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Researcher: Military should reassess reproductive health care for women
Date:11/14/2012

Noting that active-duty servicewomen have higher rates of unintended pregnancy than the general population and lower reported contraception use, one researcher at Women & Infants Hospital is suggesting the answer might be a review of the health care offered to females in the military and veterans.

Vinita Goyal, MD, MPH, published the study "Unintended pregnancy and contraception among active-duty servicewomen and veterans" in a recent issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. As part of her research, conducted in cooperation with the Veteran's Administration (VA) Hospital in Providence, she studied the reproductive health care available to American military women domestically and abroad, rules in the military that may preclude women from seeking contraception, and the results of unintended pregnancy on the military and the lives of military women.

"Because of its potentially high burden for military women as well as the impact on military operations, prevention of unintended pregnancy is one reproductive health issue of particular importance," Dr. Goyal said. "For the women, who face barriers to early prenatal care and abortion services in the military, unwanted pregnancy restricts their career achievement potential and limits their earning capacity."

The numbers of women in the military has soared in the last few decades. Today, women make up 20% of new military recruits, 15% of active-duty military personnel, and 17% of reserve and National Guard forces. Almost all of these women are of child-bearing age. Studies included in Dr. Goyal's review indicate that reproductive health services available to military women can be improved upon.

"Health care providers within the community, as well as those in the Department of Defense (DOD) and VA, need to be aware of the reproductive health needs of this population," she said, adding that this includes contraception services domestically and abroad because ma
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Contact: Susan McDonald
slmcdonald@wihri.org
401-681-2816
Women & Infants Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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