Reproductive Health

Reproductive health problems remain a leading cause of illness and death for women, particularly in developing countries. A leading cause of maternal death is lack of access to health services and prenatal care. Health begins with accurate and comprehensive sex education during adolescence – education that needs to continue throughout adulthood. Researchers in our network are currently working to disseminate evidence-based information and increase access to the full range of reproductive health services so that women can lead healthy and productive lives. Studies have demonstrated the advantages of comprehensive sex education compared with abstinence-only or other programs in preventing teen pregnancy, raising the age of initial sexual activity and lowering rates of sexually transmitted disease. More effort is needed to address the health needs of marginalized populations, particularly immigrant women, who are less likely to seek pre-natal and preventive screenings and care.

Estimated Pregnancy Rates and Rates of Pregnancy Outcomes for the United States, 1990–2008

Objectives—This report presents detailed pregnancy rates for 1990–2008, updating a national series of rates extending since 1976.

Methods—Tabular and graphical data on pregnancy rates by age,race, and Hispanic origin, and by marital status are presented and described.


Variation in Service Delivery Practices Among Clinics Providing Publicly Funded Family Planning Services in 2010

A new nationally representative survey from the Guttmacher Institute shows that the national network of publicly funded family planning clinics—which helps millions of women avoid unintended pregnancies and plan the timing of wanted pregnancies—gives women vital access to contraceptive and other preventive care, according to "Variation in Service Delivery Practices Among Clinics Providing Publicly Funded Family Planning Services in 2010," by Jennifer Frostet al. More than half of publicly funded clinics (54%) reported offering their clients at least 10 of 13 reversible contraceptive methods in 2010, an increase from 35% in 2003. Many offer on-site provision of the most widely used contraceptives and have implemented protocols to make it easier for women to initiate and continue use of their chosen method.


Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2010

New maternal mortality estimates confirm that the number of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth is declining. Along with other indicators, this joint U.N. report validates the fact that we are making progress in saving mothers’ lives, even if progress is slower than what is called for by the Millennium Development Goals.

Rapid progress in some countries demonstrates that when governments take a strategic approach to the safe motherhood challenge -- by deploying trained midwives, ensuring adequate essential supplies, making family planning accessible and providing timely obstetric care to women with complications, we are getting results. Still, there is more work to be done in delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted and every childbirth is safe.


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