How to teach pregnant women not to drink
"Concerned health professionals" (as we have started to call them..doctors and nurses to you and me) have been wondering about just how sensible it is for the Health Service to accept cash from an alcohol company (Diageo) to train midwives to train pregnant women not to hit the bottle. Diageo are apparently coming up with something close to £1,000,000 to teach 10,000 midwives to explain to their 'mums' about the dangers of mixing alcohol and gestation.
It was hard not to symathise with the doctors and nurses. That is to say, it was hard not to come to the conclusion that (however sincere Diageo might be about getting these women to be abstemious for 9 months) it was actually in their commercial interest to encourage them to go back to it afterwards. ("You should quit until it's born, my dear, but after that you'll really need to drown your sorrows in a gin and tonic... that's the only way you can survive with a young baby....take my advice.."). How does that figure with objective health advice?
But my objections to this were rather different. Why on earth do you need a million quid to teach midwives to discourage alcohol consumption?
I mean, they are sensible, professional and often very experienced people. The idea that too much alcohol isnt a good idea in pregnancy isnt exactly new. (When I was pregnant 30 years ago, the propoganda against booze was at its most Stalinist . . . I was so terrified about the alcohol I had consumed before I realised that I was pregnant, that my sensible GP had to reassure me that (in Cambridge at least) the conception of most babies was alcohol assisted, and that anyway the best correlate with a baby's health was parental income, not consumption of anything).
So maybe Diageo could just provide these 10,000 midwives with a sheet of A4 updating them on recent research -- and leave them to get on with it. And then spend the rest of the million pounds on something more useful.