Pregnant women and parents alike are often asked, “Do you want to be pregnant?” and many women choose not to answer the question, which has become so ingrained in the culture that it is almost as if the answer is never asked.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and American Medical Association (AMA) both classify “pregnancy” as the state of being able to carry a baby and hashed out guidelines on what constitutes pregnancy.
Yet, while these guidelines are good in theory, they have very little effect when it comes to the reality of the practice of pregnancy care, a situation that is exacerbated by the fact that most of the women and their partners don’t know the difference between pregnancy and birth control, let alone know how to use it.
In fact, there is only one pregnancy test, a vaginal ring, and a couple of procedures to determine if a woman is pregnant or not.
And while the American College has made a concerted effort to educate the public about the concept of pregnancy, it has done so in such a way as to minimize the impact of its guidance.
The American College is a nonprofit that provides education to its members, including doctors and nurses, in order to help them improve their patient care, and in recent years, has become the most prominent organization to advocate for access to contraception.
Pregnancy is an important issue, and ACOG is aware that a large number of women will not be able to get the tests, but the organization is not alone in being reluctant to help those who might be hesitant to ask for information.
“The whole idea is to make sure women know they can ask for the information,” says Amy Linn, an OBGYN in Washington, DC, who is also the author of “How to Ask the Questions About Pregnancy.”
“We want them to be able not only to ask but to have an accurate answer,” Linn says.
She points out that while there is a range of tests that can be used to diagnose a pregnancy, the ACOG doesn’t have a test that can tell women if they are pregnant, let along whether they want to have a baby.
Linn says that because the guidelines don’t explicitly state whether a woman needs to ask, some women are reluctant to ask.
“[Women] are going to ask because they are unsure about whether or not they want [to be pregnant],” she says.
“They are not going to go out and have a conversation with a friend, because they don’t trust what they are going through to ask.”
In an attempt to address these concerns, ACOG has launched an education campaign called “Pregnancy and Birth Control: The Truth About Pregime” to help educate women about the options and to promote better communication with their partners.
This campaign, which is in its second phase, is designed to reach more women than the first, but it’s still far from being fully effective.
At a recent meeting of the National Pregnancy Advisory Council, a group of obstetricians, gynecologists, and community health specialists, ACUG director Dr. Patricia Stapleton said that she hoped that the campaign would help to improve access to reproductive health care, but also that the organization would work with local health departments to educate women.
Stapleton hopes that the “pregime-awareness” campaign will help educate the local health department to provide more resources to pregnant women and families.
Dr. James McQuinn, the president of the Center for Reproductive Health at Emory University, has also seen that some women don’t think it’s necessary to ask about contraception.
In an interview with The Huffington Pregnancy, he said that “in the current climate, I think the [pregame-awareness] campaign is going to do a little bit of good” in educating women, but added that he also believes that “the campaign should also include a discussion about the risks of pregnancy and the dangers of contraception.”
Straying from the ACUG guidelines is also problematic.
Some ACUG members have expressed concern that the guidelines do not address the many different types of birth control that exist, including the hormonal contraceptives that are often used to prevent pregnancy and that are used by some women for longer than a month.
One OBGYT, Dr. Jill E. Smith, told The Huffington Press that while she would “never, ever” use birth control to prevent a pregnancy and also thinks that it’s a “really poor approach” for a woman to ask a man to use contraception, she thinks that “it would be better if [the guidelines] were written so that women knew they could ask questions about contraception.”
Dr. Amy R. Visconti, an obstetrician-gynecologist at University Medical Center in San Francisco, believes that a comprehensive discussion of the use of birth