Women’s health care seems to be making the news a lot lately. There are constant debates over what kind of care women should be allowed to receive. It’s not just consistently hot-button topics like abortion, either. For some reason, even health insurance coverage for birth control is seen as controversial by some. Those groups just got a boost from the current administration with the announcement that it will be easier for employers to stop offering birth control coverage.  This is through health insurance that is already paid for by the employee, but that’s not enough somehow. Women on birth control are still viewed as suspicious by way too many people. There’s basically no objection to covering treatments like Viagra and Cialis, but that’s another matter entirely.

Women often have to fight for rights that are given freely to men. That’s also true of health care. For a long time, women’s health care was overlooked or brushed aside. Women were seen as “hysterical” for complaining about pain. Thankfully, things are changing in some key areas, even as other fights seem destined to go on indefinitely.

Women and Health Care

More doctors are viewing women as an underserved health population, and they’re trying to rectify the imbalance by opening medical offices designed exclusively for women. Women will have a wide range of medical needs over their lifetime. Most women will make their first visit to a gynecologist in their late teens or early twenties, usually around the time they first become sexually active. A good doctor won’t just prescribe some birth control pills and send a patient on their way. They’ll instead take time to truly listen to the patient’s concerns.

There’s no real uniform sex education policy in the United States, so knowledge varies wildly from person to person. Women need a doctor who can answer their questions without being condescending or hostile. There are still way too many myths surrounding sex. We all probably heard stuff like “You can’t get pregnant the first time” or “A woman can’t get pregnant on her period” in high school, but all too many people actually take such statements to be the gospel truth. The first one is completely false, as a woman can get pregnant the first or five hundredth time she has sex. As for the second question, it’s true that being on your period generally makes it less likely you’ll conceive, but it’s by no means impossible.

Then there’s pregnancy and delivery. It’s an exciting time for women, but it’s also an incredibly vulnerable time. Women need specialized care from the moment they get that first positive pregnancy test. That care shouldn’t stop at birth, either, as new moms will also need to be monitored carefully for signs of postpartum depression. It’s a common ailment that women are often ashamed of talking about, because they (wrongly) fear it means they don’t love their baby enough.

Women’s health care goes beyond things like birth control and birth plans, of course. Some medical conditions are more commonly seen in women than men. That includes things like depression, anxiety, and migraine headaches. There’s a lot of focus on pregnancy and childbirth, which is understandable. But all women deserve a high standard of medical care, regardless of if they plan on having children.