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Anti-drinking while pregnant ad slammed

An advert encouraging pregnant women to refrain from drinking while pregnant has been criticised as “offensive and wrong”.

Liquor Control Board of Ontario

The advert, commissioned by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), features a naked women holding a sign through which her pregnant belly protrudes surrounded by the word “love” with the tagline “Love your body, love your baby. Don’t drink while pregnant”.

The adverts were displayed in a number of stores in partnership with FASworld Canada, an organisation set up to prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

However the advert prompted one Canadian mother to make an official complaint to the LCBO calling the campaign “condescending”, as reported by Canada’s Global News.

Speaking to the news site Laura Jamer said: “I thought the message behind it was very condescending and that it implied if you have a glass of wine, it meant you didn’t love your body, and it meant you didn’t love your baby, which is really what I take issue with. It’s the way that this is put forward.”

In making her case, Jamer said there was no evidence to suggest drinking is bad, yet there’s research to show that it’s good, referring to research in April that suggested expectant mothers could drink about two units a week without putting their baby at risk.

As reported by Time, the study suggested there was no difference between children whose mothers drank and those who did not during pregnancy, adding that boys born to “light drinkers” had fewer behavioural problems and higher reading skills.

Jamer said the ad “encourages the general public to shame and judge mothers who are having a glass of wine” citing the case of a Toronto waiter who recently refused to serve a pregnant women.

Pregnant women who drink “to excess” are clearly putting their babies at risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, however Jamer said the campaign was unlikely to effectively target that group of women stating that “those people have bigger issues going on in their lives where a light guilt-ridden campaign is not going to make a difference to their drinking.”

Responding to her complaint, the LCBO said: The campaign is not intended to cause anxiety or worry among customer who have just learned about a pregnancy, nor is it our intent to cause any feeling of discomfort or judgement among female customers who may be shopping while pregnant. We regret any unintended offence this campaign may have caused.”

The NHS’s current advice for pregnant mothers is drink no more than one or two units of alcohol (equivalent to one small glass of wine), once or twice a week.

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