Post # 1
I was reading the abstaining from alcohol thread and it just reminded me how upset I was during my pregnancy about all the warnings and lists of foods and activities we have to avoid. FWIW, ladies, there is very VERY low risk that anything bad will happen to your baby even if you eat lunch meat and soft cheese regularly (like I did) throughout your pregnancy. The same goes for occasional consumption of alcohol, cured meats, and sushi. I have major problems with the way doctors treat pregnant women in this country. As my mommy blog hero, Amalah, put it:
“we’re somewhere between ultra-valuable and delicate Ming vases and complete hayseed dumbasses who can’t be expected to understand concepts like “pasteurization” so they tell us just to avoid “soft cheese” even though the texture of the cheese has NOTHING TO DO WITH IT….A lot of the warnings seem to be based on the idea that women aren’t responsible enough to understand MODERATION.”
Basically, we’re given a lot of confusing, contradictory misinformation and then forced to turn to message boards and the internet to make sense of what we hear. I’ve seen posts on other boards with women asking if they can eat cream cheese and if their shampoo is pregnancy safe. I’d suggest doing a lot of research on your own and finding out the actual risk of contracting listeriosis/rate of fetal alcohol syndrome and making a decision about what to consume based on your own comfort level. For example, although I feel that a glass of wine every now and then is ok during pregnancy, it was easier for me personally to abstain totally (hard to stop at one!), but knowing that the odds were against my contracting listeriosis, I felt ok indulging in a spicy italian from Subway when I was *really* craving it.
It’s just astonishing to me how risk averse our society has become. And it doesn’t stop after the baby is born. Don’t even get me started on SIDS. And if you feed your baby anything other than breastmilk people act like you may as well be pureeing big macs and serving them up in a bottle. I’ve seen other new moms on other boards say that their pediatricians have told them not to allow anyone other than mom and dad to hold the baby. Can you imagine telling your mother she can’t hold your baby?! Better safe than sorry, or, worse, “The most important thing is a healthy baby,” have become mantras among pregnant women and their caregivers, but we’ve carried it to the point that we’re totally neurotic and obsessing over little things that probably don’t really matter or make all that big of a difference in the long run.
Post # 3
I could not agree with you more. I think all the restrictions that are placed on pregnant women are a bit ridiculous. Really it’s all about using common sense and doing a little bit of independent research. I try really hard not to judge other people’s decisions regarding pregnancy and parenthood, as long as they aren’t doing something obviously stupid or abusive, my philosophy is to live and let live. I think that each and every one of us should take the time to educate ourselves and make the best and most informed decisions that we can… but it’s also important to also listen to our bodies and our hearts.
Post # 4
I agree with you. There needs to be more education and less “ohh, so and so is doing this!”
SIDS is something that I think people hold onto because it is so so scary. R’s little cousin died from SIDS and it’s just…. awful. To say the least. So I think there’s this huge panic surrounding it.
Post # 5
Snaps! I couldn’t agree more and I don’t even have kids. Please start a blog. I’l follow you 🙂
Post # 6
I TOTALLY agree. The things that “they” warn pregnant women about are SOO ridiculous. If these things were really so bad, and so dangerous, why aren’t there millions upon millions of people suffering from the repercussions of “soft cheese”, salami, and wine consumed by their poor, ignorant mothers? Pregnant women have been enjoying those things from the beginning of time, so why isn’t our entire population over the age of 20 suffering from FAS??
Post # 7
I think a lot of this advice is to try to avoid the guilt that women feel when they have a stillbirth or when their two month old dies from SIDS. You can dismiss almost any of the cautions people give you, right up until something happens, and then you never forgive yourself.
I think that doctors put out a lot of information that people simply ignore, pregnancy is just looked at as different because you’re not just endangering yourself. But nothing is illegal, just ill advised. But women still choose to ignore it anyway and smoke and drink and play on trampolines. Just like people choose to ignore advice about weight and heart disease management. I’m not really bothered by all the info. To each his own, and everyone makes the decisions that they can choose to live with.
ADD: FAS has been a known complication of drinking while pregnant since biblical times. Drinking a certain amount during a certain time period of the pregnancy will give your child FAS. It’s not a risk, it is a cause and effect, one will cause the other.
Post # 8
Why can’t you eat lunch meat or soft cheese when you’re pregnant?
Post # 9
@lnewbiecici: Listeriosis. Soft cheeses, undercooked meats, deli meats, etc., are more likely to harbor listeria. For most healthy adults, it’s a danger, but not deadly. For pregnant women and their babies, it’s a nightmare. It’s all about weighing the risks. Was I likely to eat something contaminated with listeria? No. But it was a lot easier for me to just avoid it for a few months and not worry so much.
And I’ll agree that it’s easier to be brave when you haven’t seen the amazing amount of things that can go wrong. I had a troubled pregnancy, birth, NICU stay, etc. To me, it was important to know that I did everything reasonably within my power to protect my babies and keep them safe and healthy. It’s a judgment call. I was cautious before all this happened. Now, after the NICU stay, I’m even more cautious. And we definitely kept the babies away from other people/germs as much as possible. My son was born with underdeveloped lungs, and was at serious risk for illness/infection (somewhat premature twins).
All of the recommendations aren’t gospel; but they’re worth serious consideration and exploration.
ETA: Not sure what the SIDS thing was about? We just made sure the babies’ cribs were clear of blankets, plush bumpers, etc. Again, for us, not a risk worth taking.
Post # 10
@newbiecici – You can get Listeria which can cause miscarriage or stillbirth. Only 2,500 people in US get it every year, but they tell pregnant women to avoid all things that could be risky. It’s very frustrating because so many things could contain listeria bacteria.
Post # 11
Great, great points 🙂 I would TOTALLY follow you on a blog!!!
Post # 12
yes, I am surprised when people give up lunch meat, etc, but why not take less than a minute to microwave it? for me, it’s worth the very minor inconvenience, and doesn’t mean I let “them” overly work me up
Post # 13
The reason they believe the risk is higher for pregnant women is because your body turns down your immune system when you’re pregnant so that you don’t attack the fetus. But this also means that you could get sick easier. That is why you aren’t supposed to change the kitty litter, because you are at higher risk of contracting toxoplasmosis from the poop. You aren’t supposed to eat lunch meats or soft cheeses like brie and feta because most are unpasteurized and could contain listeria. You don’t eat sushi for the same reason. When you’re pregnant, your body is less likely to recognize and attack this bacteria, even though it would be quite easy if you weren’t pregnant.
If you did contract one of these illnesses, you probably wouldn’t die, but your fetus very likely would or would develop secondary illnesses or birth defects from the illness.
Post # 14
I couldn’t agree more, Amandopolis! You rock!!!!
Post # 15
I agree that most things in moderation are OK.
But I personally won’t be taking chances with SIDS. Our 7 week old sleeps on his back at night…
Post # 16
@MrBee: SIDS scares me A LOT because my cousin died from SIDS. We are laying on the back as well! Also we aren’t laying her on anything soft like the couch to nap.