A few days ago, a pregnant woman was denied entrance to a movie theater in China, prompting a huge buzz on the net. The reason given by the theater? Movies are bad for the fetus.
According to Chinese news sources, the incident happened at the end of September in the city of Fuzhou in Fujian Province. The 8-months-pregnant Ms. Lin went to a movie theater in a shopping center and purchased a ticket. But when she handed over the ticket to enter the theater, she was apologetically told by a confused staff member that “we don’t allow pregnant women to see movies here.”
The shocked Ms. Lin responded that as she was going to see a movie based on a literary work, it was hardly likely to cause her any mental strain or distress, but the staff responded that it wasn’t the content of the movie, but the volume that was an issue. The staff is reported to have said that the loud audio could damage an unborn child’s hearing and suggested that Ms. Lin return after giving birth.
On returning home, Ms. Lin took to the net to voice her displeasure and find out if there was any truth to the claim of fetal hearing damage. Her post invited a flurry of replies, from the negative “I went to movies all the time when I was pregnant and it wasn’t a problem at all!” to the positive “The noise does have an effect on the baby. Some theaters have sound-absorbing cushions for pregnant mothers. You should ask around.” But mostly the response was just surprised claims that they had never heard such a thing.
The head of maternity and gynecology at Fujian’s First Affiliated Hospital responded to a request for comment, saying, “Claims that visiting a movie theater can damage a fetus’s hearing are exaggerated,” though he did advise that expectant mothers limit their movie attendance as much as possible because the audio in movie theaters has a considerable impact on the mother’s emotional state. He additionally warned against the recent trend in placing a cell phone on top of the belly to play music for the baby.
Seems like a bit of a mixed message. Anyone out there in the interwebs know anything about this?