Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Head To Head

Should women abstain from alcohol throughout pregnancy?

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 06 October 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5232

Rapid Response:

Women should not go to the movies during pregnancy.

Going to the movies a few times during pregnancy may seem harmless. But it involves spending time in traffic to get there. The serious harms of spending time in traffic is well documented, also for fetuses, and there is no safe lower limit of exposure. While there, to my knowledge, is no direct evidence that the small amount of exposure to trafic on the way to the movies is harmful to pregnant women or fetuses, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and there is plenty of indirect evidence, in particular from members of the opposite sex in the same age range as the soon-to-be mother. As going to the movies is not a necessary activity, we need to develop guidelines explaining the risks of moviegoing to pregnant women and advise strongly against any such activity. Even a very small risk is not worth taking when the circumstances are that the activity is not absolutely necessary, Think of the children!

What naysayers to advising clearly against moviegoing for pregnant women fail to recognise is that the ONLY concern in public health is reducing very small risks ever further. Quality of life is of no concern.

Competing interests: No competing interests

22 October 2015
Karsten Juhl Jørgensen
Senior researcher