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Obstetricians unwilling to discuss certain dangers, says study

When a woman becomes pregnant, her doctor will detail a number of activities, elements and behaviors to avoid in order to protect herself -- and her unborn child -- from dangerous factors. The goal is to eliminate as many dangerous things as possible to maximize the mother's chance of a healthy birth.

However. a new study has found that many obstetricians fail to inform pregnant women about certain environmental factors that can prove to be very dangerous during pregnancy. For example, heavy metals, solvents and pesticides can pose catastrophic dangers to pregnant women and their unborn child.

What the study found is that even though nearly four out of five obstetricians believe that counseling about these environmental factors can help reduce the risks pregnant women and their unborn child face, only 20 percent of these obstetricians actually brought up the topic to pregnant women.

There are a couple of things to consider in light of this study, and the first is that some of these dangers are fairly obvious. Pregnant women need to do everything they can to avoid being around pesticides. Anyone should avoid being around pesticides, really. Other dangerous substances should clearly be avoided by anyone, but especially pregnant women.

But the troubling thing here is the reluctance of obstetricians to inform their patients of potential dangers, no matter how obvious they may be. There could be objects, items or other sources that contain dangerous materials that many pregnant women wouldn't consider -- but that an obstetrician would know about.

Source: NPR, "Few Doctors Warn Expectant Mothers About Environmental Hazards," Kara Manke, June 25, 2014

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