Dr. Shaw is a northern California native and completed college at UC Davis with a degree in Nutrition Science. She moved to San Diego where she worked in BioTech until matriculating to medical school at Albany Medical College in Albany NY, where she got her medical degree. She then undertook and completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Oregon Health & Science University before coming back to California for a fellowship in Family Planning at Stanford. As a Clinical Associate Professor she enjoys teaching fellows, residents and medical students and seeing patients in Gynecology clinic. Her clinical focus is in general gynecology, family planning, contraception, abortion and LGBTQ care. She also performs gynecologic surgery and works on Labor & Delivery. In the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford, Dr. Shaw serves as the Residency Program Director and the Associate Division Director of the Division of Family Planning Services and Research.

Clinical Focus

  • Family Planning
  • Contraception
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Global Health
  • Menopause

Academic Appointments

  • Clinical Associate Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology

Administrative Appointments

  • Residency Program Director, Stanford University, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (2016 - Present)
  • Associate Director Division of Family Planning Services and Research, Stanford University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (2013 - Present)
  • Director for Ambulatory Care for Gynecology, Stanford Blake Wilbur Clinics (2015 - 2017)
  • Associate Residency Director, Stanford Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (2013 - 2016)
  • Assistant Director for Ambulatory Care for Gynecology, Stanford Blake Wilbur Clinic (2013 - 2015)

Honors & Awards

  • Outstanding Faculty Professor in Gynecology, Stanford University Department of Ob/Gyn (2015)
  • Excellence in Teaching by a Clinical Fellow, Awarded by OB/GYN Residents (2013)
  • Intern Teaching Award, Second year resident elected by intern class for excellence in teaching (2009)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Member, Arthur Gold Humanism Honor Society (2007)
  • Member, Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (2006)

Professional Education

  • Board Certification: Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (2015)
  • Fellowship:Stanford School of Medicine (2013) CA
  • MS, Stanford School of Medicine, Epidemiology and Clinical Research (2013)
  • Residency:Oregon Health Science University (2011) OR
  • Medical Education:Albany Medical Center (2007) NY

Community and International Work



    Contraception and Safe Abortion



    Ongoing Project


    Opportunities for Student Involvement


Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

My research interests include expanding access to and and improving patient experience with contraception and abortion care both domestically and globally. I am also interested in medical education and resilience among physicians and trainees.

Clinical Trials

  • Value of Mifepristone in Cervical Preparation Prior to Dilation and Evacuation 19-24 Weeks Not Recruiting

    A common practice for preparation for surgical abortion after 19 weeks gestation is the placement of multiple sets of osmostic dilators 1-2 days prior to the procedure. The investigators aim to study the addition of mifepristone as an adjunct to cervical dilation prior to abortion between 19-24 weeks gestation, and its potential to minimize the number of painful procedures and time in clinic (or away from work/home) that multiple sets of dilators can require. The investigators hypothesize that one set of dilators with mifepristone will result in similar procedure times and decreased "total" time as two sets of dilators.

    Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial.

    View full details

  • Pre-Operative Effects of Mifepristone on Dilation and Evacuation Services Not Recruiting

    This research study investigates the use of a drug, mifepristone, given before second trimester abortion. Mifepristone is a medication that is approved for medical abortion during the first trimester. It also has been used prior to abortion in the early seconds trimester (14-16 weeks gestation) and for medication abortion in the second trimester (also called induction abortion). This medication has effects on the uterus that may help dilate, or open, the cervix. Abortion requires opening of the cervix to safely remove the pregnancy. Cervical dilation, or opening, is essential to both ease of completion of procedure and reducing complications that can occur. These complications include laceration, or tearing, of the cervix and perforation of the uterus (a hole made unintentionally in the muscle wall of the uterus) and are not expected to be increased in the study. Dilation of the cervix is usually achieved by placing thin rods (cervical dilators) through the cervix. These rods then absorb the moisture of the vagina and slowly expand, opening the cervix. The standard method of dilation is performed at the clinic and involves the placement of cervical dilators the day before the procedure. This procedure can be uncomfortable. A prior study showed that mifepristone reduces the number of osmotic dilators that need to be placed prior to the procedure after 19 weeks gestation. We aim to investigate mifepristone as a potential adjunct to cervical dilation or used alone, without dilators, as method of cervical preparation with the hopes of reducing barriers imposed by painful procedures and time in clinic and away from work/home that the current approach involving dilators requires.

    Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial.

    View full details

  • Labor and Delivery Implant Insertion: A Randomized Controlled Trial Recruiting

    A barrier to initiating progestin contraceptives in the early postpartum period is the concern of interference with breastfeeding, specifically lactogenesis. In this trial, the investigators aim to add to safety data on the effects of immediate insertion of the contraceptive implant on breastfeeding. The investigators seek to examine the time to lactogenesis with immediate post-delivery insertion in delivery room versus insertion of a contraceptive implant in the postpartum ward prior to medical discharge. For this study, 82 consenting women will be randomized to immediate implant insertion (0-2 hours following delivery) in the delivery room or insertion of the implant following delivery in postpartum room and prior to medical discharge (24-48 hours following delivery).

    View full details


2017-18 Courses


All Publications

  • Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive Placement Among Active-Duty U.S. Army Servicewomen. Obstetrics and gynecology Erickson, A. K., Nelson, D. A., Shaw, J. G., Loftus, P. D., Kurina, L. M., Shaw, K. A. 2017; 129 (5): 800-809


    To quantify uptake of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC)-intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants-among U.S. Army active-duty female soldiers and identify characteristics associated with uptake.This retrospective cohort study used the Stanford Military Data Repository, which includes all digitally recorded health encounters for active-duty U.S. Army soldiers from 2011 to 2014. We analyzed data from women aged 18-44 years to assess rates of LARC initiation using medical billing codes. We then evaluated predictors of LARC initiation using multivariable regression.Among 114,661 servicewomen, 14.5% received a LARC method; among those, 60% received an IUD. Intrauterine device insertions decreased over the study period (38.7-35.9 insertions per 1,000 women per year, β=0.14, 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.23 to -0.05, P<.05), whereas LARC uptake increased, driven by an increase in implant insertions (20.3-35.4/1,000 women per year, β=0.41, CI 0.33-0.48, P<.001). Younger age was a positive predictor of LARC uptake: 32.4% of IUD users and 62.6% of implant users were in the youngest age category (18-22 years) compared with 9.6% and 2.0% in the oldest (36-44 years). The likelihood of uptake among the youngest women (compared with oldest) was most marked for implants (adjusted relative risk 7.12, CI 5.92-8.55; P<.001). A total of 26.2% of IUD users had one child compared with 13.2% among non-LARC users (adjusted relative risk 1.94, CI 1.85-2.04, P<.001). The majority (52.2%) of those initiating IUDs were married, which was predictive of uptake over never-married women (adjusted relative risk 1.52, CI 1.44-1.59, P<.001).Among servicewomen, we observed low but rising rates of LARC insertion, driven by increasing implant use. Unmarried and childless soldiers were less likely to initiate LARC. These findings are consistent with potential underutilization and a need for education about LARC safety and reversibility in a population facing unique consequences for unintended pregnancies.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/AOG.0000000000001971

    View details for PubMedID 28383371

  • Update on second-trimester surgical abortion. Current opinion in obstetrics & gynecology Shaw, K. A., Lerma, K. 2016; 28 (6): 510-516


    To review the recent literature on surgical second-trimester abortion, with specific attention to cervical preparation techniques.Confirming previous studies, a recent retrospective observational cohort study, including 54 911 abortions, estimated the total abortion-related complication rate to be 0.41% for second-trimester or later procedures. Cervical preparation is known to reduce risks associated with second-trimester dilation and evacuation (D&E). When considering adjuncts to osmotic dilators for cervical preparation prior to D&E after 16 weeks, both misoprostol and mifepristone are effective alone and in combination or as adjuncts to osmotic dilators. Misoprostol consistently has been shown to cause more pain and cramping than placebo, but is an effective adjunct to osmotic dilators after 16 weeks. Although mifepristone has fewer side-effects, at its current price, it may not be as cost-effective as misoprostol.Second-trimester abortion is safe. The use of mifepristone and misoprostol for second-trimester abortion has improved safety and efficacy of medical and surgical methods when used alone or in combination and as adjuncts to osmotic dilators. An important aspect of D&E, cervical preparation, is not a one-size-fits-all practice; the approach and methods are contingent on patient, provider and setting and should consider all the evidence-based options.

    View details for PubMedID 27684047

  • Self-Administered Lidocaine Gel for Pain Control With First-Trimester Surgical Abortion: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Obstetrics and gynecology Conti, J. A., Lerma, K., Shaw, K. A., Blumenthal, P. D. 2016; 128 (2): 297-303


    To compare pain control at various time points during first-trimester surgical abortion using a patient-administered lidocaine gel compared with a traditional lidocaine paracervical block.We conducted a randomized controlled trial of women undergoing surgical abortion at less than 12 weeks of gestation in an outpatient setting. The primary outcome was pain at cervical dilation as measured on a 100-mm visual analog scale. A sample size of 142 participants was planned to detect a 15-mm or greater difference on the 100-mm visual analog scale with 90% power and a significance level of .025, adding 10% for participant dropout and protocol violations. Participants received either 12 mL of a 1% lidocaine paracervical block or 20 mL of a self-administered, 2% lidocaine gel 20-30 minutes before procedure initiation. Secondary outcomes included anticipated pain, baseline pain, pain with speculum and tenaculum placement, pain after suction aspiration, and pain 30-45 minutes postoperatively.From April to October 2015, a total of 142 women were enrolled (68 in the paracervical block group, 69 in the gel group, and five not analyzed as a result of participant withdrawal). Sociodemographic characteristics were similar between groups. The mean pain score with cervical dilation was 60 mm (95% confidence interval [CI] 54-66) in the paracervical block group and 64 mm (95% CI 59-69) in the gel group (P=.3). There was no significant difference between mean pain scores at any time points measured.Self-administration of lidocaine gel before first-trimester surgical abortion is noninferior to a traditional paracervical lidocaine block and should be considered as an alternative, noninvasive approach to pain control for first-trimester surgical,, NCT02447029.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/AOG.0000000000001532

    View details for PubMedID 27400015

  • Assessment of a simplified insertion technique for intrauterine devices INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF GYNECOLOGY & OBSTETRICS Christenson, K., Lerma, K., Shaw, K. A., Blumenthal, P. D. 2016; 134 (1): 29-32


    To explore a simplified technique for intrauterine device (IUD) insertion.The present prospective longitudinal study enrolled patients aged at least 18years presenting at the gynecology clinic of Stanford University for IUD insertion between June 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014. No pelvic examination or uterine sounding was performed prior to IUD insertion. Transvaginal ultrasonography was performed immediately after insertion and at 4-6weeks to confirm device placement. The primary outcome was successful IUD placement.The study enrolled 50 patients. IUD insertion was completed successfully without any cervical manipulation in 40 (80%) participants. Sounding was not needed for any procedures. A cervical dilator was required to locate the internal os for 10 (20%) patients. The mean distance between IUDs and the endometrial verge immediately following insertion was 2.9mm. IUD insertion was rated "difficult" by the physician performing the procedure in 3 (6%) patients. No perforations were recorded. IUD expulsion occurred in 3 (6%) patients; menorrhagia was the indication for IUD insertion in two of these patients.IUD insertion without prior pelvic examination and sounding was feasible; this technique could reduce the need for instrument use during insertion and, consequently, the pain associated with insertion.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ijgo.2015.12.004

    View details for Web of Science ID 000379558200007

    View details for PubMedID 27113419

  • Immediate postpartum provision of long-acting reversible contraception. Current opinion in obstetrics & gynecology Goldthwaite, L. M., Shaw, K. A. 2015; 27 (6): 460-464

    View details for DOI 10.1097/GCO.0000000000000224

    View details for PubMedID 26536209

  • Update on long-acting reversible methods. Current opinion in obstetrics & gynecology Conti, J., Shaw, K. 2015; 27 (6): 471-475

    View details for DOI 10.1097/GCO.0000000000000227

    View details for PubMedID 26536210

  • Adjunct mifepristone for cervical preparation prior to dilation and evacuation: a randomized trial CONTRACEPTION Shaw, K. A., Shaw, J. G., Hugin, M., Velasquez, G., Hopkins, F. W., Blumenthal, P. D. 2015; 91 (4): 313-319


    The objective was to investigate mifepristone as a potential adjunct to cervical preparation for surgical abortion after 19weeks of gestation, with the aim of improving procedure access, convenience and comfort.This is a site-stratified, block-randomized, noninferiority trial of 50 women undergoing surgical abortion between 19 and 23 6/7weeks of gestation randomized to receive either one set of osmotic dilators plus mifepristone the day prior to procedure (mifepristone group) or two sets of osmotic dilators (placed 18-24 h apart) in the 2 days prior to procedure (control group). All subjects received preprocedure misoprostol. Primary outcome was procedure time. Secondary outcomes included preoperative cervical dilation, ease of procedure, and side effects and pain experienced by subjects.Mean gestational age was similar between groups (20weeks); more nulliparous subjects were randomized to the mifepristone group (46% vs. 12%, p=.009). Mean procedure times were similar: mifepristone group 11:52 (SD 5:29) vs. control group 10:56 (SD 5:08); difference in means -56s, with confidence interval (95% CI -4:09 to +2:16) not exceeding the 5-min difference we a priori defined as clinically significant. Preprocedure cervical dilation did not differ and was >3cm for the majority of subjects in both groups. There was no difference (p=.6) in ease of procedure reported by providers. Preoperative (postmisoprostol) pain and postoperative pain levels were greater with mifepristone (p = 0.02 and p= 0.04 respectively). Overall subject experience was not different (p=0.80), with most reporting a "better than expected" experience.Mifepristone with one set of osmotic dilators and misoprostol did not result in longer procedure times or less cervical dilation than serial (two sets) of osmotic dilators and misoprostol, and has the potential to improve access to second trimester abortion without compromising safety.Use of mifepristone for cervical preparation before surgical abortion after 19weeks allows for fewer visits and fewer osmotic dilators without compromising cervical dilation or increasing procedure time.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.contraception.2014.11.014

    View details for Web of Science ID 000351190700009

    View details for PubMedID 25499589

  • In reply. Obstetrics and gynecology Shaw, J. G., Asch, S. M., Frayne, S. M., Phibbs, C. S., Kimerling, R., Shaw, K. A. 2015; 125 (4): 989-?

    View details for DOI 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000783

    View details for PubMedID 25798980

  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Risk of Spontaneous Preterm Birth OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY Shaw, J. G., Asch, S. M., Kimerling, R., Frayne, S. M., Shaw, K. A., Phibbs, C. S. 2014; 124 (6): 1111-1119
  • Effect of a combined estrogen and progesterone oral contraceptive on circulating adipocytokines adiponectin, resistin and DLK-1 in normal and obese female rhesus monkeys. Contraception Shaw, K. A., Hennebold, J. D., Edelman, A. B. 2013; 88 (1): 177-182


    BACKGROUND: Hormonal contraception is the most common medication used by reproductive aged women but there is little understanding of the impact of hormonal contraception on obesity and metabolism. Adipokine levels (adiponectin, resistin) and markers of adipocyte development (DLK-1) are altered in obese animals and humans and are associated with increased cardiovascular risk. We sought to determine the effect of combined hormonal oral contraceptive pills (COCs) on circulating adiponectin, resistin and DLK-1 levels in obese and normal-weight rhesus macaque monkeys. METHODS: Serum adiponectin, resistin and DLK-1 levels in reproductive-age female rhesus macaques of normal (n = 5, mean = 5.76 kg) and inherently obese (n = 5, mean = 8.11 kg) weight were determined before, during and 2 months after cessation of 8 months of continuous treatment with COCs. RESULTS: The obese group alone showed a significant decrease (p<.01) in weight with COC use, which returned to baseline after COC cessation. Baseline adiponectin levels prior to COC treatment were lower in the obese group (p<.05). Adiponectin levels increased from baseline in both groups, but more so in the obese group (p<.05). Resistin levels were similar at baseline, with an increase in both groups following treatment. Circulating resistin remained elevated above baseline levels after COC cessation, particularly in the obese group (p<.05). While DLK-1 levels did not change significantly in either group, a trend for higher levels in obese animals was observed. CONCLUSIONS: COC use may alter metabolic processes via direct (resistin) or indirect (adiponectin) means, while unchanging DLK1 levels suggest they do not affect adipocyte development. COCs may directly increase resistin levels, as observed in both groups. As adiponectin is inversely related to adipocyte mass, increased levels in the obese group are likely attributed to weight loss.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.contraception.2012.10.029

    View details for PubMedID 23218850

  • Mifepristone-Misoprostol Dosing Interval and Effect on Induction Abortion Times A Systematic Review OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY Shaw, K. A., Topp, N. J., Shaw, J. G., Blumenthal, P. D. 2013; 121 (6): 1335-1347
  • Obesity and oral contraceptives: A clinician's guide BEST PRACTICE & RESEARCH CLINICAL ENDOCRINOLOGY & METABOLISM Shaw, K. A., Edelman, A. B. 2013; 27 (1): 55-65


    Obesity and unintended pregnancy are two of the major health epidemics we are currently facing worldwide. Patient education is a clinician's greatest tool in combating both epidemics but many clinicians may be uncomfortable with counselling and prescribing contraception for obese women. Overall, the prevention of unintended pregnancy in obese women far outweighs any risk associated with oral contraceptive use. This review aims to provide the clinician with a practical guide to the use of oral contraceptive pills in obese women.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.beem.2012.09.001

    View details for Web of Science ID 000315003700007

    View details for PubMedID 23384746

  • Obesity Epidemic: How to Make a Difference in a Busy OB/GYN Practice OBSTETRICAL & GYNECOLOGICAL SURVEY Shaw, K. A., Caughey, A. B., Edelman, A. B. 2012; 67 (6): 365-373


    At just one-third of the American population, those with a normal body mass index are now in the minority in the United States, whereas 68% are overweight or obese. The key to reducing the prevalence of obesity and improving the health of our population is, of course, screening and prevention. Screening (as simple as a weight and height) is effective, inexpensive, and already part of the routine vital signs taken at every visit. However, providers often avoid tackling the issue of weight due to a misperception that treatment is not effective, or from fear of causing offense or compromising rapport. However, clearly more harm is done by not discussing this important health issue. Cardiovascular disease remains the number 1 killer of women, and obesity is the leading modifiable risk factor. Beyond heart disease, obesity has implications for every visit type seen in the OB/GYN office, from contraception to pregnancy to abnormal bleeding to cancer. In addition, maternal obesity adversely affects future generations, making the impact of obesity a never-ending cycle. OB/GYNs are often the only physicians that reproductive-aged women see, and, thus, OB/GYNs have the opportunity to provide a potentially life-altering intervention. Effective treatment is available and includes lifestyle changes, behavioral counseling, medication, and bariatric surgery. Time is always a limitation in a busy practice but becoming more comfortable with how to approach patients, the language to use and tailoring counseling can save time increase impact.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/OGX.0b013e318259ee6a

    View details for Web of Science ID 000306740700017

    View details for PubMedID 22713163

  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Antepartum Complications: a Novel Risk Factor for Gestational Diabetes and Preeclampsia PAEDIATRIC AND PERINATAL EPIDEMIOLOGY Shaw, J. G., Asch, S. M., Katon, J. G., Shaw, K. A., Kimerling, R., Frayne, S. M., Phibbs, C. S. 2017; 31 (3): 185-194


    Prior work shows that Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) predicts an increased risk of preterm birth, but the causal pathway(s) are uncertain. We evaluate the associations between PTSD and antepartum complications to explore how PTSD's pathophysiology impacts pregnancy.This retrospective cohort analysis of all Veterans Health Administration (VA)-covered deliveries from 2000-12 used the data of VA clinical and administration. Mothers with current PTSD were identified using the ICD-9 diagnostic codes (i.e. code present during the antepartum year), as were those with historical PTSD. Medical and administrative data were used to identify the relevant obstetric diagnoses, demographics and health, and military deployment history. We used Poisson regression with robust error variance to derive the adjusted relative risk estimates (RR) for the association of PTSD with five clinically relevant antepartum complications [gestational diabetes (GDM), preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, growth restriction, and abruption]. Secondary outcomes included proxies for obstetric complexity (repeat hospitalisation, prolonged delivery hospitalisation, and caesarean delivery).Of the 15 986 singleton deliveries, 2977 (19%) were in mothers with PTSD diagnoses (1880 (12%) current PTSD). Mothers with the complication GDM were 4.9% and those with preeclampsia were 4.6% of all births. After adjustment, a current PTSD diagnosis (reference = no PTSD) was associated with an increased risk of GDM (RR 1.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2, 1.7) and preeclampsia (RR 1.3, 95% CI 1.1, 1.6). PTSD also predicted prolonged (>4 day) delivery hospitalisation (RR 1.2, 95% CI 1.01, 1.4), and repeat hospitalisations (RR 1.4, 95% CI 1.2, 1.6), but not caesarean delivery.The observed association of PTSD with GDM and preeclampsia is consistent with our nascent understanding of PTSD as a disruptor of neuroendocrine and cardiovascular health.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/ppe.12349

    View details for Web of Science ID 000400170000004

    View details for PubMedID 28328031

  • Contraceptive Practices of Women With Complex Congenital Heart Disease. American journal of cardiology Miner, P. D., Canobbio, M. M., Pearson, D. D., Schlater, M., Balon, Y., Junge, K. J., Bhatt, A., Barber, D., Nickolaus, M. J., Kovacs, A. H., Moons, P., Shaw, K., Fernandes, S. M. 2017; 119 (6): 911-915


    Understanding the contraceptive practices of women with complex congenital heart disease (CHD) and providing them individualized contraception counseling may prevent adverse events and unplanned high-risk pregnancies. Given this, we sought to examine the contraceptive practices in women with CHD, describe adverse events associated with contraceptive use, and describe the provision of contraception counseling. Women >18 years were recruited from 2011 to 2014 from 9 adult CHD (ACHD) centers throughout North America. Subjects completed a 48-item questionnaire regarding contraceptive use and perceptions of contraception counseling, and a medical record review was performed. Of 505 subjects, median age was 33 (interquartile range 26 to 44) and 81% had CHD of moderate or great complexity. The majority (86%, 435 of 505) of the cohort had used contraception. The types included barrier methods (87%), oral contraception (OC) 84%, intrauterine device (18%), Depo-Provera (15%), vaginal ring (7%), patch (6%), hormonal implant (2%), Plan B (19%), and sterilization (16%). Overall OC use was not significantly different by CHD complexity. Women with CHD of great complexity were more likely to report a thrombotic event while taking OC than those with less complex CHD (9% vs 1%, p = 0.003). Contraception counseling by the ACHD team was noted by 43% of subjects. Unplanned pregnancy was reported by 25% with no statistical difference by CHD complexity. In conclusion, contraceptive practices of women with complex CHD are highly variable, and the prevalence of blood clots while taking OC is not insignificant while provision of contraception counseling by ACHD providers appears lacking.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.amjcard.2016.11.047

    View details for PubMedID 28087052