Category Archives: Women’s Health

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

Good News ~ Bad News: Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

Another year has drawn to a close and we’ve got a brand new year ahead of us. It’s the perfect time to take stock of where we’re been and where we’re headed in the world of reproductive health and rights in the U.S. and here in Maine.

Here’s a piece of good news from 2013: a major study published this year showed that intrauterine devices (IUDs) are safe for teens and there’s no reason to deny them this option. This is a great affirmation of the work of the FPA, where we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of patients getting IUDs and other long-acting, reversible contraceptives at our health centers.

Increased use of IUDs is one of the major reasons for this other bit of good news from the past year: across the country, teen pregnancy rates reached historic lows (again!).

And that’s great! Because access to family planning contraceptive services is linked to all sorts of positive outcomes, including higher incomes later in life.

All of this makes us wonder why, despite the proven value of birth control, certain groups of people keep trying to prevent access to contraceptive care for women and teens.

Consider the following… 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

Healthy Kids. Happy Parents. Thanks Birth Control!

99% of adults have used birth control.

It’s that common because it’s that wonderful and it makes so much else in our lives possible.

Which gets us thinking: during this season of giving thanks, and with so many of us having used contraception at some point in our lives, what if we all took a moment to share why WE are thankful for contraception?  (Turkey and awkward holiday conversation with your uncle Jim not required.)

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and Bedsider (link) are challenging people all over the country to have an open, honest conversation about birth control and to speak positively about what birth control makes possible for our society. After all, says National Campaign CEO Sarah Brown, “if we can’t talk about contraception, how can we expect people to be comfortable using it?”

So, in the spirit of saying thanks for all that birth control has done for us, please join us TODAY, November 12TH, in sharing why we are thankful for contraception!
You can share a picture, note, or even a video on our Facebook page and use the hashtag #thxbirthcontrol in your message.

Need some help getting started?  Check out this great video, share one of Bedsider’s #thxbirthcontrol postcards, or search the #thxbirthcontrol hashtag on Facebook to see what others have to say!

Here’s what some of our friends had to say: 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

Obamacare and You — Understanding the Affordable Care Act

Visit Healthcare.gov for answers

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law. The law creates major changes in how health insurance coverage works in the U.S. and who has access to insurance coverage.

The law is complex and has many different components that are being rolled out over the course of four years… and beyond.

Here at the FPA, we’re working to stay up-to-date and to fully understand the ACA so we can pass that information along to our patients, friends and supporters.

Like these important changes for women: Continue reading

Abortion in Maine — Protecting Access to a Safe, Legal Procedure

This week, we feature testimony given at a Judiciary Committee hearing regarding LD 1339 and LD 760 – bills that would restrict access to abortion in Maine.

These bills will come up for a vote this week, please call your legislators and ask them to reject any further restrictions to abortion services.

My name is Ruth Lockhart and I am Executive Director and Co-Founder of Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center in Bangor. We are one of only three public centers where a woman seeking an abortion in Maine can go.

I’m going to share with you how abortion care works at Mabel Wadsworth Center to dispel any myths or misconceptions about how are abortions are provided for women in Aroostook, Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Waldo and Washington counties. 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