Washington, Dec 8 (UNI) Defying modern medical researches about pregnancy and motherhood, most women still believe that a pregnant woman's exposure to scary sight could hurt her unborn baby.
The recent Ohio State University study points to the persistence of myths surrounding pregnancy despite advances in medical interventions and evidence that most miscarriages and defects result from circumstances beyond a woman's control, the Science Daily reported.
''I think it's amazing that people out there still believe that a pregnant woman seeing something frightening could cause her baby to have a birthmark. That was an 18th-century belief and it's still circulating, even today, '' study author Jonathan Schaffir said.
''The survey shows that a sizable proportion of the population believes maternal thoughts and actions contribute to adverse fetal outcomes, but despite these feelings, few assign responsibility to the mother,''he added.
Professor Schaffir surveyed 200 women by circulating a questionnaire and asked them to rate their level of agreement with common folk beliefs about prenatal influences on fetal outcomes, and whether or not respondents had a history of an adverse pregnancy outcome.
Six per cent of respondents thought a mother's unfulfilled food cravings could have an adverse effect on a fetus and 5 per cent believed a pregnant woman's exposure to a scary sight could hurt her unborn baby. Thirty-eight per cent of the women surveyed believed that a baby's appearance is determined at conception.
More than three-fourths (76 per cent) of women believed stress could cause a bad pregnancy outcome.
''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,'' Professor Schaffir said.