The pregnancy list is endless. You know the one – the list of things you should and should not do. The rate and frequency at which people dish out advice to pregnant women you would think we only started doing this yesterday. Here is a list of my most annoying and somewhat confusing list of banned items from the eyeballs of a pregnant woman:
Anti-depressants – the medical establishment cautions women on taking these medications because the effects on fetuses are yet to be determined. However if your doctor decides you are batshit crazy and need to keep you on the meds throughout your pregnancy the best they can do is monitor the fetus for abnormalities. They call it weighing the risks and benefits. Rock and a hard place.
Pain killers – same as above. I have been going to prenatal rehab to manage pain and recently got a TENS unit (or what I like to call, ‘the zapper’) which works wonders. You attach electrodes to your body and shoot bits of electricity into your system to intercept brain signals. Very sci-fi but it works for me. All in all, staying away from pain meds has been a healthy thing for me but I wonder about other women without options like mine. What a shitty 40 weeks it would have been if I did not have the kind of support I have now.
Alcohol – oh I could write a book about this one. Everyone knows taking drugs and drinking during pregnancy can pose risks to the fetus but the way people treat alcohol and pregnant woman borders on hilarity. Before the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome study came out, pregnant women drank and gave birth just fine. As soon as the study came out, shit hit the fan. You can’t even drink an O’Doul’s without the pregnancy police asking you questions. Despite the well-known fact that FAS is a rare syndrome that occurs with alcoholic mothers, and that an occasional drink is actually recommended for pregnant women to help with stress – and that it has shown to reduce ADHD in children, alcohol is still frowned upon in the United States. Personally the smell of liquor drives me insane at the moment and wine makes me pukey but I have come to enjoy a glass of sweet red now and then. In fact whenever I get upset and start to hyperventilate (remember I have anxiety and not on meds) Turtle makes me drink a glass of wine. IMO people need to reserve their judgment and leave pregnant women alone. Nine months is a long miserable time.
Soft cheese – this one makes me laugh. I don’t even know how this came to be. Somehow deli meats and cheese became a no-no due to bacteria that could infect the fetus. Okay, I get that there are germs and such but are we not inundated with these microscopic suckers? Are we not better off living in a bubble? As for me, there is no way I am giving up my Subway Italian BMT. No way.
Caffeine – lately women have been given some leeway with coffee. You can drink it but no more than a cup or two a day. I gave up caffeinated drinks when I got pregnant with the exception of my thrice weekly Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino or like I prefer to call it – my antidepressant. Two days ago I mentioned needing a cup of coffee to complete my errands and Turtle launched into a half-assed, half educated tirade of how coffee is bad for pregnant women. So I asked him why. His answer? It is bad for the baby. Nope. Wrong. Coffee is a stimulant and dehydrates the mother. Mom’s body is already working overtime and needs much more water than normal. Coffee just makes it work harder which stresses mom’s body out, which can lead to miscarriage in the first trimester. Now note – most of us are already halfway through first trimester, drinking, taking legal and illegal drugs before knowing we are pregnant. Somehow Mother Nature protects those little nuggets from all our crap.
Hot baths – I curse the god of joylessness for adding this on the list. I mean, for nine months all you have to look forward to are aches and pain and the almighty ring of fire during childbirth and now they say you can’t sit your achy ass in a bath tub. God is a man, I swear. To sidestep this I dip my body in a hot tub for 10 second sessions up to three or four times. I don’t buy all that boiling your fetus and crap but I still don’t want to play with fire. Wearing heels – whatever. As long as I can squeeze my feet into my pumps I am wearing them. In fact, my bucket list includes wearing 5-inch heels when I am 9 months. Try that for size superman.
Seafood – okay, the smell of seafood sends me into a tizzy. So far, my son has made it seafood and alcohol are some of the things he is not interesting in syphoning from my blood stream but banning seafood is just plain lunacy. Instead you are told to get your Omega 3s from a pill. This befuddles me. Mercury in seafood is bad for anyone. If you can tolerate it unpregnant, surely you can tolerate it pregnant.
Herbal teas, nutritional supplements – I totally ignore this one. I find it strange that the medical establishment tells you the benefits of supplements are not totally known but when you get pregnant, prenatals become mandatory. I don’t get it. They either work or they don’t. I have been faithful to my vitamins … the same ones I took before pregnancy along with more iron and DHA.
Too many calories – as if we can control this. Once you are preggers your body no longer belongs to you. You spend the first three months puking your guts out. Then the next few months not being able to poop. Then you have this overwhelming need to eat anything in sight. Who has time to measure calories? At this point, success is determined by a decent bowel movement, no annoying smells and odors, and no aches and pains.
Exercise – every woman is advised to eat well and exercise. I say eat what you can, as healthy as you can and stay away from any form of vigorous exercise unless you are one of those freakishly athletic people that can’t seem to stay away from exercise. A pregnant body is already working overtime making a human. Most women have low energy and fatigue and have no wherewithal to exercise but if and when you can, a 20-minute walk is basically all you need. Conserve the rest for manufacturing organs.
On a side note – yesterday, I found out that babies pee and sometimes poop in the womb. Gross. Some things are better left unknown.
On another side note – today is my official 20 week mark. Halfway to the finish line. Yay.