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World Health Organisation Says Women Of Childbearing Age Should Be Prevented From Drinking Alcohol

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World Health Organisation Says Women Of Childbearing Age Should Be Prevented From Drinking Alcohol

The World Health Organisation has warned that women of childbearing age should be encouraged to avoid drinking alcohol.

The organisation made the claim in its latest Global Alcohol Action Plan, which lays out the harm that alcohol can do, and seeks to urge countries to raise awareness as a means of 'prevention'.

In the first draft, it states that "appropriate attention" must be paid to preventing those of childbearing age drinking, alongside pregnant women and children.

The draft suggests that alcohol can be responsible for reduced mental health, damaged relationships, violence and an increase in disease.

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"One of the most dramatic manifestations of harm to persons other than drinkers is pre-natal alcohol exposure and the development of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders," it says.

The WHO has laid out a warning (Credit: Shutterstock)
The WHO has laid out a warning (Credit: Shutterstock)

Symptoms listed in the document include learning and behavioural issues, poor growth, and distinct facial features.

The plan also suggests that one way to raise awareness of this would be a 'world no alcohol day/week', in which the dangers would be spoken about and acknowledged globally.

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"Appropriate attention should be given to prevention of the initiation of drinking among children and adolescents, prevention of drinking among pregnant women and women of childbearing age, and protection of people from pressures to drink," the draft continues.

On top of this, Chief Medical Officers in the UK have advised that not drinking at all if you're pregnant, or even trying to get pregnant, is the the 'safest approach'.

The WHO has warned of the dangers of alcohol (Credit: Matthew Horwood/Shutterstock)
The WHO has warned of the dangers of alcohol (Credit: Matthew Horwood/Shutterstock)

However, speaking to the Daily Mail, bar industry big-wigs were not impressed with the draft.

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Matt Lambert, who represents the UK alcohol trade body, Portman Group, said he thought the proposal was "extremely [concerning]."

"As well as being sexist and paternalistic, and potentially restricting the freedoms of most women, it goes well beyond their remit and is not rooted in science," he said.

Reaction on Twitter is all too similar.

"Wow. While I agree that children and pregnant women should not drink, but to BAN women of child bearing age from drinking? Never heard anything so sexist! Good luck with that @WHO," one woman wrote.

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Credit: Twitter
Credit: Twitter
Credit: Twitter
Credit: Twitter
Credit: Twitter
Credit: Twitter
Credit: Twitter
Credit: Twitter
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Credit: Twitter
Credit: Twitter

While another penned: "Stop only valuing women for their ability to reproduce PLS (sic)".

A third joked: "Leave me and my pornstar martinis alone pls tenks x (sic)", as a fourth added: "How do you think we get pregnant".

Chipping in on the debate, another wrote: "How about women of childbearing age make up their own minds on what they do with their bodies?"

There were some who thought all the uproar was a bit too far, though.

"Not even that deep man, this country's bondage to alcohol is mad," one wrote.

According to the NHS website, experts are still unsure about the exact amount of alcohol that is unsafe to drink while pregnant.

Dr Richard Piper, Chief Executive of Alcohol Change UK told the Mail: "It's important that people understand these risks - but also vital that we balance this against each adult's right to make informed decisions about what we do with our bodies, no matter our age or sex".

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: News, women, Alcohol, Health

Joanna Freedman
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