Thursday, November 20, 2008

What not to eat

I've known some friends and acquaintances to go seemingly overboard in their caution while pregnant. Most doctors will tell you that most everything's fine in moderation, but some people aren't willing to do ANYTHING that could possibly harm the baby. I know of people who have switched face washes to avoid salicylic acid, who have replaced all of their cleaning products with more natural ones, who have refused to drink tap water, who won't eat a Caesar salad, etc.

I'm certainly not judging anyone for taking the conservative approach and it's true you can find articles online making a case for cutting out salicylic acid, cleaning chemicals, tap water and anything made with raw or undercooked egg. Plus a whole lot more.

Personally, I'm comfortable avoiding the major risks and approaching everything else with moderation.

I'm strictly cutting out alcohol for the entire pregnancy, and most caffeine at least for the first trimester (I've had a glass of sweet tea here and there). Most studies agree that some caffeine is safe and too much caffeine can increase the risk of miscarriage. It's actually easier for me to go cold-turkey on caffeine than to drink just a little. ("Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult," Samuel Johnson said.) And there are plenty of good options when I just need the buzz of carbonation -- root beer, ginger ale, decaf Coke, etc.

Other foods you're supposed to limit or avoid are hot dogs, pepperoni and bacon, none of which I'm being strict about. I haven't had a hot dog so far but if I crave one I will. You're supposed to be vigilant about cleaning fruits before you eat them and I'm going to try to get better about that. I have cut out turkey sandwiches (they're OK if the turkey's heated, but I don't like it heated) and luckily I don't like sushi and I also won't eat soft cheeses.


Kaitlin said...

oh man, caffeine. no coffee?!? Actually, my mom told me that she gave up caffeine cold turkey as well. She drank lots of tea. But she had this terrible terrible headache for about 3 days in a row and finally someone told her to just have a little tea. and boom, there went the headache.

so, it's okay after the 1st trimester?

jennifer said...

From what I've heard and read, the first trimester is the time to be really careful. But I have friends who've not changed their caffeine habits at all and everything's been fine. I'm just being conservative on this point. In a few weeks I'll probably be drinking an occasional Coke.

I'm surprised I haven't had headaches from giving it up too, as I have in the past when I've given it up for Lent, etc. But I have not had a single headache while I'm pregnant so far, thankfully!