Health Matters for Women - April 2022

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April 2022 

New from CDC

Working Together to Reduce Black Maternal Mortality

Black Maternal Health Week is recognized each year from April 11-17 to bring attention and action to improving Black maternal health. Learn how everyone can play a role in working to prevent pregnancy-related deaths and improving maternal health outcomes.

Medical Follow-Up Received by Women With Blood Pressure Alerts in the WISEWOMAN Program by Race and Ethnicity, 2014-2018

Immediate reduction in blood pressure (BP) is necessary for a person with dangerously high BP to prevent injuries related to heart disease and stroke. In this study, differences in the prevalence of hypertension and dangerously high BP and the distribution of medical follow-ups were examined by race and ethnicity among participants in the Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for WOMen Across the Nation (WISEWOMAN) program.

Participation in Survey Research Among Mothers With a Recent Live Birth: A Comparison of Mothers With Living Versus Deceased Infants − Findings From the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, 2016–2019

Despite high infant mortality rates in the United States relative to other developed countries, little is known about survey participation among mothers of deceased infants. The purpose of this study was to assess differences in survey response, contact, and cooperation rates for mothers of deceased versus living infants, overall and by select maternal and infant characteristics.

Comparable Pregnancy Outcomes for HIV-Uninfected and HIV-Infected Women on Antiretroviral Treatment in Kenya

The impact of HIV on pregnancy outcomes for women on antiretroviral therapy in sub-Saharan Africa remains unclear. In this study, pregnant women in Kenya were enrolled in the second trimester and followed until childbirth. The study estimated effects of treated HIV with three pregnancy outcomes: loss, premature birth, and low birthweight and factors associated with HIV-positive status.

Do Medication Prescription Patterns Follow Guidelines in a Cohort of Women with Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome?

This study describes prescription prevalence of oral bladder pain medications among women with interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome and compares it with current treatment guidelines.

Rapid Population-Based Surveillance of Prenatal and Postpartum Experiences During Public Health Emergencies, Puerto Rico, 2016‒2018

The Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System–Zika Postpartum Emergency Response (PRAMS-ZPER) study, implemented in Puerto Rico during the Zika virus outbreak and after Hurricanes Irma and María, collected pregnancy-related data using postpartum hospital-based surveys and telephone follow-up surveys. This study describes the PRAMS-ZPER study methodology, which may be leveraged to rapidly respond to public health emergencies that affect maternal‒infant health.

Is Maternal Employment Site a Source of Exposure Misclassification in Studies of Environmental Exposures and Birth Outcomes? A Simulation-Based Bias Analysis of Haloacetic Acids in Tap Water and Hypospadias

In population research, exposure to environmental contaminants is often indirectly assessed by linking residence to geocoded databases of environmental exposures. This study explored the potential for misclassification of residence-based environmental exposure as a result of not accounting for the workplace environments of employed pregnant women. This study examined data from a prior analysis of drinking water disinfection by-products and birth outcomes using the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, a large, multi-site case-control study.

Changes in Cervical Cytology Results and Human Papillomavirus Types Among Persons Screened for Cervical Cancer, 2007 and 2015-2017

Since 2006, the US human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program has led to decreases in HPV infections caused by high-risk vaccine-targeted HPV types. This study assessed differences in high-risk HPV prevalence by cervical cytology result among 20- to 24-year-old persons participating in routine cervical cancer screening in 2015-2017 compared with 2007.

Pregnancy Urinary Concentration of Bisphenol A, Parabens and Other Phenols in Relation to Serum Levels of Lipid Biomarkers: Results From the EARTH Study

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are exogenous chemicals, or mixtures of chemicals, that may interfere with any aspect of hormone action. Specifically, phenols, such as bisphenols, benzophenones, triclosan and parabens, are widely used in food packaging materials, personal care products, and numerous other consumer products. This study examined whether urinary concentrations of phenol and phenol replacement biomarkers were associated with serum lipid levels among women who attended a fertility center and got pregnant using fertility treatments as well as naturally without medical treatments.

Diagnosis and Management of Bacterial Vaginosis: Summary of Evidence Reviewed for the 2021 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Sexually Transmitted Infections Treatment Guidelines

In preparation for the 2021 CDC sexually transmitted infections (STIs) treatment guidelines, CDC convened an advisory group in 2019 to examine recent literature addressing updates in the epidemiology, diagnosis, and management of STIs. This article summarizes recent data in each of these key topic areas as they pertain to bacterial vaginosis, the most common cause of vaginal discharge.

Summary of Neonatal and Maternal Transport and Reimbursement Policies—A 5-year Update

Risk-appropriate care is a coordinated, tiered system designed to ensure that obstetric and neonatal patients are provided care in facilities with the most appropriate equipment and staff that can best meet their health care needs. A critical component of risk-appropriate care is neonatal and maternal transport. This study examines the number of states with neonatal and maternal transport and reimbursement policies in 2019, compared with 2014. 

Efficiency of Transplacental Transfer of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Specific Antibodies Among Pregnant Women in Kenya

Maternal immunization to boost RSV antibodies in pregnant women is a strategy being considered to enhance infant protection from severe RSV associated disease. However, little is known about the efficiency of transplacental transfer of RSV-specific antibodies in a setting with a high burden of malaria and HIV. In this study, we describe the efficiency of transplacental transfer of RSV-specific antibodies among pregnant women in Kenya using cord-maternal blood sample pairs.

Physiologically Based Serum Ferritin Thresholds for Iron Deficiency in Women of Reproductive Age Who Are Blood Donors

Serum ferritin concentrations are a good indicator of iron stores. The current World Health Organization threshold of a serum ferritin of <15 µg/L for iron deficiency in women is based on expert opinion. The objective of this study was to develop a physiologically based method to determine serum ferritin thresholds for iron deficiency in women of reproductive age.

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances and Incident Diabetes in Midlife Women: The Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN)

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are ubiquitous, synthetic compounds used in industrial and consumer applications. This study examined the association between serum PFAS concentrations and incident diabetes in the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation Multi-Pollutant Study (SWAN-MPS), a multi-site, multi-ethnic prospective cohort study of mid-life women in the US.

Sustaining Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination in Countries That Have Been Validated for Elimination — Progress and Challenges

As of October 2021, 47 (80%) of the 59 countries identified at highest risk for Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus (MNT), had been validated for elimination. This study assessed sustainability of MNT elimination in 28 countries that were validated during 2011‒2020.

Invasive Group A Streptococcal Disease in Pregnant Women and Young Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

The incidence of invasive disease caused by group A streptococcus (GAS) has increased in multiple countries in the past 15 years. This study estimated the incidence of invasive GAS disease, including death and disability outcomes, among two high-risk groups — pregnant women and children younger than 5 years.

Associations Between Mobility, Food Insecurity, and Transactional Sex Among Women in Cohabitating Partnerships: An Analysis From Six African Countries 2016-2017

Mobile women are at risk of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa. This study evaluated the association between women's and their partner's mobility and transactional sex with household food insecurity using population-based HIV impact assessments conducted in Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Influenza Vaccination During Pregnancy and Risk of Selected Major Structural Non-Cardiac Birth Defects, National Birth Defects Prevention Study 2006-2011

Pregnant women and infants are at increased risk of morbidity and mortality from influenza infections. The purpose of this study was to assess associations between influenza vaccination during the first trimester and selected major structural non-cardiac birth defects.

Measles Immunity Gap Among Reproductive-Age Women Participating in a Simulated HIV Vaccine Efficacy Trial in Zambia

Measles is a vaccine-preventable viral disease whose vaccination coverage remains low in Zambia. This study analyzed data from a simulated HIV vaccine efficacy trial conducted among adult Zambian women of childbearing age to determine measles antibody seroprevalence before and after vaccination with the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.

COVID-19 Impact on Women

Recurrent SARS-CoV-2 RNA Detection after COVID-19 Illness Onset During Pregnancy

Detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA in respiratory specimens that recurs over extended time intervals might indicate viral RNA persistence, continued viral replication, reinfection, or sample testing error. The objective of this study was to describe demographic and clinical characteristics overall and by recurrent test-positive status in a convenience sample of pregnant persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection. 

Multiple reports have described neonatal SARS-CoV-2 infection, including likely in utero transmission and early postnatal infection, but published estimates of neonatal infection range by geography and design type. The objective of this study was to describe maternal, pregnancy, and neonatal characteristics among neonates born to people with SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy by neonatal SARS-CoV-2 testing results.

Pregnant people infected with SARS-CoV-2 are at increased risk for severe illness and death compared with nonpregnant people. However, population-based information comparing characteristics of people with and without laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy is limited. The study compared the characteristics of people with and without SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy in Massachusetts.

Structural racism and pandemic-related stress from the COVID-19 pandemic may increase risk of adverse birth outcomes. The primary objective of this study was to examine associations between neighborhood measures of structural racism and pandemic stress with three outcomes: SARS-CoV-2 infection, preterm birth, and delivering a newborn small-for-gestational-age. 

Booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines were recommended for people aged 18 years or older in November 2021. However, data on receipt of booster doses among pregnant individuals are lacking. This study presents findings on receipt of booster doses among pregnant individuals in the Vaccine Safety Datalink, a collaboration between CDC’s Immunization Safety Office and nine integrated health care organizations.


Health Observances, May 2022

American Stroke Month
Lupus Awareness Month
National Arthritis Awareness Month
National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month
National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month
Preeclampsia Awareness Month
5/8 – 5/14 National Women’s Health Week
5/9 National Women’s Check-Up Day
5/12 Fibromyalgia Awareness Day
5/31 World No Tobacco Day

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