Office on Women's Health Blog
Motherhood is full of choices, and one of the first decisions to make is how you're going to feed your baby. The choice between breastfeeding and formula feeding is a personal one. My choice was to breastfeed, and I quickly learned why they call breastfeeding a journey.
Although Amanda Waddle comes heavily padded when she takes to the ice for her hockey league, that doesn't mean she can't get hurt. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Amanda was one of the more than 3 million young adults who were able to be covered by their parents' health insurance plans. But when she aged off her parent's plan on her 26th birthday last November, going without coverage wasn't an option she was willing to consider.
Breastfeeding mothers need support from employers to continue breastfeeding after returning to work. Pumping at work allows moms to give their best to their baby without jeopardizing their jobs. Businesses benefit, too: Breastfed babies are healthier, meaning lower health care costs for employers and fewer days out for moms. Allowing pumping at work also decreases turnover rates and increases employee productivity and loyalty. This was true for Rebecca Flores, a mother of two. Unable to breastfeed her first child for very long, she knew she wanted to prioritize breastfeeding with her second child. To succeed, she'd need to pump at work, but as an hourly worker in a department store, she wasn't sure about her options. Thanks to the federal Break Time for Nursing Mothers law, Rebecca's employer was required to provide time and a place, other than a bathroom, for her to pump. Read our interview with Rebecca to learn how her employer met her needs, enabling Rebecca to continue breastfeeding her child after going back to work.
Despite the perception that breast cancer is only something older women need to worry about, young women can and do get breast cancer. I myself was a young woman at high risk, but didn't know it. Just months after a clean mammogram, in late 2007, I heard those terrible words, "You have breast cancer".
Stefania Fochi works with heavy machinery every day at her family's empanada and pasta business. Having almost caught her hand in a 2,000-pound kneader and without health insurance, she's had to ask herself — more than once — "If I had to go to the emergency room, what would I do?"
Why is health insurance important? It protects you from paying a lot if you get sick or hurt. Plus, most private plans cover preventive services that help you stay healthy in the long run, like annual checkups and blood pressure screenings — all at no extra cost to you. Stefania Fochi wanted insurance for her peace of mind. She lived without insurance for four years and was nervous every day that she worked with heavy machinery in her family's business. What if something happened? Would getting sick or injured bankrupt her or her family? That's why she signed up for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Read our interview with Stefania to learn how the Marketplace not only helped her find coverage that fits her needs and budget, but allowed her to follow her dreams.
Despite an encouraging decrease in new HIV infections among black women (21 percent between 2008 and 2010), if the current trend continues, 1 in 32 black women will be infected with HIV in their lifetimes.
Did you know that half of pregnancies in the U.S. are not planned? And did you know that planned pregnancies are better for mothers' and infants' health? That's why the U.S. Office of Population Affairs and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released formal recommendations on family planning services. I spoke with Susan B. Moskosky, acting director of the Office of Population Affairs, to learn more about quality family planning and why it matters.