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Don't stress about pregnancy scare stories, says expert

Medical research can be 'inconsistent and contradictory'
Scare stories about pregnancy need to be taken with a pinch of salt, according to a medical expert.

Dr Debbie Wake, specialist registrar and researcher at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, said pregnancy in the 2000s may be less risky, but there are new challenges, including "making sense of medical research".

"Medical research should not always be taken at face value, and should be put into the wider context", she wrote in the Scotsman.

In her article, Dr Wake used examples of research on fish, alcohol, coffee and chocolate intake during pregnancy that have "produced inconsistent and contradictory results".

She pointed out that restricted intake of fish in pregnancy is recommended because of toxic levels of mercury in some seafood. However, she added that recent studies have demonstrated improved intelligence in children following higher fish intake in pregnancy.

In another example, Dr Wake compared two pieces of research on coffee-drinking during pregnancy. One study last year in the British Medical Journal suggested that drinking a few cups per day did not increase the risk of premature birth or having a low birth weight baby.

Contradicting this, a recent report in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology claims that daily consumption of more than 200 milligrams of caffeine doubles the risk of miscarriage.

Dr Wake noted: "Health reporting needs to be more balanced and less sensationalist. Pregnant women are an anxious consumer group, but should not panic or change habits every time a new study breaks. Moderation and common sense should be applied, and scare-mongering ignored."

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myself and my partner recently went to see our consultant and he told us that there was too much amniotic fluid around the baby,he then said this could mean a small operation on our baby's throat when she is born or she might come prematurely he also said i could have a amniosentices to drain the fluid. after telling us this imformation he then sent us packing out of his office without explaining properly. i was so confused and did'nt know what to think so when we got home i went onto the internet and was filled with horror at some of the story's related to this condition. could someone please put my mind at rest and shed some light on this for me.
by jdb 27th Jan 2010, 9:29am

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