Kate Hawkesby: Finally some crystal clear advice about drinking while pregnant

Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 13 November 2018, 8:05a.m.
It advises zero alcohol while pregnant - 'no alcohol equals no risk.' Photo / Getty Images

Another campaign aimed at stopping pregnant women from drinking alcohol has fired up.

It advises zero alcohol while pregnant - 'no alcohol equals no risk.' It’s a good tagline because it’s crystal clear, which it hasn't always been.

When I was pregnant the messages were blurred. Some would advise that whether to drink alcohol or not was up to you, some would say none is best, some would argue maybe just cut back and a glass or two a week should be fine.

There wasn't anything definitive though.

Despite the mixed advice, I did what I wanted, I cut alcohol out entirely, I even cut out coffee, but that’s the point, isn’t it? People will do with information what they like.

Messages like this, much like the anti-smoking mantras, will only reach a select few.

They will only be listened to by a select few. They will only be believed by a select few.

Because no matter how often you tell some people or warn some people of the dangers to themselves or others of doing something, they’ll still do it.

It’s why smokers still buy packets of cigarettes despite the gruesome pictures on the front.

Should the fact the messages often get ignored mean we should stop running campaigns though? Of course not. It’s the old adage of, “even if it helps just one person..”

The problem with the messages around drinking and pregnancy is that, one, they’ve been so mixed for so long - that a lot is left up to the individual to work out, and two, pregnancy is such a unique and personal experience for each person.

When you’re pregnant you’re inundated with advice, and do-gooders telling you how you should be living your life - what you should be eating, whether or not you should be dyeing your hair, how much rest you should be getting.

It can be overwhelming.

I don't believe any woman sets out intentionally to harm her baby, but it's no wonder women often opt to make up their own minds about what works for their own bodies.

There've always been camps on pregnancy and caffeine, pregnancy and alcohol, pregnancy and certain foods.

Women have often had to walk a tightrope trying to decipher it.

But alcohol, we now know, is completely out.

Will this latest campaign work in hitting that message home?
It’s worth a shot.

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