Outrage After NHS Guidance Suggests Pregnant Women Should 'Make A Fuss' Of Partner At 22 Weeks
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Let’s face it – as much as it’s a blessing to be pregnant, it’s also damn hard work.
But while we’re left carrying the baby (in every sense of the word), official NHS guidelines have urged women to make sure they’re making a ‘special fuss’ of their partner too, so they don’t feel “overlooked” by the pregnancy.
"Partners can get a bit overlooked sometimes – to be fair, they're not lugging a baby around in their belly, but they may be feeling nervous and not sure how they fit into the picture,” the website reads.
"Could you try cooking a special meal? Here are some tasty recipes you could try."
The website goes on to explain that around the 22-week mark is the best time to do this, and offers links to recipes for fish and chips, fruit crumble and curry so women can cook their partners up a “treat”.
Don’t mind us while we scrape our jaws from off the floor.
Naturally, we weren’t the only people who were shocked, with Joeli Brearley, a maternity discrimination advocate shared her fury over the advice which she says perpetuates negative gender stereotypes.
Mum-of-two Joeli, from York, who founded campaign group ‘Pregnant and Screwed’ in 2015 said in an Instagram post: “The first says that pregnant women with pelvic floor pain should get ‘help’ from their partner suggesting that the housework is a woman’s responsibility.
"Yes, we know that women do 60 per cent more of the domestic labour (including almost three times the caring) so it is likely that most women will have to ask for help, but phrasing it this way only entrenches & perpetuates that gender stereotype, thereby ensuring women continue to do the lion’s share of the housework.”
She continued that this advice would make men seem like they’re only “helpers” and not “equal partners in the raising of their kids.”
Joeli added: "Wouldn’t it be better to say: ‘if you don’t have a partner who can do the housework, then ask for support from family and friends.’
“The second slide made me actually gasp.
"This is generic advice for pregnant women, again on the @nhsengland website, which suggests they should make their partner a fancy meal to ensure they don’t feel left out!
"If your partner feels ‘overlooked’ because you’re pregnant, then they might want to consider paying for their own counselling."
Hundreds of people supported her outrage.
One wrote: "I couldn't enter the kitchen for most of my pregnancy for fear of throwing up.
"Not sure how I would've managed to cook a ''fancy meal."
Another remarked: "Well, that's written and approved by a panel of men."
A third questioned: "What the f*ck is this country actually about?"
NHS England has been approached for comment.