prenatal care

Community Summit Focuses On Women’s Health

Sep 9, 2019
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There’s a summit next week in Orlando on how women’s health and well-being affect mental health. 

As she leaves a 12-hour-day on the labor and delivery shift, Dr. Katie Merriam turns off her pager.

"I don't know what I'd do without it, you know? It's another limb. I always know where it is," she says, laughing.

The third-year resident in obstetrics and gynecology at the Carolinas Medical Center hospital in Charlotte, N.C., works in a medical specialty dominated by women, treating women. Merriam says she feels a special connection to her patients.

When Allison Matthews was pregnant with her first child four years ago, her obstetrics clinic scheduled frequent appointments to make sure everything was proceeding normally.

"I was taking time off work and it wasn't doing a lot for me," says Matthews, who was considered at low risk for complications like pregnancy-related high blood pressure, also known as preeclampsia. "I kind of felt like I was almost doing it more for the clinic's benefit than for myself."

Health care companies struggling to do business in Florida led the most talked-about news of 2015 here at Health News Florida.

WMFE

There is a seven-county stretch in North Central Florida -- an area larger than Puerto Rico -- where every county health department has gotten out of prenatal care.

Since then, the rate of women getting in to see a doctor in the first trimester has dropped in all seven  counties.

WMFE

The Florida Department of Health wants Sarasota County to privatize its prenatal care in the next three years. And that has its southern neighbors worried – after all, when Charlotte County privatized health care, residents started leaving the county for care.

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Florida is one of only three states where county public health departments employ obstetricians for pregnant women.

It’s a legacy of the 1990s, when Florida’s infant mortality rate was one of the worst in the nation. But this safety net is eroding.

Hands the size of quarters and weighing only 1 pound, a baby born about three months early aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean is expected to live.

A Utah couple, Chase and Emily Morgan, were on a seven-day Royal Caribbean cruise with their 3-year-old daughter earlier this month. What was supposed to be a relaxing vacation to celebrate their daughter's birthday quickly turned into a nightmare when Morgan went into early labor on the family's second night aboard.

Morgan's due date wasn't until Dec. 19, but her son Haiden had other plans.

Across the state last year, five babies were born infected with HIV out of 457 who were exposed to the virus during pregnancy, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. Public health officials are troubled, because they say maternal transmission is preventable if the infection is caught early in pregnancy.