Tuesday 14 September 2004

yet another way to prove that you are a bad mother

The BBC reported yesterday, "There is no safe amount of alcohol that mothers-to-be can drink, experts believe." Headlines in various newspapers proclaimed similar messages in big bold print, telling us that even one glass of wine will harm our unborn children. Oh no, wait. Is that what the articles infer? Sorry, we actually meant to say: "We do not want to panic any woman who is pregnant and may have had a couple of drinks. The chances are their child will be fine. But there is a risk if you drink alcohol during pregnancy. The only way you can be certain is to abstain from alcohol." So does anyone actually know anything about this topic and have studies to back up some data? Or are we just playing the "We have no clue, so it's better to just scare the bejeezus out of everyone so they avoid it completely" game?

It's just like the peanuts theory. Mum eats peanuts during pregnancy. Child develops peanut allergy. Therefore, eating peanuts causes peanuts allergies. Mum has a child who develops a behavioural problem such as ADD. Mum adheres to the recommended one to two units of alcohol per week limit during pregnancy. Therefore, drinking even this small amount of alcohol might be directly related to her child's ADD. What about all the Mums with allergic children or children with ADD who didn't drink and never touched a peanut? Ah, it was probably due to that cleaning product she used, or that extra tin of tuna she had, or maybe it was from standing too close to the microwave.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Health said: "We would be interested to see any further research in to this area but current evidence does not justify changing our advice." Personally, I would be interested to see further research rather than add another item to the vast list of Things That You Should Avoid At All Costs during pregnancy. In the meantime, I will very happily enjoy my one unit of wine at my hen night and another during our wedding, thankyouverymuch.

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