What you're told isn't necessarily true. There are all kinds of everyday myths that people tell one another, often because they don't know any better. You may have unknowingly told a few of your own because you trusted the word of a friend or loved one. Meanwhile, common wisdom may be well-known, but it isn't always right.
Then there are the facts that may be true in general, but not necessarily for you. We're all different, after all. You wouldn't give peanut butter to someone who's allergic to it, even though it's fine for most people. The same may be true of your pregnancy. While your physician can help you identify some of your unique problems, you may want to take a more active hand in learning about your pregnancy. Emily Oster, author of "What to Expect When You're Expecting," recently wrote a Time magazine article where she mentioned that as important as pregnancy is, many mothers aren't taking an active role in making decisions. To change this, she recommended that mothers should ask more questions when they're expecting.
Weigh the advantages
As an example of the questions Oster asked, she wanted to know more about a nuchal scan and blood test when her doctor recommended them. These procedures help identify developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome before the child is born. When Oster asked about the potential disadvantages associated with the testing, her physician instead assured her that nothing would be wrong.
This was not the answer Oster was seeking, so she researched the matter on her own and discovered that the more invasive forms of the procedure run the risk of causing a miscarriage. While the chance was small, Oster had to consider whether it was worth knowing about potential birth defects ahead of time.
Although she was aware that pregnancy's a difficult time, she felt that expecting mothers should stay informed about what their choices are and the potential risks of their decisions. Sometimes, it can make you feel better about making certain decisions. For example, Oster's research found that smoking is bad no matter who you are, while many other issues can affect individual mothers differently.
Oster's additional findings
WABC also recently reported on Oster's book, and noted some of her findings about pregnancy. She found that, despite common wisdom about coffee and pregnancy, mothers can drink beverages with caffeine. Conversely, she discovered that too much yard work can be harmful to fetal development, as it can increase your exposure to diseases like toxoplasmosis.
Of course, Oster isn't a doctor - she's an economist and her research was a personal project. So her opinions shouldn't be taken as expert knowledge. But the basic idea that you should learn more about your pregnancy is a good one, and if you have questions, you should ask them. While you may not be able to know everything about your pregnancy or your own unique needs, you can get answers from your doctor about the benefits of certain procedures and recommendations that he or she may give you. Organizations like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provide health information online, which allows you to research your pregnancy more in-depth on your own. Oster noted that she had trouble finding books that detailed all of the risks and benefits associated with her questions, but by looking into multiple sources, you can gain a more complete answer to what you're curious about.
What kind of research did you do for your pregnancy? Were you ever unsure about undergoing a certain procedure? Leave a comment below!