Fetal Education: A Lesson from the Past

Issue: 
Publication Date: 
12/1990
Page Count: 
4
Starting Page: 
115
Price: $10.00
Abstract: 

During the 1960's, abdominal decompression during pregnancy was thought, on the basis of poorly controlled studies, to confer exceptional intelligence on the fetus. A carefully controlled study subsequently showed that this was not the case. Mothers who had received decompression treatment tended to give manifestly unrealistic accounts of their children's abilities, and their children differed temperamentally from the control group. The routine use of new techniques before they have been properly validated is not unwise, but makes it difficult subsequently to distinguish between the effects of the technique and those created by the expectations of the parents.

References: 

Heyns, O.S. (1959). Abdominal decompression in the first stage of labor. J Obstet Grynaecol Br Cmmnwlth. 66, 220-228.

Hofmeyr, G.J. (1989). Abdominal decompression during pregnancy. In: Chalmers, I., Enkin, M. & Keirse, MJNC (eds). Effective care in pregnancy and childbirth. Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York, Toronto, 647-652.

Hofmeyr, G.J. (1990). Commentary: Should abdominal decompression be consigned to the history books? Br J Obstet Gynaecol, in press.

Heyns, O.S. (1962). Use of abdominal decompression in pregnancy and labor to improve fetal oxygenation. Dev Med Child Neuro. 4, 473-482.

Liddicoate, R. (1968). The effects of maternal antenatal decompression treatment on infant mental development. S Afr Med J. 42, 203-211.

Hofmeyr, G.J., Metrikin, D.C. & Williamson, I. (1990). Abdominal decompression" new data from a previous study. Br J Obstet Gynaecol, in press.

Zeskind, P.S. & Ramey, C.T. (1978). Fetal malnutrition: an experimental study of its consequences in two caregiving environments. Child Development. 49, 1155-1162.

G. Justus Hofmeyr, MRCOG

The author is Professor and head, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Coronation Hospital and University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Address correspondence to: G.J. Hofmeyr, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, 7 York Rd., Parktown 2193, Johannesburg, South Africa.