Third placement: Antenatal Clinic

This placement is where my reflective journal habit went out the window a little so I apologise if this is a little more vague than my previous placement posts!

 

I had two weeks on antenatal clinic and I adored it. Every woman is different but because of the amount of people I saw on ANC it seemed like it was an incredibly varied experience.

I observed booking appointments, tests for gestational diabetes, the diabetic clinic, ultrasounds, and the local clinics for checkups. I sat in with the doctors for the local clinics and saw women at a variety of gestations with a huge range of different needs.

I also got the chance to go to the gynae clinics and see other aspects of reproductive health that midwives probably don’t regularly deal with. But everything – from painful periods as a young adult, PCOS investigations at age thirty, and searching for the right way to manage incontinence in later life – it either impacts or is a result of pregnancy. So it was really great to sit in on those appointments and get more of a holistic view of reproductive health outside of pregnancy.

 

My favourite aspect was probably the local clinics. I loved that the hospital made care more accessible to families by sending us out to their areas. It was also a great way to practice my clinical skills – I had the vital signs and urinalysis learned down fairly well by the end of the two weeks! It was interesting to see all these families come in, all with different stories and different sized bumps, and I really enjoyed looking after them even just for a few minutes.

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So that’s my antenatal clinic experience as a first year. I really enjoyed it, I loved the variety of care, and the lovely atmosphere that the staff made for each other and for the families we looked after. Keep an eye put for my post on what was in my pocket for this placement coming soon.

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PINKOUT: I stand with Planned Parenthood

Today, March 29, is a Planned Parenthood day of action called #PinkOut. I actually only realised slightly late in the day (I’m researching and writing in a bit of a panic!) but it’s a great opportunity to talk about some of the reasons that Planned Parenthood is so important for women and men alike.

So let’s start with that. I think there’s an idea out there that Planned Parenthood serves women (primarily women accessing abortion services). Wrong! While 1 in 5 women visit during their lifetime (there was no similar statistic on men), PP offers a huge variety of health services to women and men – 2.5 million per year across the US according to their website.

But what are the services? It’s mainly prevention of unintended pregnancies – hormonal control like the pill or IUDs, condoms, and vasectomies. PP services prevent about 579,000 pregnancies per year. Not to mention all the STI testing and treatment they provide – 4.2 million per year. HIV tests alone account for 650,000 of that number.

And then there’s the health screenings. Planned Parenthood carries out 270,000 Pap tests a year, and 360,000 breast exams. Planned Parenthood does a lot of the work in catching cancer early. As well as this, PP carries out a lot of general health work including cholesterol tests, diabetes screening, administering flu vaccines, helping people to quit smoking, and basic physical exams.

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But what about the abortions?

Abortions come to about 3% of Planned Parenthood’s work. That little 3% might be because they do so much for education in sexual and reproductive health, reaching 1.5 million kids and adults every year. That number in particular makes me giddy with happiness. Sexual and reproductive education is SO important, and it’s something I’m passionate about. Once the eighth has been repealed here in Ireland, my activist mode does not turn off. It switches straight to clear, factual, and broad (as in not hetero-normative) education.

So what is this whole #PinkOut craic? Basically, they want the internet pinked out to show the US government that people stand with Planned Parenthood, people need Planned Parenthood, and people are better for Planned Parenthood being in the world (they actually do a lot of global good by being a member of the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, like our own lovely IFPA).

There has been a lot of talk about “defunding” PP over the years, and it’s been a real fear since Trump was elected. However an attempt to do so was blocked quite recently. But the threat to Planned Parenthood remains. Planned Parenthood want Congress to realise that defunding will never happen (75% of Americans oppose defunding), and to hear the big pink message “do not block access to care at Planned Parenthood. Not now. Not ever.” ❀