For more than a decade doctors have been recommending preventive vaccination against the human papillomavirus, or HPV, for girls (and more recently, boys, too), but now, the Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of Gardasil 9 in adults between 27 and 45 years old.

The approval could be a game-changer for women's health.

According to the FDA, HPV can cause certain cancers and diseases, including cervical cancer, which impacts 12,000 women each year. By preventing HPV, the vaccine prevents potentially fatal cervical cancer, and vaccination is actually more cost-effective than cancer screening, some doctors say.

As MedPage reports, when Gardasil launched in 2006 the vaccine aimed to prevent four types of HPV in girls and women ages 9 years to 26. Later, the recommendation for the early version of the vaccine expanded to include boys and young men.

In the years since, the old version of Gardasil was phased out of use in the U.S., replaced with a new version of the vaccine that protects against 9 types of HPV. It's this new vaccine, Gardasil 9, that's now approved for older adults, too.

Some ob-gyns have been calling for this for years, recommending the HPV vaccine to older women even though its use in those over 26 was, technically, off-label. That means insurance hasn't covered it, and a vaccination would cost hundreds of dollars.

Now, with the approval, that will likely change.

"In general, what we've seen is that once the FDA gives approval and says there is a good response to the vaccine, we would in short order expect approved coverage from insurers," Dr. Charles Leath, a gynecologic oncology specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham tells CNN.

According to the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV vaccination has the potential to prevent more than 90% of the cancers caused by the 9 strains of HPV Gardasil covers.

While the safety of the vaccine has been a hotly debated online for years, the CDC says Gardasil is safe. However, despite a study showing no ill effects in pregnant women, it is not recommended during pregnancy, as more research is still needed.

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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking.

On July 13, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department announced the 33-year-old mother's body was found at Lake Piru, five days after her son was found floating alone on a rented boat. According to Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub, Rivera's last action was to save her son.

"We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point in her journey. It was at that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water," Ayub explained, adding that Rivera's son was wearing his life vest, but the adult life vest was left on the unanchored boat.


Ayub says exactly what caused the drowning is still speculation but investigators believe the boat started drifting and that Rivera "mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat but not enough to save herself."

Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.

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