Advice to pregnant women on drinking ‘patronising and sexist’

Dr Ellie Lee, Director of the University’s Centre for Parenting Culture Studies (CPCS), and member of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies of Reproduction (CISoR) says advice given to pregnant women about drinking may cause more harm than good.

Speaking at a conference in Canterbury on 19 May, Dr Lee said that official advice about drinking alcohol in pregnancy had gone down an ‘overtly precautionary route’.

Evidence suggesting that the odd drink, or even more than that, has no impact on child outcomes is interpreted as ‘insufficiently robust’ and any level of drinking is now associated with ‘possible harm’, Dr Lee told her audience.

Dr Lee’s speech was covered extensively in the media, including articles in the Guardian and Mirror newspapers and a television news feature on BBC South East.

During her interview, during the main BBC South East 6.30pm news programme, Dr Lee described the government’s advice to pregnant women as ‘patronising’ and ‘sexist’.

Dr Ellie Lee interviewed by BBC South East/Photo: Press Office UoK

The conference, entitled Policing Pregnancy: Who Should be a Mother? was organised jointly by CPCS, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Birthrights, and Engaging Sociology at Canterbury Christ Church University, which hosted the event.