Women’s health clinics are doctor’s offices that specialize in the care and treatment of women. Basic care is covered by health insurance programs and available to all women, even those on low incomes.
Women's health clinics can be utilized for:
• Annual physical exam
• Smear tests
• Evaluation of abnormal smear results
• Breast examination
• Vulval biopsies
• Treatment of uterine fibroids
• Treatment of vaginal infections
• Contraceptive services
• Pregnancy testing
• Advice on menstrual period problems and treatment
Pregnancy-related tests eg., amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling for Down’s syndrome, spina bifida, etc. cause risk of infection into the amniotic sac, rhesus disease in RH negative mothers and needle injuries. Club foot could develop, particularly before week 15. Risk of miscarriage is around 1 in 100.
A medical problem that is not a "women’s problem" such as diabetes will be referred to the appropriate health care provider.
The state of Texas does not allow funding to women’s health clinics that also perform abortions, so you will not be able to get insurance to cover your care in that case. You would then have to find a clinic that does not perform abortions.
There are also integrated clinics that combine alternative therapies with conventional medical care and provide additional services that are not part of basic care, such as:
• Fertility advice and treatment
• Nutritional advice
• Counseling on PMS and hormones
• Self-empowerment counselling
• Help with depression or anxiety
• Information on supplements
• Alternative menopause treatments
• Alternatives to hysterectomy
• Some integrated clinics do beauty treatments like hair removal and facials.
• A second opinion from your regular gynecologist
• 4D ultrasound scan (The FDA warns against "keepsake" reasons, due to health concerns)
Health clinics, both conventional and integrated, can be found in the phone book or online. If you are low-income, or have no health insurance, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can provide details of clinics that only provide basic services, where you are allowed to pay what you can afford, at: http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/Search_HCC.aspx/
Women to Women. Web. 28 April 2012. http://www.womentowomen.com/clinic/clnmedicalservices.aspx
University of South Alabama Physician’s Group, Center for Women’s Health. Web. 28 April 2012.
Amniocentesis – Complications, NHS Choices. Web. 28 April 2012. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Amniocentesis/Pages/Complications.aspx
FDA Cautions Against Ultrasound Keepsake Images, FDA Consumer Magazine. Web. 28 April 2012.
Texas law blocks funding for care at Planned Parenthood, USA Today. Web. 28 April 2012.
Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/ She is the mother of five children and practices natural childbirth, delayed cord clamping, full term breastfeeding and organic food diet.
Reviewed April 30, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith