Imagine you’re pregnant, or that your wife is pregnant, and you go to an obstetrician to prepare for all that pregnancy and childbirth entails. During this appointment, your obstetrician goes over some of the basics, including some of the dangers that are posed to pregnant women. You probably know many of the dangers by now — pregnant women shouldn’t smoke or drink, they shouldn’t consume too much caffeine, and they should avoid certain types of fish — but it’s still nice to hear them again from your obstetrician. It’s comforting to know he or she is trying to help you or your wife have a healthy pregnancy.
However, what if your obstetrician is holding some information back? You probably believe this is unthinkable, right? Well according to a new study, it isn’t as impossible as you may think.
The study found that even though more obscure environmental hazards such as heavy metals and pesticides can cause complications during pregnancy, less than 20 percent of obstetricians involved in the study said that they didn’t ask pregnant women about their exposure to such environmental hazards. Even more troubling, nearly four out of five of the obstetricians involved in the study said that these hazards need to be discussed with a pregnant woman to reduce their risk of exposure.
Is this medical malpractice? It’s unclear, because many obstetricians in the study said that talking about these environmental hazards could generate many questions from pregnant women that they are unprepared or unqualified to answer. However, they should still be doing everything they can to help a woman reduce her risks during pregnancy.
Source: NPR, “Few Doctors Warn Expectant Mothers About Environmental Hazards,” Kara Manke, June 25, 2014