Advocating alcohol abstinence to pregnant women: Some observations about British policy

Lee, Ellie J. and Lowe, Pam K. (2010) Advocating alcohol abstinence to pregnant women: Some observations about British policy. Health, Risk & Society, 12 (4). pp. 301-311. ISSN 1369-8575. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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In 2007, the English Department of Health (DH) issued advice stating 'pregnant woman' and 'those trying to conceive' should abstain from drinking alcohol. As others have noted, this advice was issued despite their being no new evidence about the deleterious effects of low levels of alcohol consumption. In this paper, we argue this development is significant for the social construction of 'risk', since in advocating abstinence without an evidence base for this advice, policy makers formalise a connection between uncertainty and danger. We suggest this development has important implications, most obviously for pregnant women, certainly impacting on the nature of the advice they will now receive and likely more generally on their experience of the transition to motherhood. We suggest it has wider implications for individuals' experience also, as policy makers appear to be advocating the same approach to risk to non-pregnant people. Further, it suggests a noteworthy formalisation of a new definition of risk, which should be debated far more extensively, as it matters for the future development of health policy.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Ellie Lee
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2010 17:02
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2014 10:40
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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