Pregnancy and the pitfalls of the ‘teachable moment’ 

Tuesday 11 October 2002, on Zoom.

Introduced by Dr Abigail Locke

This was a joint event with CRRC’s Alcohol and Pregnancy Research Network and will be on Zoom. Abigail discussed the ideas set out in her recent paper, ‘Putting the ‘teachable moment’ in context: A view from critical health psychology’.


The concept of ‘Teachable Moment’ (TM) is an increasingly used term within mainstream health psychology in relation to interventions and health behaviour change. It refers to a naturally occurring health event where individuals may be motivated to change their behaviours from unhealthy ones to healthier choices. Pregnancy is seen as a key time for behaviour change interventions, partly due to the idea that the mother has increased motivations to protect her unborn child.

This paper proposes a Critical Health Psychological (CHP) re-examination of the concept and explores the ‘teachable moment’ within a wider framing of contemporary parenting ideologies in order to offer a more critical, nuanced and contextual consideration of pregnancy and the transition to motherhood. The paper locates these discussions using an example of alcohol usage in pregnancy. In doing so, this paper is the first of its kind to consider the ‘teachable moment’ from a critical health psychological perspective.