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How much do you love your baby?

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As a physician who helps women through their pregnancies, I can state with conviction that the vast, vast majority of pregnant women worry incessantly about how their behavior and choices affect their developing baby. They are very careful to avoid certain medications, X-rays, alcohol, and drugs. Some go so far as to avoid hot tubs on the off chance that this might affect their unborn child. Almost all of my patients give up alcohol and tobacco, two legal intoxicants, during their pregnancies. We all share a belief that bathing a baby still in the womb in certain chemicals can interfere with normal development, and might lead to a birth defect.

How curious, then, that some parents lose that same concern the moment their child is delivered. Breast feeding mothers remain concerned as to how alcohol and drugs might pass through their breast milk to their suckling newborn, but some parents of 5-, 10-, and 15-year-olds appear to have almost no concern about how their secondhand smoke, or the child’s own use of alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana, might lead to “brain defects” in their still developing child.

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