Saturday, December 04, 2004

No, You Can't Have That

There are many things a pregnant woman must give up for the duration of her condition. Okay, so it doesn't even end there for the breastfeeding mother. And if you're like me and get pregnant again while still nursing, all those fun things can seem like a lifetime ago. And if you're a health-nut who never indulges in such things, this is not the post for you.

Of course some of the things that you're told you can't have are absolutely ridiculous. The truth is that for some of them they just can't show that it causes the baby any harm at all, so they say to refrain for "psychological" reasons. Now, if you're OCD, then FOLLOW THE LIST. Don't give yourself more issues on top of pregnancy. But for the regular crazy pregnant woman, the list is a little severe:

  • Alcohol - This is a good one. Bad things happen to babies exposed to alcohol in utero. HOWEVER, one glass of champagne on New Years or a wedding isn't going to hurt anyone, including your baby. But I'm not encouraging you to drink!!!

  • Cigarettes - This is a yucky one all over. Just give it up. There are lots of places to help.

  • Caffeine - Small amounts are okay. My friend V. drank two 2 liter bottles of regular soda a day, and she's fine now. But she also had every possible thing that can go wrong during pregnancy go wrong (just about)! I haven't given up my soda, but I drink less, and I drink LOTS more water.

  • Excess Chocolate - apparently this is because of the caffeine. But just a warning: Foolish is the man who steps between a pregnant woman and her chocolate. Eat up ladies, I don't wanna be 30 lbs. overweight all by myself!

  • Heating pads turned on high - Yes, you don't want to overheat your little heat source. So use the pad, but keep in at a lower setting.

  • Drugs - Okay, really it turns out that all kinds of drugs can be bad for your little squidlet. So, check with your doctor, some give out a list. Or check your pregnancy books. But there are a LOT of things that it's perfectly safe to take. A good doctor will help you find something that will work for you.

  • Soft Cheeses - Okay, I'm not completely sure why. Maybe the culturing process? As long as I can still have my cheddar and jack I'm set!

  • Chemical Hair Dyes - This is a ridiculous one. Now, if you throw up at the fumes, maybe you should pass. But the truth is that there is no proven connection between hair dye and anything but a pretty head of hair! I have colored my hair with all of my pregnancies, and I have no intention of stopping. I feel frumpy enough when I'm pregnant!

  • Diet Drinks - The only way I avoided gaining 50 lbs. with my last pregnancy was with diet soda. There is no evidence that it will cause birth defects. But soda isn't that healthy.

  • Hot Showers - Alright, I understand about overheating your fetus. Use common sense ladies, but I'm not going to stop taking hot showers. I just promise not to let the water be scalding.

  • Hot Tubs - Again the overheating thing. I've heard doctors say that short periods in a hot tub are fine, just don't get too hot. I've read studies that say a woman gets uncomfortable and gets out before it would overheat the baby. Of course, when in doubt, stay the heck out.

  • Electric blankets - HEAT HEAT HEAT! I get it. But I do have two brain cells to rub together.  At least before pregnancy steals them away.  I wouldn't put it up that hot.

  • Microwaves - Apparently you shouldn't stand right in front of it. I'm still suspicious of this one. But it's what "they" say.

  • Changing the litter box - Toxoplasmosis, look it up. Of course if you have an indoor cat, this probably isn't an issue. On the other hand, your husband doesn't have to know that, and who doesn't want to get out of kitty litter duty for a while? Besides, forget toxoplasmosis, the smell always made me wanna wretch. Good enough reason alone, don't ya think?  If you do change your cat box, please wash your hands.

  • Sushi - I'm sure this one has to do with parasites, but I have another good reason. I ate sushi in my first trimester with Reagan. It took me almost 2 years to be able to eat it again. I'm from California, without sushi and artichokes we'd lose all sense of identity. Pregnancy does wierd things to your likes and dislikes. Still, research that I've read says that the way the fish is frozen before it can be used, kills bacteria and parasites, so it is actually as safe as anything else.  But if it makes you uncomfortable, don't do it.

  • Aerobics Classes - Don't do any exercise you're not used to doing. But if you're a triathelete, I don't think an aerobics class will be a problem.

  • Bikini waxing - For fear of an infection from an ingrown hair. Now, for me, this is a TOTAL non-issue. Nobody is getting anything that painful anywhere near my bikini area unless they're going to pull a gun. But this seems so far-fetched to me, I hardly know how to comment further.

  • Air travel - during the last weeks of pregnancy. Ask your doctor when to stop. Now, for a practical reason the books wont talk about: You're too gosh darned BIG!! I'm all for stopping travel in your second trimester! If you fly coach, as I do, you can't get up and down and in and out. It's just too much of a pain. Especially if traveling with your older kids.

  • Insecticides - Um, I think this one is self explanatory. Of course, I have a funny feeling you weren't going around sniffing insecticides before you got pregnant. So, keep up the good work.

  • X-rays - Ya, radiation bad.

  • Strong chemical fumes - The pregnant woman already has an overdeveloped sense of smell. Just stay away from that kind of thing. Vinegar cleans really well and wont harm either of you!

It's not the list I'd like to see of course. But then again, my list includes all of the things that I think a pregnant women must have as opposed to what they must give up. My list would involve free massages, pedicures, and milkshakes. But that's just me.

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