The BMJ Today: Teenage pregnancy and breastfeeding

Juliet DobsonGood news from the US—pregnancies, births, and abortions among US teenagers aged 15 to 19 have fallen to historical lows.  This news comes from a report by the Guttmacher Institute, which found that although teenagers were more likely to engage in sex, they are less likely to get pregnant. This trend is similar in the UK, where teenage pregnancy rates have been falling dramatically for several years. Sophie Arie recently looked at why this is happening, and whether the trend will last.

Keeping to the pregnancy theme, The BMJ has just published a clinical review looking at common breastfeeding problems in the community. Women in the community often cease breast feeding in the early weeks when they encounter or perceive problems, and many will seek help from their general practitioner or other health professional. This review looks at how to manage common problems associated with breast feeding.

Last week’s poll on asked, “Is there such a thing as humane capital punishment?” The poll closes soon, but as the voting currently stands, 70% of you have voted no. Interestingly our US poll asks the same question, and voting there is much closer, with the no votes currently leading with 56% of the votes. Capital punishment has been in the news recently due to a botched execution in Oklahoma, US. Clayton Lockett awoke, spoke, and struggled for several minutes after being pronounced unconscious and up to 16 minutes after being injected with the sedative midazolam. In a rapid response to our US editor’s choice, Anton E Joseph gives a vivid description of witnessing capital punishment in Sri Lanka, where he worked as a lecturer in forensic medicine and had to be present at executions to declare death before the body was taken for a post mortem. He says, “Let me ask, would you if you had my experience support capital punishment?”

Juliet Dobson is web editor and blogs editor, The BMJ.