about.

You’ve been employed by family planning for just over 10 years. How did you get into this work?

I was graduating from Thomas College with my associates degree and moving out of my parents’ house. I needed a job, quick. I heard about this job at KVCAP Family Planning and I applied.  I never intended to stay with family planning so long; this was the job I was supposed to have until I got my real job.

Why did that change? Continue reading

Birth Control Method Risks ~ The Real, True NuvaRing Story

Another month, another sensationalistic article about women’s health, right? You may have seen Vanity Fair’s recent piece, Danger In The Ring, and wondered what’s going on with the NuvaRing– a fairly popular method of birth control that Vanity Fair decries as “potentially lethal.”

First off, let’s chat about the NuvaRing. It’s a small, flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina once a month and releases hormones into the body, and it’s about 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. The ring contains the same hormones (estrogen and progestin) as many birth control pills and the patch. But the ring only has to be inserted once a month and it isn’t visible on the body. The most common side effects of the ring are irregular bleeding, breast tenderness, and nausea.

A rare but much more serious side effect of the NuvaRing is the risk of blood clots. This risk is the focus of some recent articles. The hormones in any combined-hormonal method (the pill, patch, and the ring) can make your blood clot more easily. If a blot clot forms in the leg (called deep vein thrombosis or DVT), it can travel to the lungs, which is very serious and can be fatal if not treated.

So what is the risk of using the NuvaRing, relative to other risks?  Continue reading

Plan B — Will it Work for You?

Earlier this week, news outlets were filled with warnings about the differences in the effectiveness of emergency contraception (EC) relative to a woman’s weight or body mass index (BMI).

In case you missed it, the big news is that the European version of Plan B will start carrying a warning telling women over 165 pounds that the drug is less effective for them and women over 176 pounds that it likely won’t work for them at all.

The news raises concerns among U.S. women about the effectiveness of Plan B for women of a certain size. Here at the FPA, our clinical leadership was quick to respond. We’ve read the studies and reviewed the recommendations from experts in the field of reproductive health, in order to update our own clinical guidelines in relation to EC.

Here’s the scoop. Continue reading

Don’t Be Scared ~ Emergency Contraception is Here

It’s Halloween! Zombies and vampires can be spooky but few things are as anxiety inducing as a pregnancy scare. But have no fear. Emergency contraception (EC) is now available over the counter to anyone, of any age, without an ID.

Here’s what you need to know about getting EC to help prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Continue reading

Family Planning Matters! Five Reasons to Watch & Share This New Video

What a week it’s been!

Unable to come to an agreement on the budget, the U.S. government shutdown for the first time since 1995.

Despite opposition from conservatives, the new Health Insurance Marketplace opened and millions of uninsured Americans visited healthcare.gov to learn how they might get insurance coverage.

And the Guttmacher Institute released a terrific new video about the importance of Federal Title X Funding for Family Planning services.

Here are five reasons why I believe this new video is very much worth watching all the way through and sharing widely.
Continue reading

EC — Over the Counter, For You & Me

Good news!

Yesterday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order denying the federal government’s request to stay a U.S. District Court judge’s decision to make emergency contraception(EC) available over the counter, without age restrictions. 

What this means for you and me — our sisters, daughters, friends, etc… — is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has to comply with a previous court order and allow emergency contraception such as Plan B to be sold on store shelves, just like aspirin and other over-the-counter medications.

Why is this such good news?
Continue reading

Increasing Health Coverage for Maine Women & Families

Understanding the many different components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) can be a daunting task. This week, I’d like to share some important information about federal funds for expanding health coverage.

Thankfully, the Maine Center for Economic Policy and Maine Equal Justice Partners have thoroughly researched this topic and recently published a report on the impact for Maine of accepting federal dollars for health coverage.

The report concludes that:

Maine has an opportunity to cover more people and save millions of dollars currently spent to treat uninsured people in emergency rooms. We can do this by accepting federal dollars to provide health coverage to approximately 69,500 uninsured Mainers. This decision is in the hands of Maine’s legislature and governor. It will have important consequences for Maine’s economy and people.

I encourage you to read the full report. In the meantime, here are some of the main points. Continue reading

Exposed — The 5 Most Common Lies about Abortion

We see it all the time, right outside the gates of our Augusta health center.

Anti-choice protesters spend enormous amounts of time and energy spreading lies about abortion care services. At the FPA, we prefer to focus on the truth — backed up by decades of research in the field.

Here’s the truth about five of the most common lies about abortion. Continue reading

My Mom, the Abortion Care Nurse

Our guest blogger reflects on having a mother who works as an abortion care nurse.

My mother didn’t always provide abortion care.

For decades, she was a nurse at the local hospital, providing care in both the Pediatric and Labor & Delivery units.  She dressed in kid-friendly scrubs, covered with happy cartoon animals and bright splashes of color. She would often bring home crayon drawings that her young patients made for her.

At home, my mom maintained an extensive collection of first aid goodies. Anytime there was a bee-sting, bloody knee, tummy bug or sore throat, my dad would exclaim “Call the nurse!”– and there would be my mom, with her tool box of ointments, syrups, bandages, and instruments to really, truly make it better.  That woman would make you a gingerale-slushy and a couch-bed that could make any flu bearable.

This woman was a soother of sick kids, a comfort to new moms and a support to families in true need of help and encouragement.  She loved working with those kids and she adored caring for newborns and their moms.  When she left her job at the hospital and, just a few years later, began working as an abortion care nurse, I wondered.  Huh, I thought– what a stark contrast to what she was doing before. But I was wrong. Continue reading