28 March 2008

Yes, you can? No, actually you can't.

As I've already had a few rants about alcohol in pregnancy, it perhaps comes as no surprise that the British National Institude for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is advising pregnant women to avoid drinking completely in the first three months of pregnancy and to be very strict with drinking in the months following.

Whilst there is no definite or consistent evidence of harm to the foetus if a pregnant woman has one glass of wine per week, for instance, it seems a blanket ban on drinking is the preferred method of 'managing' pregnant women because clearly they cannot manage their own bodies themselves.

It's not my place here to debate whether women should drink or not...that is an individual choice; however, what I will say is that I find it SO incredibly offensive that pregnant women are continually instructed on how to be pregnant the 'right' way and no one ever talks about the behaviour of partners (particularly, male partners).

A new study in Birth reveals that men often do not change their negative lifestyle habits such as drug use or smoking and drinking when their partners are pregnant. The researchers argue that it is critical to get partners on board because if a male partner continues to binge drink or smoke, for instance, a pregnant woman will be less inclined to diminish those negative behaviours herself.

"Reductions in substance use among young fathers, both during their partner's pregnancy and after the birth of their child, would likely increase the probability that mothers will relapse to use postpartum, and reduce children's exposure to harmful substance use in the home environment," the researchers conclude.

Seriously, if women are supposed to stop smoking and drinking for the 'health' of the foetus, why in the world is it acceptable to absolve partners of responsibility for their lifestyle choices?

What do you think?

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The Baby Bump Project by Meredith Nash is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.