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Healthcare providers and Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

I've been involved with Domestic Violence Awareness Month for quite a while. I was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of my oldest daughter's father what feels like a lifetime ago. Even though it was about 12 years ago, I have never forgotten that awful feeling of both never wanting anyone to find out the predicament I was in and also desperately wishing someone would discover my secret and help me out. After I was able to leave I did an internship with my local women's shelter. I am committed to ending domestic violence.

With that in mind and considering that the childbearing year is a particularly vulnerable time for victims I've put together a few links specifically for health care providers. These address both screening and prevention.

First up all health care providers should be aware of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Victims, perpetrators and professionals can all make use of the hotline for information, support and referrals to local programs.

Health care providers can not only use the hotline they can easily post it in private areas such as the restrooms, exam rooms or other areas.

Violence against women often begins or escalates during pregnancy so routine screening as a part of prenatal care may be something you would like to integrate into your practice. If a patient does disclose an incident of domestic violence to you the way you document it can either help or hurt her if she goes to court. Find out about best practices in documentation. You will also want to know where you can refer her locally.

Finally there is a wealth of pamphlets and brochures you can make available to patients and their partners.

This page from the National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women has links to many more tools for a wide range of healthcare settings.


Surprising Sustainable Solution to Diaper Need

Huggies has commissioned a study which suprisingly shows a previously undiscovered "diaper need" problem. The Every Little Bottom study found that 1 in 3 mothers in America and 2 in 10 mothers in Canada report ever running out of diapers for their children. And running out of clean diapers constitutes "diaper need".

What I found most interesting about this study is the section on beliefs about cloth diapers. A majority of mothers (65% in both Canada and the US) believe cloth is cheaper yet most (95% US and 91% Canada) still use disposables. Yet the whole point of this study seems to be based on the economy of diapers.

I think the more telling statistics are the beliefs about the convenience and acceptance of sposies vs. cloth. A large majority believe that cloth is less convenient and difficult to use if there is not an in-home washer/dryer. A small number of moms also believe that daycare and laundrymats will not accept cloth diapers.

I'm here to say that cloth is much more convenient for me. I never have to make an emergency run to the store. We have not always had a washer/dryer at home so I've washed my diapers in laundrymats many times over the 5ish years that I've been using cloth. Theres not generally an attendant and I've never seen a sign to indicate that I was breaking any rules anyway.

Neither of my two cloth diapered babies have been to daycare so I can't speak personally to that issue but here is a great resource for anyone who needs it. The Real Diaper Association has put together a list of cloth friendly daycare providers and a tip sheet for introducing cloth if your provider is new to the concept.

A lot of people point out the initial investment required with cloth. I was lucky enough to be gifted 12 prefolds and 3 covers when I started. And then someone else gave me 3 fitted dipes. You can always request cloth for baby gifts. I added to my stash little by little. I bought mostly used diapers. Altogether I've spent $300-$400 spread out over 5 years, to diaper two kids.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about a cloth solution to diaper need :)