Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Advice for those with a pre-child - don't take any advice

Want my advice on pregnancy advice? Don't give it. A recent article in the guardian talks about how much of the advice on what to avoid while pregnant has no factual basis. For instance no studies support the need to completely abstain from alcohol while pregnant. (Obviously binge drinking is out, but that is not what we are talking about). From the article:

"All this despite the fact that a study in 2006 by the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology concluded that there was no convincing evidence of adverse effects of prenatal alcohol exposure at low to moderate levels, where moderate was defined as 10.5 units per week (but, the study author Dr Robert Fraser reminds us, not at one sitting, obviously)."

Further in the article the author discusses the unsupported advice about avoiding deli meats, soft chesses, etc. because if you get listeriosis the fetus could be brain damaged. from the article:

"Now, listeriosis is an incredibly serious disease, with extremely serious symptoms, taken extremely seriously by epidemiologists nationwide. Get it without noticing it? If I got listeriosis, the national papers would know about it. It would be the third outbreak that has occurred in this country in the past 20 years."

I would guess that 3 cases in 20 years in a country the size of Great Britain represents a small chance. But do you want to take that chance with your baby? (Sarcasm intended for the last statement).

The article covers the shaky data about avoiding the following things while pregnant:
  • alcohol
  • rinded cheese, goat's cheese, pâté, terrines and rillettes, sushi, sashimi and artisan-smoked fish and bagged salad, due to listeria hysteria
  • changing the cat litter due to toxoplasmosis
  • caffeine (studies show no significant difference between caf and de-caf drinkers babies)
Linking any type of behavior to pregnant woman is a sure way to get your message heard in the hysteria ridden climate of our times. Apparently pregnant woman shouldn't use cell phones either or they will have difficult children. This rant covers the shaky conclusion, based on shaky data.


Smoking while pregnant is probably still bad. (from the Fail blog).