Women's health stories

Lockdown pregnancies creating a 'shadow pandemic' of complications

Reproductive health and abortion providers say they are preparing for a 'shadow pandemic' following a wave of unintended pregnancies during the world's lockdowns. A heavily pregnant 19-year-old with high blood pressure lost her baby and went partially blind after she was turned away from a Port Moresby hospital in April, as the hospital had no temperature-testing facilities to confirm she was not carrying COVID-19.

Mesh-injured women win in the courts and Senate yet still wait for compensation

Women injured in vaginal mesh procedures have won a class action against Johnson & Johnson, but as the case drags on to an appeal, they are still waiting for compensation. When more than 1300 women with pelvic mesh devices won a seven-year legal battle against Johnson & Johnson in November, the judgement was so lengthy that one Federal Court staffer remarked they’d “need a forklift” to carry the printed version.

The fight for reproductive rights isn’t over in Australia until there’s equity in access

Abortion may be disappearing from criminal codes across Australia, but a lack of access to providers means the fight is far from over. You can see how long these battles have taken in the faces of the women who were on the front line. A few days before abortion was decriminalised in Queensland in October 2018, Beryl Holmes stood, supported by a cane, on the steps outside state parliament house for a rally in support of the bill. She had been fighting for this for almost 50 years. In the 1970s

These Women Are The Faces Of Australia’s Essential Workforce

Jocelyn Hoffman has stopped seeing her loved ones and spends her time reassuring patient’s families that their loved ones are okay. Hoffman is a registered nurse working at a NSW aged care facility, where she says patients are anxious about contracting COVID-19 and staff are anxious about infecting them. “After work we have to make sure we don’t compromise the health of our families by taking it home and at work we have to make sure we don’t compromise the health of our patients,” she said.

A Supplier Refused To Fill A Face Mask Order For An Australian Abortion Provider Because They're For "Health Professionals"

Australia's largest abortion provider says its supply of face masks and hand sanitiser for carrying out surgical abortions will only last two more weeks after a number of orders from private personal protective equipment (PPE) providers were cancelled or refused in the coronavirus pandemic. In one instance, a private company cancelled an order from Marie Stopes Australia (MSA) on the basis it was reserving supplies for "health professionals". The Australian government has also refused to suppl

Lots Of New Parents Are Seeking Mental Health Help As They Deal With Social Isolation And A Baby

There has been a 20% surge in callers to national Australian support group Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) as families grapple with social isolation in the new coronavirus pandemic. The helpline, which is now sourcing retired volunteers to meet current demand, is a “live thermometer” for how parents across Australia are coping, according to its chief executive Julie Borninkhof. "We have seen a significant increase in the number of new and expecting mums and dads across Aus

Women Who Feel Ignored By Their Doctors Are Turning To An Instagram Tea Released By A Model

Sydney model agency owner Brigitte Warne’s health rapidly deteriorated after she came off the oral contraceptive pill to start a family. She developed cystic acne, her hair began falling out, and “vicious cycles of severe anxiety” made her withdraw from her friends and family. Doctors gave her antibiotics for her skin, but it took crying and pleading until the fourth doctor she asked agreed to run tests. “We did a full hormone test and my testosterone levels were actually off the scale,” she sai

Women In Cambodia Are Using Facebook Messenger To Access Abortions And Sexual Health Advice

J, who lives in Cambodia’s southern province of Takeo, wasn’t sure who to turn to for advice on her unplanned pregnancy. She couldn’t afford to have another child, and knew she wanted an abortion. “I felt afraid to discuss it with my family but I told my sister,” she told BuzzFeed News through an interpreter. “My husband supported my decision because our baby is one year and five months old, so we spend a lot of money already.”

Australian Doctors Can Already Turn Away Women Seeking Contraception Or An Abortion. What Will The Religious Discrimination Bill Do?

Doctors in Australia can already object on religious grounds to providing contraception and abortion. In fact, several doctors have signs in their offices outlining that they will not see patients about contraception, abortion, sterilisation or in-vitro fertilisation. Religious hospitals, too, can turn away patients with these needs. But that hasn’t stopped the government moving forward with its religious discrimination bill.

Kids Have Spent Weeks On End Indoors To Avoid Smoke During Australia's Bushfire Crisis

Freya Bundey, her partner and their six-month-old twins have spent the summer holidays dodging fire and smoke. “Life is challenging with twins and this summer made it really hard,” the 30-year-old told BuzzFeed News. “It was really difficult not being able to leave the house and being cooped up, and that is really hard for small babies that are just starting to explore the world.” Bundey spent the end of December helping her mother pack up her childhood home in Kangaroo Valley in the Shoalhave

Pregnant Women Are Asking For Inducements And Extra Ultrasounds Because Of The Bushfires

Kai Hodgkin is a midwife in Canberra, where the air has become some of the most polluted in the world during Australia’s ongoing catastrophic bushfire season. Staff at the hospital where she works have this week been wearing face masks indoors, to protect themselves against the smoke creeping into the wards and even into birthing suites. “We were giving masks to everyone who has left us and sending these brand new parents and babies out into the smoke,” Hodgkin told BuzzFeed News.

Babies Are Being Born In Smoky Delivery Rooms As Australia Burns

A couple of hours into the new decade, while many people were stumbling home to bed after celebrating New Year's Eve, Dr Steve Robson was driving through a "smoky hell" to a Canberra hospital to deliver a baby. "I had the little spotlight that you use to look at things and it went through the smoke and we all realised that in this birth suite, this baby was born into bushfire smoke," the obstetrician told BuzzFeed News.

These Signs Show Doctors Can Already Refuse To See Women Wanting The Pill Or An Abortion In Australia

The Australian government is pushing ahead with its proposed religious discrimination laws, and doctors and lawyers are concerned the legislation could allow practitioners to deny or delay medical care when it comes to reproductive health. But as signs in GP's offices provided to BuzzFeed News show, doctors are already refusing reproductive healthcare under the current guidelines, before a patient has even walked into an appointment. Laura — who asked to use a pseudonym to protect her privacy

The "Chew And Spit" Eating Disorder Behaviour Is More Common Among Teens Than Adults, Researchers Say

Sydney woman Elle — a pseudonym to protect her privacy — is in recovery for anorexia nervosa, but it took her years to talk to her doctor, friends or family about regularly chewing and spitting out food. "It is like some people just interpret it as coward's bulimia, or pointlessly wasting food for no good reason," the 32-year-old told BuzzFeed News. "There is such limited understanding about the true complexity and pain associated with it."

Hundreds Of Women Just Won A Landmark Case Against Johnson & Johnson Over Pelvic Mesh Implants

Hundreds of women living in pain after they were fitted with transvaginal mesh devices have won a landmark class action case against Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Seven years after a class action involving more than 1,350 women began, the Federal Court's Justice Anna Katzmann handed down a searing judgement in which she found Ethicon had acted negligently, and that patients should be compensated.

Pregnancy Is A Risk Factor For Violence. Midwives Have Known This For Years.

Hannah Dahlen will never forget when she was a student midwife and a woman came to the hospital, the imprint of a studded football boot on her pregnant belly. “We got him out of the room and we said [to her] ‘we need to report what he did to you and you need to find safety for yourself and we can help you with that, and think about the child coming into this’,” Dahlen, now a professor of midwifery and director of higher degree studies at Western Sydney University, told BuzzFeed News.

Indigenous Babies Are More Likely To Be Born Premature. These Researchers Say They Have The Solution

In 2013, the Birthing in Our Community Service was established in Brisbane by two Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and a tertiary maternity hospital. A study published last week in peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet found the service achieved a “significant’’ reduction in preterm birth compared to hospital-based tertiary maternity services. Birthing on country involves Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, families and communities in its design, leadership and i

We Might Be Getting A National Abortion Hotline. This State Is Successfully Running Its Own

A woman with an unwanted pregnancy to a violent partner, who doesn’t have enough money to pay a private provider for a surgical abortion; a woman whose period is two weeks late; a woman who is over 12 weeks gestation with an unwanted pregnancy in a rural area who had to travel to Melbourne for an abortion; a single mother with mental health concerns and an unintended pregnancy at an early gestation; a woman looking for a doctor to insert a hormonal contraceptive intrauterine device (IUD).
Load More Articles
Close