Health truly is an inside job.  Are you convinced of this truth?

Each of us is the captain of his or her own health team.

If I am not interested in my own health and my own habits, I will find out that there is really not a single other person who is.  Oh, periodically it is going to be possible to get help from friends and from my doctors. I will, and on a regular basis do, get a lot of help from my wife. But the bottom line is that I am the responsible person when it comes to my own health. 

I can buckle my seat belt. Each day I can choose NOT to put an alcoholic beverage to my lips. I can pull off the road to rest if I am tired.  I can choose how much I will eat and how much I weigh. I can choose not to text message while driving.

          And you can and do make each of these decisions and many, many others for yourself. Your health really is an inside job.

          Lots of us in the United States must make really tough decisions about our own health.

          Pregnancy is an important determinant of our future health and happiness. Tonight 10 million women who definitely do not want to become pregnant will have intercourse. One million of them and their partners will use absolutely no contraceptive.  It is going to happen in a number of Rabun County teenagers this very night. Every single one of them and their partners could choose instead to use abstinence, a condom, withdrawal or could use what is often called outercourse. 

Maybe you would rather not see this discussed in your local paper.  But many believe that it is far better to discuss this than to be discussing what to do if a completely unwanted pregnancy happens.  Am I right?

          When a completely unintended pregnancy happens just under 50% of the time, whether or not you or I like it, an abortion happens. So anyone truly concerned about the number of abortions happening in Georgia and in the rest of the country should become advocates for excellent contraceptive services.

          Since a woman is more than 20 times as likely to become if she uses pills rather than one of the long acting reversible methods, these are the approaches that should receive the most emphasis. The two intrauterine devices and the two implants are all more effective than tubal sterilization for those wanting to retain the ability to become pregnant in the future.

Next week join me to think about this topic:  Stress is all about us.

Robert A. Hatcher MD, MPH
Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Emory University School of Medicine
Atlanta, Georgia

Updated 10-26-2013

July 6, 2013