Pregnancy warnings on alcohol

Stuff reported:

New Zealand women’s apathy towards to the dangers of drinking during pregnancy is strengthening calls from health professionals for mandatory labelling on alcoholic drinks.

Research published in the New Zealand Medical Journal earlier this year found almost a quarter of women involved in a cohort study continued to drink in their first trimester despite knowing they were pregnant.

The Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation, made up of health and primary industry ministers representing the Commonwealth, Australia, and New Zealand, will meet on Thursday to vote on a proposal to make danger stickers mandatory on booze. …

But Brewers Association of New Zealand executive director Dylan Firth said the proposal seemed odd, given most alcohol companies already displayed warning labels on their products.

The association, whose members DB Breweries and Lion produce more than 80 per cent of New Zealand-brewed beer, made changes to labelling a few years ago warning of the dangers of drinking during pregnancy.

I haven’t got a problem with pregnancy warnings on alcohol. I note they are very common already.

But I am far from convinced they have any beneficial impact.

First you’d have to believe that there is a knowledge gap, in that pregnant women don’t already know they shouldn’t drink while pregnant. Considering this is hammered home in almost every pregnancy publication there is, I’d say it is very well known.

Second you’d have to believe that having a small pictogram on a bottle will cause a woman to suddenly realise she shouldn’t be drinking, and stop.

“The Ministry of Health estimates that one in 100 babies is born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and that’s caused by exposure to alcohol in the womb. We think it’s ridiculous to argue that warnings are unnecessary or that the tiny warnings currently on the back of less than half of all alcohol products are sufficient.”

It is tragic when babies are born with FASD. But I’m not sure the issue if the mother doesn’t know she shouldn’t drink, more she doesn’t care.

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