Wednesday, 22 May 2013

An Appendix to "The Only Solution"

If you’ve come to this page first, read the original piece here. And while you’re at it, read some of the other stuff on there… it’s pretty good!

Just in case you’re concerned, that was intended to be satirical...

Although every piece of research referenced in that article was real, and the findings are often robust, it is patently absurd to worry expectant mothers by telling them that what they are doing is wrong. Regardless of the fairly minimal effects of many of the “significant influences” I referred to (3 IQ points? WHO THE HELL CARES?), the traits being discussed are in most cases incredibly complex, such that our current understanding of the basis of any one of them is sketchy at best. The Maily Dail today carried a headline of “Women who drink organic milk in pregnancy could be harming their baby's IQ”. The most important words there are “could be”; organic milk contains less iodine than non-organic (due to farming processes beyond my ken), but that doesn’t make drinking it bad for the foetus. Besides which, the role of genetics, and post-natal environment is so much greater that the effect is largely swallowed (again – 3 points).

While “doing the right thing”, such as eating healthily, will be better for your child, and in some cases better for you as an expectant mother, the stress of being demonised for your actions is just as bad. In short, the guidelines provided by the Department of Health (which are pretty sane, really) are just that. Maybe cut out the bottle of whisky and eight cigars a night, though.  

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