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Expecting mothers rely on advice, counsel of their doctors

When women learn that they're pregnant, the news is often welcomed with joy. No matter how excited an expecting parent is, however, there's always going to be a bit of anxiety or concern. After all, parents simply want to make sure that their children arrive into the world healthy and ready to thrive.

In order to ensure the best outcomes at the time of birth, women may turn to their health professionals for guidance about what kind behaviors are encouraged or cautioned against during pregnancy. One children's health researcher notes that the time during pregnancy is particularly sensitive in the development of children, so it's important that mothers are careful about what they do, eat or drink.

A study covered by National Public Radio uncovered that many doctors may not be providing the kind of guidance that expecting parents might want or need. Less than 20 percent of obstetricians surveyed indicated that they provided warnings against exposure to environmental toxins, even though they generally advise against drinking, smoking and poor nutrition.

The frustrating component of the study is that nearly 80 percent of doctors know that warning against exposure to toxins, such as heavy metals and solvents, could help mothers and their children during pregnancy.

Realistically speaking, many first-time parents might not have any point of reference for what kind of foods or activities could expose them to environmental toxins, thus exposing unborn children to health risks. At the same time, even people who have had kids before might not know about emerging concerns in terms of healthy habits. As such, it could be construed as professional negligence to only tell patients part of the story.

Doctors should always do their best to provide high-quality, thoughtful care to their patients. Many people put a lot of trust in their doctors and withholding valuable information could have negative health consequences.

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

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