NHS suggests pregnant women "make a fuss" of partners so they don't feel "overlooked"
The advice has attracted a considerable (and understandable) amount of backlash.
Women in the UK are reacting to a bizarre piece of advice given by the National Health Service which advises pregnant people to "make a fuss of their partner" so that they don't feel "overlooked".
Yep, you read that right: the official NHS advice instructs women who are 22 weeks pregnant to cook their partners' favourite meals, and includes a selection of recipes to try out.
The website reads: "This could be a good week to make a fuss of your partner.
"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."
To help partners feel more involved, the NHS bizzarely asks women if they could "try cooking a special meal?"
Elsewhere, the website suggests pregnant women "get help with household chores from your partner, family and friends."
One person objecting to the guidance was blogger and mother of two Joeli Brearley. Taking to Instagram, Brearley explained how the advice positions women as the person who bears the most responsibility for housework, while suggesting that partners are merely 'helpers' rather than being equally responsible.
She writes: "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 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.'"
As for the recommendation that pregnant people "make a fuss" of their partners, Brearley said: "If your partner feels ‘overlooked’ because you’re pregnant, then they might want to consider paying for their own counselling."