Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bad mother, bad, bad mother

Flicking over the ABC news feed I came across this.
A study has found one third of Australian women have admitted to drinking alcohol when pregnant - and most would do it again.
This irritates me. None of this stuff ever actually quotes any data to support that small quantities of alcohol can, in fact, harm an unborn baby. There is almost certainly more evidence for the dangers posed by vehicle emissions to unborn babies, but no-one says "motorists admit to driving near pregnant women and most would do it again."

If they really have convincing evidence, why are they not making it very clear? This reminds me of my favourite "bad mother" statistic ever - when I was in my pre-natal classes one of the stats rolled out was that mothers who use nitrous in labour have babies who are more likely to grow up to be drug addicts. The woman presenting the class was astonished when I burst out laughing. She looked truly puzzled when I questioned the methodology of the study. I can only begin to imagine what kind of fishing trip that study was.

For goodness sake, there must be a million greater threats to the well being of our children (like being allowed to live in poverty for example). These people need to get a grip - or of course they could put their data where their mouths are.


  1. Oh FFS....*headdesk*

    This kind of alarmist reporting makes me want to throw things.

    As for this:
    ...93 per cent said they knew alcohol could affect an unborn child.

    Dr Peadon says the findings will be used to develop public health campaigns to inform pregnant women about the dangers of drinking.

    If 93% already know, what do they need the public health campaign for?

  2. Erg! I hate those stories too.

    I will readily admit, I have 1-2 drinks per month when I am pregnant.

    I am much more concerned about the foods I eat than the occasional glass of wine. I try not to eat or drink foods with GMOs, artificial sweeteners, growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, etc. But of course, we don't talk about that. Heaven forbid we don't demonize the selfish mothers!

    The funny thing about that study is that I would readily admit that I know alcohol can affect the baby... but not in the quantities that I drink it... those studies are always skewed like that to get the results the researchers are looking for from the very beginning.

    -radical mama

  3. There was a great "study" that claimed that 2 drinks a day (or maybe less, I can't remember) resulted in IQ's that were on average 6 points lower than children of non-drinking mothers. Ignoring the myriad confounding factors, my results in IQ tests vary by more than 6 points, so I have trouble believing it is a devastating consequence....

  4. "... and would do so again". Aren't we shameless - we don't even care that we were bad mothers.

    I drank in both pregnancies - and lied about it to any doctor but my own lovely feminist GP - but like most women, I knew that a bottle of Jim Beam a day was probably a little excessive and goodness if I wasn't able to exercise some self control and imbibe moderately, occasionally.

    It's the implication that we can't be responsible and that we don't care about babies (cf. don't care for moralistic pseudo-science) that makes us all angry, I guess.

    And stats: they're trends across a population. You can find a relationship between all kinds of things, if you care to look for them.