Link via fiannaharpar:
New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.
Now, the article goes on to make the following recommendations: "...all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control." And, y'know, I'm for that. In that I just generally think that diabetics ought to keep an eye on the diabetes so they don't end up having to get limbs amputated. I think that's a common sense thing.
But the words "federal guidelines" and "pre-pregnant" are not just sending up red flags, they're sending out a fireworks show and a marching band.
I have been unable to obtain adequate medical care for my epilepsy because I am what they'd call pre-pregnant. As my neurologist puts it, I am a woman of child-bearing age. As such, they flat-out refuse to try me on any medicines other than the ones proven least likely to affect a fetus (read: the ones that are paying off my neurologist). Despite the fact that I have declared my belly a no-fetus zone.
My neurologist does not trust me to not get pregnant. My neurologist puts a potential fetus's potential health over my health.
And now the government wants to officially sanction that.
Oh HELL no.
I should not have to get my fucking tubes tied in order to not have seizures and/or get medication that at least doesn't have me dropping weight. (90.5 on the Craftsman's bathroom scale; even taking into account that it's a different scale from my doctor's, it's a significant enough difference that I have to look at it. I'm 89 on my scale right now. Which slips, but - still.) To get off a medication that's caused what's essentially a whole-body crash.
Pre-pregnant? Hell no. I am post-pregnant by 11 years. Pregnancy and me do not belong in the same sentence.
Screw that noise.
EDIT: When I first posted this, I was writing just for myself and my friendslist, so I didn't put in a whole lot of background. Now this post has been linked all over LJ and in DailyKos. So. Background for people who have not been reading me since the dawn of time, quick-and-dirty version: I was diagnosed with epilepsy in October 2003. My first neurologist put me on Lamictal, which caused some pretty untenable side effects, including the first 2/3 of what became a catastrophic weight loss - 50 pounds in total, to a low of 85 pounds.
She tried me on Keppra, which was worse - then gave up for the sake of the potential fetus. I switched neurologists and medications, trying Topomax and Trileptal, the latter of which (plus Zonegran) I'm still on. The weight loss continued. Uncontrollably.
There are medications that have, as their side effects, weight gain. I have begged for these medications, but been refused. Direct quote from my neurologist: "You're a newlywed. You'll want a baby." I'm a newlywed with an 11-year-old daughter and a body that's falling apart. Trust me. I do not want a baby. But my stated desires are irrelevant - I cannot get prescribed a medication that will keep me from losing weight and may control my seizures better than the one I'm on now, due entirely to increased risk of birth defects.
If you want any further information, feel free to ask; I'm not shy.