Miscarriage Myths Persist
A recent study conducted by The Ohio State University finds that myths surrounding pregnancy continue to exist despite advances in medical knowledge. Jonathan Schaffir, a clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at OSU said most miscarriages and defects result from circumstances beyond a woman?s control.
More than a third of women who were surveyed believed a woman?s bad mood could negatively affect their baby. One in five women believed that excess exercise could cause a miscarriage.
?The survey shows that a sizable proportion of the population believes maternal thoughts and actions contribute to adverse fetal outcomes ? but despite these feelings, few assign responsibility to the mother,? Schaffir said. ?I think it?s kind of amazing that people out there still believe that a pregnant woman seeing something frightening could cause her baby to have a birthmark. That was an 18th-century belief and it?s still circulating, even today.?
?I had a call not long ago, before Halloween, from a pregnant woman asking if it would be OK to go to a haunted house. I told her it was fine.?
The study found women with less education were more likely to find fault with themselves when a pregnancy resulted in miscarriage. It was education levels that affected the women?s belief systems.
?I do think there is room for educating women more, particularly those who have less formal education, to prevent them from feeling any guilt in association with their pregnancy,? Schaffir said. ?Health care providers can reassure patients that these ?old wives? tales? should not contribute to any feelings of personal responsibility.?