Wednesday 5 June 2013

Guidelines - A Pinch Of Salt?

I spent this morning browsing the news as I do most mornings, but today something really grabbed my attention. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has just published a report giving advice and guidelines to pregnant women, you can read an article on the BBC news web site here which just covers the basics of the full report that was issued.

This morning whilst eating breakfast, I had a phone call from my good friends over at BBC Radio Leicester asking if I had an opinion on the report in question; of course I did, so happily took part in a radio discussion which you can listen to here. My part starts at 16 minutes and 35 seconds in. 

I have spent some time reading the report today in greater detail and I have to say I am amazed at some of the things that have been detailed within it. In particular advice is now given about cosmetics, moisturisers, new furniture and cars, cleaning products and air fresheners; the list really does go on and on, I did wonder if this was some kind of joke as it really is that long. 

If I were to have a third child and followed the latest advice then I would probably have to spent the entire 9 months of the pregnancy wrapped up in cotton wool in a sterile room, seeing no-one and eating very little, as what surprised me the most was that they were now issuing advice about being careful when having food from plastic containers; how is it even possible to avoid this? Everything pretty much comes in some form of plastic material, whether that be the fruit and vegetables to a pot of yoghurt or microwave meal! Surely if the plastic used to store and transport food is so harmful, then why is it still being used? Does that mean that there are concerns for the health of the general public? Am I putting myself or my girls at risk by giving them a microwave meal for example? 

To eat or not? 

To me the advice is odd and bizarre and to be honest I would think it was some form of Aprils fools joke had it not be coming from The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Ironically, the Royal college of midwives are not in agreement with the guidelines and according to their press release, they see this as not really being advice but instead helping to lead a pregnant women into a sense of panic; to be honest I agree with them completely. The report also does not detail the risks in any great depth and has no scientific proof or weighting to it at all. Surely it would have been better to do some proper research before making pregnant women panic? I would love to know what you think. 

When I was expecting Ruby, I was informed at my initial booking in appointment with my community midwife that I was not allowed to eat soft boiled eggs, but the odd glass of wine was perfectly acceptabl;e however fast forward three years and the advice had changed again when I was expecting Lottie, I was informed that I could now eat soft boiled eggs but should not consume any alcohol. The guidelines seem to be changing far too often and its no wonder why pregnant women don't know what to believe and if they should follow it or just take it with a pinch of salt.

At the end of the day, I made choices within my pregnancy to eat brie, soft boiled eggs and drink a small glass of wine every so often. It has done no harm to my girls and I made the decisions I did based on research and also speaking with my mum and discussing with her what she did during her pregnancies with me and my siblings. I also suffered from hyperemesis during both pregnancies and there were very few foods I could actually eat without being sick; one kind doctor just said to me to eat what I could and not too worry about as the baby will take whatever they need from you, when I went to see him to discuss the lack of variety in diet and sickness. 

If a friend was to ask me for some advice on the recent guidelines, I would tell her to take them with a pitch of salt, do their own research and then make up her own mind. Would I follow the recent guidelines? Based on what I have read today then the answer is easy for me - no. What is your opinion?


  1. No I wouldn't... the trouble is there is something new every day that we shouldn't be doing or eating. Honestly it drives me mad, I think there are certain things that are common sense and other things that are so bizarre I can't understand the reasoning. I wouldn't be worrying about it all.