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If you can’t say something helpful…

The saying goes that if you can’t say something helpful you shouldn’t say anything at all… perhaps the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists needs a quick reminder?  Or perhaps pregnant women need better advice?

Their latest advice to pregnant women suggests that they shouldn’t ‘wrap themselves up in a bubble’ but also flags that there could be dangers lurking in toiletries, food packaging, paint fumes, tinned food and ready meals

The trouble seems to be that society can’t decide if pregnancy is business as normal and not an illness or whether the second you conceive you suddenly become a walking womb and unable to make even the most basic decision yourself

Pregnant women are obviously going to be keen to protect and do the best thing for their unborn baby but just warning them off ‘toiletries’ creates far more confusion than explaining which chemicals might pose a risk, what the risk is and the likelihood of it being an issue – how about comparing the exposure to the risks of radiation and chemicals from taking a flight? Or traveling on the tube? Or crossing the road and inhaling exhaust fumes?

The cynical part of me wonders if this is yet another ruse to worm more money out of worried expectant parents by preying on their worries – can we expect a range of authorised ‘safe’ toiletries to hit the shelves shortly along with unborn-baby-safe nursery paints and ready meals?

Or perhaps this is another attempt to force women to embrace nature during their pregnancy by making wearing make up the new consumption of alcohol? And let us remember exactly how badly put together the advice in relation to alcohol consumption is

Either way we need to start treating pregnant women like the intelligent, capable, caring mothers they are going to be and less like brain dead walking wombs who are incapable of making a reasoned decision and who should be prevented from carrying on and enjoying a normal life

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5 comments to If you can’t say something helpful…

  • Do you know it is miracle that any of us ever get born let alone grow up! Between one chidl and another a gap of only three years they had compeletly changed everything around where once I was able to have a glass of wine then I wasn’t then I cuold eat pate then I coudl not inthe end I just gave up and had what I liked and both my boys are fine!
    My Nan said ” Everything in moderation” – a vry good rule to live by I think!

    • Hannah Brewer

      EXACTLY not only are they horribly inconsistent (turns out sushi is now ok… not that I’m bitter about having avoided one of my favourite things)

      Everything in moderation is a great moto – we all know a bottle of vodka a day is bad for you (let alone when pregnant) but the odd glass of wine can be a good thing

  • My absolutely favourite book when I was pregnant with L in the dim and distant past of 2006 was called something like “How safe is my baby?”.

    And all it did was, in each of several chapters, explain to you the research that had been done into each of various risks and the statistical chances of damaging your baby if you did x, y or z. No conclusions were drawn, you were just left to make up your own mind.

    I loved it so much I sent it to a friend and the Royal Mail lost it.

    And now, looking for it online, knowing only what I *think* it was called, I can’t find it and suspect it must be out of print. A huge shame. It should be required reading for anyone with half a brain cell and a fat tummy…

    • Hannah Brewer

      Now that sounds like a perfectly sensible book – information that you can then use to work out YOUR view on what works for you – much much better than unfocused ‘do nothing’ and ‘touch nothing’

  • I thought it was ridiculous. “Cut down your use of a non-stick frying pan”. Well, is a non-stick frying pan safe or not? If not, then why are we using them, pregnant or non-pregnant?

    The Today programme had someone on from an organisation called “Sense About Science” to speak. I can’t remember what she said, but I was so thrilled that an organisation with that name exists! We’ve got ourselves into a ludicrous situation, where “evidence” is everything, but common sense is out of the window. Evidence is only useful if we know how to use it. And it’s not useful when it’s half-baked and thrown out in an anxiety-inducing but meaningless way.

    Someone should weigh up the relative damage done on babies by (a) all the things on the usual list, and (b) the anxiety and guilt that the mother carries in her body as a result of all the “advice” thrown at her. I’m sure all that adrenalin, or whatever is the chemical that is produced, can’t be good for the developing foetus.

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