Another stick to beat mothers with www.mindthebaby.ie Mind The Baby Blog

Another stick to beat mothers with

I’ve written before about the benefits of being rested in the run up to the birth of your baby and personally, I’m a big advocate of taking time off work before having a baby to get your head in the space and to rest, unwind and reserve your energy for the big day. In reality for a lot of mothers this is a luxury that they can’t afford, whether they’re trying to maximise the time they have at home with their baby once they arrive or simply due to financial constraints where it’s just not viable to be not working.

Another stick to beat mothers with www.mindthebaby.ie Mind The Baby Blog
photo credit: blinzelblinzel via photo pin cc

That’s why headlines like this and this really get my goat. Somebody’s PR machine issued a press release over the weekend about an article in the new issue of The Journal of Labour Economics by researchers from the University of Essex who claim that women who work past eight months into their pregnancy have lower birth weight babies. We’ve a small problem here in that the press release has received blanket global coverage which draws heavily on the line “working after eight months of pregnancy is as harmful for babies as smoking” but unfortunately there’s no sign of the full press release anywhere or indeed the original research itself which would appear to be only available to subscribers of The Journal of Labour Economics.

So we don’t actually know if the research draws a direct comparison to women who smoke during pregnancy or even if the smoking line comes straight from the press release. Any quotes are from one of the researchers, Professor Marco Francesconi, and he doesn’t seem to have made the smoking reference himself.

One more stick to beat mothers with.

Seriously. If you are going to claim that working at the end of your pregnancy is the same as SMOKING CIGARETTES all through your pregnancy, then let’s see the evidence please! And if the evidence exists, then Governments across the world need to legislate now to make it the law that women will receive additional maternity leave to cover the end of their pregnancy because if it’s true, then you might as well be putting fags into the hands of pregnant women everywhere.

A significant majority of women have to work right up to the end of their pregnancies. This is because society and economics have made it so. Don’t make them feel bad when they’re already wrecked and dying to finish up so they can meet their baby. Fix it.

2 thoughts on “Another stick to beat mothers with”

  1. Well said! All too often these articles are printed leaving mothers with plenty of guilt and no solutions. I think it’s the same for the articles bashing formula-feeding. The women I know who feel the strongest guilt about formula feeding are the ones for whom breastfeeding didn’t work out. And often it was through bad advice or lack of support. But all the articles do is reinforce the guilt, and they don’t provide any solutions. Sounds like the reporting on this research is following the same lines.

  2. Thanks Lisa! They’re just nice easy articles to ream off when the press release comes in to a busy under-resourced newsroom. I’m sure little thinking goes into the impact and the influence they might have on pregnant women. One more to add to all the evil things that women do to their children – shame on us! 😉

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