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Miscarriage myths persist despite prevalence of medical information
Date:12/6/2007

ystem, with a lower level of education resulting in a higher likelihood of blaming mothers for bad pregnancy outcomes.

Women with less education were more likely to think problems were a mother's fault. This isn't necessarily because women learn more about pregnancy during formal education, but reflects that women who have pursued higher education might read more and rely on more stringent sources for information about what they choose to believe. They might be more scientifically guided, he said.

Education levels among respondents included some high school (33 women), high school graduate (46), some college (59), college graduate (40) and graduate school (19). Women with less education were also more likely to believe that stress can adversely affect pregnancy.

The pregnancy history of survey respondents appeared to have no bearing on beliefs in any but two areas. Women with no history of bad pregnancy outcomes were more likely to believe a bad mood or a fright could lead to birth defects or miscarriages, suggesting to Schaffir that women who had received medical care for an adverse pregnancy outcome were provided with more fact-based explanations for what had happened to them.

The mere existence of these beliefs suggests there is an opportunity for education in the exam room, Schaffir said.

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, he said. Health care providers can reassure patients that these old wives' tales' should not contribute to any feelings of personal responsibility.

The survey respondents' belief that stress can affect pregnancy outcomes mirrors more conventional societal beliefs as well as a growing body of research about the effects of stress on health, Schaffir noted. But because he was gauging opinions and not facts about pregnancy, he did not explore that
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Contact: Jonathan Schaffir
Schaffir.1@osu.edu
614-293-9899
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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