I always knew my mom was sick. I knew she went to the doctor a lot, sometimes multiple times a week, and that every day, she took pills from the orange bottles that lined our kitchen cabinet. But until she died in 2009, I assumed my mom’s frequent visits to the ER and our family doctor were par for the course for someone with Addison’s disease, a rare adrenal gland disorder.
If you’ve ever lit a scented candle to relax or soaked in a lavender bubble bath, you’re already familiar with the power that smell can hold over mood. Of all five senses, it’s the one most closely linked to emotion and memory — likely, scientists think, because the brain’s olfactory processing center is so close to the regions in charge of those other two functions.
Nearly one in seven pregnant women will experience a miscarriage. Far less common is the experience of recurrent miscarriage, defined by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine as the involuntary loss of two or more pregnancies before 20 weeks.
I had my first panic attack when I was 9 years old. One minute, I was in music class, belting out “Camptown Races.” Then, in less time than it took to sing “all the doo-dah day,” nausea and weakness swept over my body. With sweaty palms and trembling legs, I asked my teacher if I could go to the school nurse. Within 30 minutes, my mom showed up and carted me to the local emergency room, where an ER doctor suggested I see a therapist for anxiety.
I remember the day I decided not to go back to work. I was in the bathtub with my eight-week-old son, who was still nursing around the clock. Barely adjusted to the new emotional and physical demands of motherhood, I couldn’t dream up a world where I had the energy to drop my baby at day care, work all day, then stay up most of the night taking care of him.
Last month, comedian Amy Schumer canceled her comedy tour due to complications with hyperemesis gravidarum. The 37-year-old actress, who announced her pregnancy in October, has been public about her struggle with HG, a condition characterized by severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (which Kate Middleton has also experienced in her pregnancies).
After she returned from maternity leave, NYPD officer Simone Teagle says she faced backlash from coworkers every time she took a break to pump breast milk. To avoid criticism and unsanitary pumping conditions — Teagle says she was forced to pump in the bathroom or a dirty women’s locker room — she only pumped when her breasts became unbearably full.
There’s a picture of my mom on her wedding day, her belly swollen and round beneath a navy blue, floral maternity dress. I imagine her standing at the makeshift altar in my grandparents’ backyard as if it were a threshold in time — her marriage a trap door out of the trauma that had defined most of her life up to that point.
We’re living in a historic time for women and women’s rights, and healthcare is no exception. In response to shifting clinical guidelines, research discoveries and medical advancements, along with socio-cultural issues like the #MeToo movement, here’s what five practitioners had to say about the biggest changes they’re seeing in women’s healthcare.
Sexual violence affects around 300,000 Americans each year — that’s one sexual assault every 98 seconds. Still, as pervasive as sexual violence is, statistics show the majority of these crimes remain unreported — and the vast majority of perpetrators don’t face jail time.