Mom Calls Out Our ‘Preggo Ladies Are Delicate Flowers’ Complex

fragile pregnant womanThe notion that expectant mothers can’t do pretty much anything, from lifting semi-heavy boxes to drinking lightly caffeinated tea, is a huge pillar of contemporary mommying culture. The list of things pregnant women can’t consume seems to just keeping getting longer and longer, with only a few vocal women willing to break from recommendations. But the “paranoia and mixed messages” of North American parenting are being called out by one mom who says we don’t have the data to back up our fears.

Denise Balkissoon writes in The Globe and Mail that when she was pregnant, she received mixed suggestions from her midwife (who said a few cups of tea a week were fine), from her friend (watch that caffeine) to her own mother (who drank wine while expecting). She elaborates, when describing her friend:

His tone wasn’t judgmental, just matter of fact. The idea that pregnant women (and our unborn offspring) are delicate flowers holds fast in the North American psyche, matched by a conviction to share opinions on their delicacy with the women themselves. I’ve been advised against lifting things, climbing stairs or riding a bicycle. I’ve been told not to eat seafood, whether raw or cooked, mayonnaise (either fresh or jarred), fruits with thin skins that absorb pesticides or, um, rice (the last according to a friendly taxi driver). When I remarked to my mom that a very pregnant woman in my yoga class did a perfect handstand, she replied “You’d better not think of doing anything like that!” Never mind that I didn’t have the co-ordination in the first place.

Denise adds that upon looking into the data behind these assertions, she found a laundry list of flaws:

These concerns come out of a desire that every baby be born perfectly healthy. But many of them don’t have evidence to back them up. Too often, studies of a small sample of specific women morph into draconian recommendations for all pregnant women, everywhere. Recently, an American economist, Emily Oster, and a British science journalist, Linda Geddes, performed similar studies, compiling information from multiple experiments to try and turn tiny, untrustworthy data points into big, reliable ones. Each came to the same conclusion – there is very little airtight information on the risks of many activities pregnant women might be interested in. Ms. Geddes smashes a well-circulated stat that says home births are three times as likely to end in death than hospital births. Prof. Oster found no good evidence on the risks of sushi, and ate it herself while pregnant.

But in her personal research, Denise found the no alcohol rule for pregnant women to be particularly “overblown.” The science behind pregnant women abstaining from ALL alcohol is slowly being chipped away it, with albeit newer, smaller studies that have yet to acquire the magnanimous seal of approval (seriously, talk with your doctor). Nevertheless, some women are taking up that occasional hot toddy not just because they’re brazen, but because the data doesn’t add up:

Ms. Oster ends up advising that women have “no more than one drink a day,” while Ms. Geddes is ok with “one or two units, once or twice a week.” Both found that the subjects of most studies on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder are alcoholics, binge drinkers or also using drugs, making them irrelevant to most women. Meanwhile, one Danish team proclaimed that the five-year-old kids of well-educated moms who drank lightly (up to four drinks a week) were actually less likely to have behavioural problems, hyperactivity, peer problems and emotional difficulty than the children of mothers who abstained entirely. Cheers to that.

This isn’t a suggestion that extreme caution give way to extreme abandon – I won’t be sitting in a hot tub eating oysters and drinking champagne anytime soon, alas. It’s merely a request to treat pregnant women like human beings. Most of us are cautious, well-informed adults and we care about the wellbeing of our children far more than you ever could.

Well-informed adults who understand MODERATION. Key word.

(photo: Jalyse)

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    • CM

      Love love love this article! As a pregnant woman, all I keep hearing and reading about is a long list of things we cannot do. As my physician stated, “how did the human race procreate and survive” if so many things are wrong? Avoiding the major risks like smoking, drinking heavily, etc. in my opinion is a good idea. Otherwise, eat the fruits you like and have a cup of tea while you’re at it!

      • SarahJesness

        Ha, exactly what I was thinking. Pregnant women aren’t made of freakin’ glass. That’s not to say they should drink heavily or ride a fast horse to work every day, but if even tiny things could screw up an unborn kid, there’s no way in hell anyone could get through with a pregnancy. I bet women in poorer countries would laugh their ass off at some of the stuff pregnant women “aren’t supposed to do”.

    • msenesac

      Great article! I enjoyed an occasional glass of reisling, deli meat, and soft cheese while pregnant with both of my boys. Some were horrified by my choices (one co-worker in particular about me eating Jimmy Johns).

      • NYBondLady

        I had a co-worker who wouldn’t touch wine but downed diet cokes all day long. To me, that was backwards thinking. We were both pregnant, so I knew better than to voice my opinions! She came to her own conclusions and that’s fine.

      • msenesac

        No kidding! The co-worker who was judgey ate a lot of fruit like cantaloupe so I thought it was kind of funny when the listeria outbreak happened with cantaloupe a month or so later (while we were still both pregnant).

      • Emmali Lucia

        I’m horrified that you ate Jimmy Johns, period.

        That stuff is naassty. Lol

      • CMJ

        Whhaaaaaaaaaat? And I liked you so much. j/k.

      • Cee

        Yep, she never liked you at all Emmali :p

      • Emmali Lucia

        I just have so much trauma associated with Jimmy Johns.

        And then I can’t even have gluten on top of it all so Jimmy Johns is just out of the picture.

        Although I do like parking my mother’s ridiculously expensive car in front of the Jimmy Johns I used to work for, pretend I own the car, then go to the Jamba Juice next door whilst flipping off anyone I recognise inside.

        I have problems. Lol

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        I only ever get judgy about Jimmy Johns because the owner is a dick who is a big game hunter and that makes me sad but that shiz is nom nom nom

      • Emmali Lucia

        I worked for Jimmy Johns for a few months when I was in High School. I think that you have to be an ass hole to own a branch. I swear to this DAY I am amazed they haven’t been shut down due to health inspectors. They must pay them off considering the owner’s brother owned Block Buster.

      • SDA

        I did avoid sprouts and deli meat while pregnant – no judgment to those who didn’t, I’m just a little more anxious than most so it was best for my sanity. However, JJ delivered sandwiches to our office and I was snacky, so I grabbed part of a veggie one and was to the last bite when I realized it had sprouts on it. About that time (like literally 2 minutes after eating the sandwich) the headline hit that JJ sprouts were responsible for a current E Coli breakout….they will never be forgiven for my week long panic attack that ensued! :)

      • Erin Murphy

        I feel ya on sprouts and lunch meat. I had less of a concern about the baby than food poisoning though. I escaped morning sickness for the most part but had food poisoning at least three times.

    • runningrunner

      As a recovering alcoholic, the no-alcohol-during-pregnancy thing hasn’t given me pause or been a problem. However, it hasn’t been fun ordering coffees or cold cuts in the presence of people in whom a little bit of knowledge lies danger.

      • Amber

        I’ve gotten quite a bit of shit about craving hot dogs when I was pregnant with my son. I just respond by pointing out every unhealthy thing about their life until they either scream, “OK I GET IT!” or get pissed and stomp away.

        I manage to keep my mouth shut about other people’s choices when I don’t agree. They should be able to do the same.

      • Amber

        I should clarify, I don’t mean raw hot dogs because that grosses me out. It was coney dogs, with lots of onions and mustard and that stuff they call chili that the put on hot dogs that doesn’t really seem like chili at all. I couldn’t get enough of them.

    • KaeTay

      I’m never touching alcohol while pregnant. it’s better to avoid it completely. Me having a drink is not worth the brain development of my daughter. Alcohol is not a necessity and any woman who acts like it is.. needs to be seeing a professional. There’s a difference between eating a cold hotdog and drinking a long island ice tea.

      • KaeTay

        down vote me all you want.. I’m the one with the daughter who has been advanced in every mile stone.. when your child is brain damaged from your selfishness don’t go bitching.

      • NYBondLady

        You obviously didn’t read the book or any of the studies. Having a couple of drinks is 0 risk. 0. Zero. Ziltch. Like, no measurable effects whatsoever. And there are even studies showing that it can INCREASE intelligence. So congrats for your brilliant daughter but don’t credit your pristine drinking habits.

      • CMJ
      • runningrunner

        I know, is she new around here or what?

      • Cee

        Drinks all around. A drink for you, a drink for you, and none for Gretchen Weiners

      • CMJ

        I love all Mean Girls quotes because (when I finally change it) my married will actually be Fetsch.

        http://25.media.tumblr.com/109d25b9a9391f40366885f550dcd678/tumblr_mkshvut1xV1qj4315o1_500.gif

      • Cee

        And that is the only time when Fetch will happen!

      • disqus_WjKIYzni5a

        not even going to pretend I’m not jealous of the last name Fetsch

      • msenesac

        Wow! So what about the millions of babies born all over the world in cultures where it’s acceptable to have alcohol when pregnant? Apparently your child is going to be smarter than all of them. It’s fine to not want to drink it for your own personal reasons, but to shame everyone else for it is just petty.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        I’m waiting for her to say something brilliant like THOSE ARE BROWN BABIES THEY DO NOT COUNT WHEN IT COMES TO ADVANCED MILESTONES

      • msenesac

        No one has pointed out that she misspelled milestone

      • Cee

        It’s probably because her mom drank.
        Then again, we didn’t catch it..and its probably because our moms drank too!

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        hahahahahahhahahahahahahahaha

      • Cee

        Drunk mothers all around!

      • Amanda Rene Slinger

        If this comment section gets any funnier I may laugh myself into labor, so keep it up bitches!!! Mama wants a fucking gallon of whiskey!!!

      • Véronique Houde

        I think we’re on a roll! This is like the jackpot day of entertaining comment threads!!!!!

      • Cee

        Awww. I wish I could help you get your birth on some more but my brain is being exhausted by work, aka break time for moms.

      • goofyjj

        I guess Mensa won’t be calling her (or her snowflake) yet……

      • Cee

        No no, we’re never REALLY smart. Those are affirmative action advanced milestones

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        .. fuck you soda out nose looooooooooooooooooooooool

      • Emmali Lucia

        I think your attitude is going to send your child and husband into a drinking habit.

        Good for you for not touching alcohol. But study after study has shown that as long as you don’t take a whole bottle to bed with you you’re child won’t be adversely affected by it. So you can climb off your soapbox now.

      • Cee

        Sometimes the comment threads here seem to send me into a drinking habit. Not that I’m complaining…

      • KaeTay

        there are no solid studies done on drinking.. it’s the same for medication for asthmatics because most women will not put their children at risk for the sake of science. But evidence of damaged children because of alcohol does exist.

        and my husband agrees with me completely. Grow up around alcoholics and you’ll have higher standards.

      • CMJ

        “There are no solid studies done on drinking…”

        “But evidence of damaged children because of alcohol does exist.”

        So, uh, which one is it?

      • whiteroses

        You can’t have it both ways, KaeTay.

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        Well then why didn’t you say do before? … if your husband agrees with you everything you say is correct.

      • Cee

        Oh your husband agrees with you?!
        The expert has spoken guys!

      • Véronique Houde

        oooooooOh the man hath spoken. the conversation is closed now ktxbye!

      • Christine

        In all seriousness: Why did you mention your husband agrees with you?

      • KaeTay

        they said: “my attitude would drive my husband to drinking” and no it won’t if they share my opinion.

      • Christine

        Ok, cool. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t miss a chance to go all feminist ninja on someone.

      • whiteroses

        You’re assuming that your daughter will think exactly like you think about drinking.

        Good luck with that.

      • AP

        Uh…there HAVE been studies done on asthma meds. Women with poorly controlled asthma are more likely to have low-weight babies due to the baby suffering from mom not getting enough oxygen.

      • KarenMS

        Lol

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        RIGHT? That’s pretty much it. loooooooooool. CONGRATS ON YOUR ADVANCED MILESTONE KID THERE LADY

      • Cee

        I always wonder about people who brag about milestones. Is there nothing more meaningful in your life going on?

        As someone that works in education, let me tell you, this wont really matter at the end of the day. But if that’s what makes your life worth it, by all means…

      • whiteroses

        I drank a glass of red wine occasionally while I was pregnant.

        My son is fourteen months old. He’s finished teething. He can speak in complete sentences. He loves to be read to.

        Of course, none of that will matter at the end of the day, because guess what? Nearly every 9 year old can read, speak in complete sentences, and has or will have a full set of teeth. It must drive you nuts to know that in a few years, your child (unless she is parsing through trigonometry at age 10) will be perfectly normal– like almost every other kid on earth.

      • StephC12

        Good for you, and I could not give less of a shit.

      • JLH1986

        When my mother was pregnant with me the dr. told her because of our mismatched blood types she SHOULD drink a glass of wine every night to help during labor. I graduated high school early, took all advanced placement classes, have 2 bachelors, I am currently working on my Masters. I own two homes and have a wonderful husband. I don’t usually toot my own horn because it’s tacky, but if my mom drank EVERY DAY she was pregnant (a single glass) and produced two adult children (my brother mirrored my path, only he’s ridiculously smart and has 2 masters to my *almost* one). I’m damn proud to be “brain damaged”. Please go breach your nonsense elsewhere.

      • Christine

        Hey, eff you.

      • KaeTay

        can’t give an intelligent reply? Did I offend you for putting my daughter first?

      • Christine

        I think you meant to say “Can’t give an intelligent reply?” and, assuming you did then yes, I can.

        You are a judgmental person, your self righteous BS is hardly worth the time it took me to write this. You will raise your precious special baby to be just like you. Parents like myself and the majority of this open minded community will hope our kids, our normal, awesome, brilliant, special needs, main stream or whatever label kids never share a classroom with yours.

        How DARE you say that an autistic child is the result of a selfish mother and that comment is why I feel like all you deserve from me is a big fat ‘eff you.’

      • KaeTay

        actually I said absolutely NOTHING about kids with special needs. I have friends with special needs kids and quite frankly I believe it has something to do the mercury put in the combo vaccinations.

        I’m not self righteous. I just don’t see how something that is bad for ADULTS is good for a FETUS for a human being that is developing. So yes it IS selfish to have alcohol because you just “need to have it” because you cant just wait 9 months or longer. You won’t drink alcohol and breastfeed.. you shouldn’t do it while pregnant.

        my daughter because you feel the need to comment on her personality.. will be the person she wants to be raised on a strong background of having your own ideas and opinions just like I was. She will be raised to see that there are ways to have fun and relax without alcohol or drugs. She will be raised to put her education first and to enjoy the arts.

        So before you make any judgements on me based on my stance against alcohol think again because you know jack fucking shit about me and what kind of a mother I am.

        Maybe if it took you 5 years to get pregnant you would understand why I don’t throw caution to the wind. My daughter was planned and she was/is wanted more than anything else in the world. She comes first and she will ALWAYS be first.

      • CMJ

        “I have friends with special needs kids and quite frankly I believe it has something to do with the mercury put in the combo vaccinations.”

        Actual studies have proven this statement to be false. I really hope you are vaccinating your child because if you’re not, you’re not putting your daughter first.

        BUT, that’s just my opinion.

      • whiteroses

        Yeah- try again. Special needs aren’t caused by mercury. If they were, kids who aren’t vaxxed would never be diagnosed with autism. And yet, they are.

        You can raise your daughter however you want. But the thing is- if she hates Beethoven or Bach, there’s not a thing in this world wrong with that. And I know you’re not going to believe this, but quite a few alcoholics and drug addicts aren’t raised by parents who wake up one morning and say, “I can’t wait until my kid’s a drug addict!” Kids have this funny way of doing whatever they want, regardless of how they’re raised. And if she never picks up a beer at a party even one time, then please come back and tell us your secret.

        I’m not a permissive parent. But I accept the fact that my son will do things that I don’t agree with- things that are completely against everything we’re raising him to be. I put my son first in my life as well. That doesn’t mean that I believe he will always follow everything I say.

      • Christine

        My apologies, sincerely, if you were not the above poster who said selfish drinking moms caused brain damaged babies. I didn’t realize you think selfish vaccinating moms cause it.

        My bad!

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        You’re amazing. You’re like the sanctimommiest of the sanctimommies. And I get a HUGE feeling when you say ” my daughter will enjoy the arts” you mean like black velvet wildlife paintings and Kenny G.

      • whiteroses

        “My Uncle Freddie has one of those paintings- he loves those clowns!”
        Ginnifer Goodwin, I heart you.

      • CMJ

        There is 100% one of these paintings in a closet in out basement. It’s a deer. CF wants it.

      • A

        Nice to see you haven’t outgrown bullying

      • AmazingE

        And what, precisely is wrong with Kenny G?

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        Do you also have black friends?

      • whiteroses

        Also, raising your children to “enjoy the arts” has a massively broad definition. It depends on your definition of art. Speaking as someone who minored in Art History– I try to expose my son to everything from Lichtenstein (he loves “Mustard on White”) to Cassatt to da Vinci.

        Whether he’ll LOOOOVE it is beyond me. He’s going to have his own interests. And as long as they don’t involve large snakes or tarantulas, I’m all for that.

      • disqus_WjKIYzni5a

        STFU parents needs to be here for this.

      • Dr. Apothecary

        It’s amusing that you don’t trust the many studies that have shown that vaccines don’t cause autism. It has been tested so many times, it’s now basically a waste of money to continue testing it.

        At the same time, there are no studies to show that mild alcohol consumption harms unborn fetuses. None. Yet this is what you believe.

        I am beginning to understand that your world is not based in reality…

      • Kelby Johnson

        My daughter was planned too, She will also be raised to have strong values and taught that drugs are bad and no beer until she’s 21 or older. That doesn’t mean she’s going to listen to any of it.

        Just like we know “Jack fucking shit” about you, you also know jack fucking shit about any other mother and the choices they make during pregnancy are none of your business.

        As far as vaccinating goes… I’m not even gonna comment on that because it’s beating a dead horse.

      • disqus_WjKIYzni5a

        Oh don’t worry I don’t think she was talking about autistic children, if she was you don’t even know…I’d transform into dracula or something…
        but I do agree with you on the fact that the whole thing is BS.

      • Kelby Johnson

        Here is an intelligent reply:

        People don’t like judgey people. Period. You could have just said that you chose not to drink while pregnant because YOU don’t want to risk it with your baby, however, you added that the moms that do so ‘need help’.

        There is ZERO risk for an unborn child who is born to a mother who drank 1 alcoholic drink a day or less. None. There is more risk to your unborn child when you get behind the wheel of a car than when you drink a glass of wine with dinner every night.

        There is a HUGE difference in drinking a glass of wine with dinner and getting completely smashed every night. As far as growing up around alcoholics go? Each person will form their own opinion no matter what they grew up around. My son’s father is an alcoholic and I still agree that one drink a day won’t hurt a baby at all.

      • NicknamesAreDull

        My sister in law drank a glass of red wine every day during her pregnancy, and my niece is at the top of her class. But I guess my SIL’s selfishness is to blame for that, huh?

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        Yes there is. Cold hot dogs are fucking gross and long island ice teas are delicious.

      • NicknamesAreDull

        My daughter grabbed a hot dog off the counter once before I cooked it (and because I’m Satan, I didn’t take it away), and she tried to feed it to me. I could have used a long island iced teat that day.

      • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

        “long island iced teat” I really hope that was intentional?

      • NicknamesAreDull

        haha, oops. I’m on my cell phone, and I’m not used to the keyboard.

      • staferny

        Well, I just spit coffee all over my keyboard. And to expain the giggling coming from my office to my co-workers? hehehe… teat, hehehe. That catch just made my sad little day :)

      • Amanda Rene Slinger

        I’m 38 weeks pregnant and I would drink a fucking pitcher of long islands if I could because it would make the constant hip and back pain go away, plus they are fucking delicious. Oh and a pitcher of margaritas, I would eat my placenta as fajitas if I could wash it down with some limey goodness…

      • Erin Murphy

        Have you tried a chiropractor? I’m at 36 weeks with hip pain and it has helped so much I could French kiss her. Light stretchy yoga has helped too. If you like I can send you specific poses I like.

      • Amanda Rene Slinger

        Thanks for the advice! I live at my chiropractor office, god bless that man! I’ve been “swimming” also known as floating serenely in the therapy pool at the local Y which helps some. My pubic bone just pops all the time and that whole pelvic girdle area is really loose. Plus my BP has sky rocketed in the last 2 weeks so even my fingers are puffy and sore.

        I’m almost there, 38 weeks and 2 days. I’m just trying to take it easy, stay positive and eat lots of cream horns. :-) and when this is all over, booooooze.

      • Dr. Apothecary

        Umm… I’m presuming your healthcare provider does know about your sky-rocketing blood pressure and puffy/sore fingers??

        Hope you make it through as easily as possible. I’m 24 weeks tomorrow and am not looking forward to the end of this pregnancy. Especially since my husband was a huge baby and my kid is on the big side so far…

      • Amanda Rene Slinger

        Oh yeah he knows! I’ve had to do so many friggen labs, bio phys profiles and non stress tests it’s crazy. I’ve had to collect my pee for 24 hours so many times that I’m starting to feel like Howard Hughes with out the money. My sister had terrible preeclampsia with her first so they watch me like a hawk. Ditto on the big baby thing, my mil who I adore, just had to tell me how my husband and his brother had such huge noggins she could never find baby hats to fit them, I’m so dreading labor. My birth plan is simple “I WANT ALL THE DRUGS!”

      • Erin Murphy

        Oh! And I feel ya on margaritas. My husband ordered a margarona (margarita with a corona in the top). We WILL be making a stop for that after baby arrives.

      • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

        acupuncture worked for me

      • Abby

        Let’s just extract from your comment your first and third sentences:

        I’m never touching alcohol while pregnant. Me having a drink is not worth the brain development of my daughter.

        While arguably getting a smidge judge-y at the end, in general, both of those are totally normal ways to express YOUR opinion and justification for YOUR choices. A more productive way to communicate and contribute might be to just stick with statements like that.

      • whiteroses

        This.

      • Fabel

        Ugh, YES YES YES. I was reading her comment, & the first line I agreed with (like, yeahhh, I dunno if I would drink while pregnant either? hypothetically) & then it just all went into judgey hate land. Express yo’selves betterrrr

      • EcnoTheNeato

        A thousand times this. I was going to make a similar remark, Abby, but you beat me to it.

        It’s okay KaeTay to express what you did and your motivations behind it. It’s NOT okay to tell others they MUST also do the same thing, and that all will have the same outcome. Because that won’t happen o_O

        Unless you have links, science, or studies to link to, your comment will be seen as hateful. Not helpful.

      • whiteroses

        Wow. That’s… unique.

        So I guess my vegan friend who did everything naturally and has never touched a drop of alcohol in her life is completely and totally to blame for her autistic son.

        Get a freaking clue.

      • Aa

        Acohol doesn’t cause autism it causes FASD. I suggest you do some research

      • whiteroses

        And I suggest you reread the entire comment thread. KaeTay then proceeded to blame brain damage and autism on both drinking and vaccinations.

      • Dr. Apothecary

        Yup, a cold hotdog could have listeria that could kill your fetus. A single alcoholic drink has never been shown to cause harm to your unborn fetus.

        You do realize that you are risking harm to your unborn kid every single time you get in a car, as car accidents kill fetuses. So every non-necessary car trip is unnecessarily endangering your future child.

    • Abby

      Love this whole burgeoning movement. When I was pregnant, I had a coworker ask me if I could actually drink cola *while I was holding and drinking from a half-empty can of Coke*. Like, if I’m doing it, I obviously have no issue with it, so what are you actually trying to say here?

      I got a little less defensive in late pregnancy, but I did always wonder: if people around you don’t trust you to make the best decisions to care for yourself and your fetus, what type of parent do they think you’ll be? And then I had my daughter and realized that people make huge assumptions and judgments about your parenting abilities once the kid’s out too. GREAT.

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      • Wendy

        OHMYGOD! I must know how! Please tell us!

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        This means pregnant women should NOT drink Hyundai Veracruz SUVS while pregnant?

      • aliceblue

        Only if first heated to 140 degrees

      • Courtney Lynn

        I had a coworker as me if I was supposed to be eating my sandwich from Subway. Don’t question a hungry preggo!

      • Muggle

        Second comment about pregnant women eating at Subway! Jesus. Subway sandwiches will not kill your fetuses, people…

      • Courtney Lynn

        LOL…I think it’s my sleep-deprived mom brain, but I just pictured protestors outside of Subway with “Don’t kill your baby” signs.

      • Erin

        You’re not supposed to eat unheated deli meat due to listeria. I abstained from deli meat my entire pregnancy, but felt fine with a small glass of wine or beer every couple of weeks. We all have to pick our vices!

      • R Zhao

        The risks of listeria are incredibly small and there have been outbreaks of listeria in other foods, for example, cantalope. The issue is, nothing may be entirely safe. We can do what we can, such as heating up deli meat, cutting back on caffeine, etc., but people have to realize that so much is out of our control. We need to stop beating ourselves (and others!) up about it.

      • Erin

        Oh, I agree! No one can adhere to all the restrictions laid out for pregnant women, and they are different depending on where you go. In France, they advise you to refrain from eating raw vegetables! You just do what you can and hang the rest.

      • Courtney Lynn

        Um…I’m aware of the supposed risks. I’m not sure what you’re going for here. Someone else might have something to say about you having alcohol. The point is that by constantly restricting ourselves and being worried about lunch meat, sushi, coffee or beer we’re actually making it worse with stress. I didn’t eat it every day. I just happened to pick up a sandwich that day because, dammit, I was tired of not having it! You know how it is being pregnant. I hope you were simply mentioning the reason behind the “rule” of not eating deli meat and not trying to lecture me, especially when you didn’t hold off on the alcohol, which is just as controversial.

      • Erin

        No lecture intended! I was just supplying a reason for the sandwich Nazi’s rudeness. I really didn’t mean to cause any offense– was going more for solidarity. Sorry if my tone was off.

      • Courtney Lynn

        No worries at all! It’s bad how we get used to that kind of thing!

    • NicknamesAreDull

      I didn’t drink during my pregnancy because at the time, I didn’t tolerate it well. My doctor was in the camp of “as long as you’re not getting drunk daily, your baby will be fine. I stuck to moderation of things I could handle instead of abstaining from everything.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      Yeah, you’re pretty much damned no matter what you do. Hell, studies are now showing that crack use during pregnancy actually has fewer detrimental affects on a fetus than excessive alcohol use does. Moderation is key for everything I guess? But who knows. I was pretty paranoid while pregnant, and decided not to drink at all, and I Was eating all sorts of wonderful stir fries full of quinoa and vegetables like a good little girl and then bam there was a stupid ecoli outbreak on bean sprouts. So seriously, who the fuck knows. I took prenatal vitamins and a separate folic acid supplement and my kid still ended up with a (thankfully completely benign) sacral dimple. My mom smoked when she was pregnant with me and I’m fucking awesome. So who knows….check with your healthcare provider/do some research/don’t eat anything from eve’s list/moderation is key? Maybe?

      • Emmali Lucia

        Yeah, crack babies as we knew them in the 80s pretty much don’t exist. The most common side effect of smoking crack while pregnant was having a premature child.

        Now being a preemie has some pretty intense issues that come with it, but you can be the most picture perfect pregnant women who does everything by the book and still have a preemie. I’m not endorsing crack use among pregnant or even non-pregnant persons, I just think it’s interesting how much our bodies can handle us messing up before shit hits the fan.

      • A

        Crack doesn’t cause brain damage, microencephaly, and growth deficiencies in a fetus. Alcohol does, so no not everything in moderation

      • BłuOwl

        Do you have an actual medical source for that claim?

      • A

        This was just a quick search but here you go
        http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=194836

        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890623801001368

        By contrast here is a visceral reminder of the effects of significant alcohol consumption during pregnancy
        http://www.faslink.org/fasbrail.jpg

      • whiteroses

        The key here is SIGNIFICANT consumption. One glass a week of wine, for example, is fine. Many vodka shots? Not so much.

      • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

        Yeah….I think A needs to brush up on reading comprehension? Certainly no one here is talking about anything other than very moderate consumption.

      • BłuOwl

        None of these say that drinking small amounts of alcohol (hence the ‘in moderation’) will cause fasd. That’s what’s being argued here. I’m fairly certain no one has claimed fasd doesn’t exist.

    • SDA

      I’m both for and against the push against the ‘delicate flowers’. In some ways pregnant women are a little more ‘delicate’. I could do most everything I could before including working out (which people freaked the most over), but due to my pregnant condition the last few weeks of work were really rough and some tasks really aggravated my back pain (which was bad all the way through back labor)….I’m fortunate for a workplace the acknowledged that pregnancy put me in a different camp and allowed me to work less without penalty in the last couple weeks of pregnancy. I’m just afraid that other employers will start jumping on this band wagon of pregnant women can do anything and use it as an argument against maternity leave and even leave shortly before the baby is born.

      Other than that – do what you feel comfortable with (and within reason). I just did research on why certain things were “off the table” and the reasoning behind it and went from there. A few glasses of wine didn’t matter at all.

      • CatherineElliott

        My co worker is expecting her 2nd child, and the place she worked for while she was pregnant with her first gave her no concessions or breaks in our labour intensive jobs. Her boss at the time tried to guilt trip her when she wanted to sit down for a bit, saying that his wife worked right up until the day of delivery. His wife worked at the reception desk of a library, while she worked as a line cook in a busy restaurant. The jobs don’t compare! Our boss now is great, she can rest whenever she feels like it, but she isn’t one to take advantage. She keeps expecting him to be a jerk, but he’s not that kind of guy.

    • KaeTay

      I wish we would spend LESS time on this topic.. whoever is against it will stay against it and whoever wants to do it will do it anyway.. we need to spend more time on figuring out how to give our U.S women the same maternity care and leave that they have in the U.K that would be more beneficial then this crap.

      • disqus_WjKIYzni5a

        practice what you preach though is the thing to do

    • Lucie UK

      Snorting wine down my nose (don’t judge me – I’m not pregnant). I drank alcohol and caffeine moderately while expecting. Although at 5 months I did actually get a little tipsy at a family function and paid for it with days of heartburn. To my shame I smoked (the lightest cigarettes known to man) for a good deal of it. Said child is now almost 17 and relatively as sane as a teenager can be. He has no allergies or asthma. No great shakes education wise but he is literate and numerate, and very intelligent in a non-academic way, held down a job with Electrician over Summer break, and has just started college studying electrical installation. Has a long term (over 3 years) girlfriend, sharp as a tack, funny as f**k, polite in normal society (that excludes Mommy). He doesn’t embarrass me. I am actually rather proud of him and often get compliments on his attitude and overall demeanour.

      I practice distance parenting – as a working single Mum what else is there?

      Tell me – where did I go wrong?

    • Kikidee

      I’m so over the “delicate flower” thing. I was a healthy, active person before I got pregnant and being pregnant, for the most part, didn’t change that. I stayed as active as I felt comfortable with throughout and now, I am two weeks before my due date and I still lift weights, walk for miles a day and carry heavy things. Yes, there are things I can’t do very easily anymore like put on my pants without sitting down or paint my toenails, but that’s more of a physics problem because I have the equivalent of a bowling ball strapped to my stomach. I hope my staying active pays off by making things easier on my body when I do go into labor.

      I have had a lot of people offer their two cents on what I should or shouldn’t be doing. My MIL, for example, told me (on Mother’s Day, no less – great timing when you are rife with hormones already!) that I shouldn’t mow the lawn anymore while pregnant because I’d miscarry, on the reasoning that she played a game of volleyball before she had a miscarriage. I think what people don’t realize is that in the vast majority of cases, what makes a pregnancy fundamentally viable or not is so out of one’s control, it doesn’t really matter what you do either way.

      And as for the laundry list of food/drink you can’t eat during pregnancy, I think it comes down to what you are most comfortable with. Risks are just that – risks – not a death sentence for your future offspring. Do the research, find out what the reasons and possible risks are, and do what makes you feel comfortable. Personally, there was no way I was going to my sister’s wedding in Cape Cod and not indulging in the awesome raw bar just because I was six months pregnant at the time.

      • aliceblue

        I you can get out of mowing the lawn I say go for it! She did offer to do it for you, right? ;)

    • kay

      I chose not to drink, mostly to see if I could go that long. Like when I was in college and gave up drugs for lent. Only this was successful.
      But for reals, having an occasional drink isn’t giving your baby a tail.

      • Erin Murphy

        I gave it up too but mostly because I wasn’t a big drinker before. I’ve been known to order ice cream in a bar when I wasn’t pregnant.

    • Amanda

      When I was about 8 months pregnant with my oldest, I had been on a huge road trip and went into a Subway to get some dinner. I (attempted) to order a cold roast beef sandwich, my favorite. The lady looked at me funny and then asked if I was sure. Indeed I was. The lady would NOT get off my case about getting it toasted. She eventaully just said she wouldn’t serve it to me unless I toasted it. Which she did. I’m sorry, do I look like I’m 5? GIVE ME MY FREAKIN’ SANDWICH.

      • Leafyleafster

        Oh fuuuuuuck that. I would’ve asked for a manager. And if she was the manager, the franchise owner. Where does she get off making rules about how you get your food? When I managed a gas station, I had an employee that said she wouldn’t sell cigarettes or beer to pregnant women. I responded “Well, they could be getting it for someone else, and even if they aren’t, it’s none of your business. As long as they’re old enough to buy it, you’re legally required to sell it; your job is to run the till, not make ill-informed moral judgements about complete strangers.”

      • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

        I loved going to buy wine when I was pregnant. I didn’t actually drink during my pregnancy, but we did still have friends over or go to people’s houses for dinner, so I ended up buying wine a bunch of times (hell, we had like 4 cases of beer at our baby shower). Oh man, the looks you get…..I was soooo wishing someone would actually SAY something to me so I could shut that shit down but sadly it was just judgey looks.

      • Amanda

        I should have asked for a manager! Honestly, I was so confused at the time that I just went with it. It’s weird with stuff like that, when it’s happening to you, you just don’t know what to do or how to react.

      • EcnoTheNeato

        Wait wait, what? So did she ever say why? I mean, are their cold-cuts just unhealthy and the employee felt guilty killing you AND a child? Seriously…what?

      • Amanda

        I didn’t know this at the time (I was extremely confused as this was all happening to me), but apparently cold cuts have the potential for listeria, and pregnant women are often recommended not to have them unless heated all the way through, to kill the bacteria.

        I personally think the likelihood of listeria is so low, so I really just want to heat my sandwich.

      • LET

        Ummmm….I’m fairly certain that’s illegal. I have done extensive alcohol service training, and servers literally can’t deny a pregnant woman alcohol due to pregnancy, because it would be considered discrimination/sexism…I can’t imagine your experience wouldn’t fall under the same umbrella.

      • Amanda

        I agree. At the time, it happened so fast and I was confused (I actually had never heard the no cold cuts for pregnant women) that I just went with it. I wish I had asked for a manager.

      • Muggle

        What the fuck. I used to work at Subway. Take it from me, that dumbass should have been fired. That’s utter stupidity and it is her job to prepare your food and give it to you as you ordered it, not make moral judgements about your choices.
        Who told her roast beef was bad for pregnant women/baybeighez anyway?

      • Erin

        Hearing stories like this made me afraid to go to the liquor store when I was pregnant. Even when I ordered a diet coke or something at restaurants, I would steel myself for the judgement.

      • Alicia

        I wonder if she doesn’t sell to fat people who want a foot long with the fattiest meats, cheese, sauces etc because they really should have a 6 inch with 6 grams of fat or less…

    • Rachel Sea

      When my friend got pregnant her OB freaked out at her that she had a chocolate. One. Like the kind that come in those giant sampler boxes. Told her her child was going to have ADD from all the caffeine in that one bite. She showed me the list of dietary restrictions, it included: No caffeine, no alcohol, no seafood, nothing fried, nothing dyed red, only organic chicken, only organic produce, no thin shinned produce, no leaves, and absolutely everything heated to 140 degrees or greater before consumption (I know I’m forgetting things too, it was a long ass list). And – no shit – in big bold letters at the bottom it cautioned against stress.

      • EmmaFromÉire

        The stress of that list alone would send me right to the chocolate box.

      • Véronique Houde

        amen…

      • Rachel Sea

        Can you imagine heating ice cream to 140F before eating it?

      • AP

        140 degrees F isn’t actually hot enough to kill most foodborne illnesses. Chicken has to be 160 to be considered safe to eat, I believe beef is 180, and certain parasites only die when boiled (212) for 1 minute.
        It makes sense to change the dietary restrictions to reflect that produce is now higher risk for contamination than meat, but these restrictions are just nuts (also forbidden?)

      • Rachel Sea

        It’s totally possible that the sheet said 160 or 180, and I’m not remembering right. Although it was all so insane, I wouldn’t be surprised if their nonsense had nonsense.

      • Dr. Apothecary

        Where in the world did this “OB” get her medical degree? The University of Lunacy???

      • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

        Nothing fried? What the fuck is thin skinned produce? Like a potato that cries if you give it cut-eye?

      • Rachel Sea

        Grapes, berries, potatoes, stone fruits, apples, broccoli…basically everything you don’t peel, shuck or shell before eating.

      • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

        So it’s a pesticide thing? Yeesh.

      • Rachel Sea

        I guess, but all produce is supposed to be organic, so…environmental toxins? It was all too crazy. The worst bit was that my friend actually did her best to follow the list, and beat herself up over her lapses, because “the doctor knows what she’s talking about.”

      • aliceblue

        Sounds like the OB needs a little professional help from a classmate who went into the mental health field.

      • Erin

        I would have fired that doctor. No chocolate???

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      I was told by in-laws not to eat sushi or drink camomile tea. I was asked if I would keep using nail polish or colouring my hair (Yes), and a few people gave me grief at Thanksgiving dinner when I had a glass of wine. I pretty much gave the finger to the whole restriction thing and did what made me happy, and going so far as decreasing my alcohol consumption to one glass once in a while and no more wacky weed.

      I miss the wacky weed. But wine and I are back to being better friends.

    • rrlo

      Imagine a woman – she eats a breakfast of poached eggs with
      toast and a cup of coffee, cold turkey sandwich with a Caesar salad, has a
      latte in the afternoon and goes out to a sushi dinner with her friends and
      enjoys a glass of wine.

      All of a sudden she is pregnant, and TA TA TA (dramatic
      music) – poached eggs are no good – potential salmonella! Cold turkey will give
      her listeria. Caffeine will lead to miscarriages and/or small baby. Caesar salad
      might have raw eggs in it! Sushi will give her a parasite and/or bacteria (not
      sure which one – different sources say different things) and having a drink is
      the biggest no-no ever!

      So it’s a bit irritating when
      people say “well if you can’t stop doing blah, blah, blah for 9 months – you’re
      a terrible mother.” No it’s not JUST
      stopping drinking, or giving up your latte – these days pregnant women are
      supposed to completely overhaul their life just to have a baby.

      It’s not that easy to change one’s
      lifestyle – 9 months (and even longer with breastfeeding) is a LONG time. It’s
      like saying to those struggling to lose weight “oh just stop eating so much for
      a year – it’s just a year.”

      I recently found out that a cup
      of mint tea is frowned upon during pregnancy… yet with my first child doctors
      and nurses were tripping over themselves trying to induce my labor with prostaglandin
      gel, Pitocin and an epidural. I have nothing against those things but even to my
      layman medical knowledge, peppermint tea seems way less “risky” than all that
      other stuff.

    • Amber

      I’ll admit that one of my least favorite things to see is an obviously pregnant woman with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

      But I can just look away and ignore it, I don’t feel the need to say anything about it.

      • LET

        My husband got us tickets to a CAKE concert this summer, and we spent half the time counting pregnant women who were dancing, drinking & smoking…most were using their bellies as beer carrying trays. It was super awkward. Obviously, I didn’t say anything, because it’s really not my business. And, honestly, I feel like my urge to judge is societal more than anything…I mean, studies have shown things like sugar and stress to be equally (or maybe even more) damaging to a growing child than alcohol or cigarettes, but I don’t really think anything of a woman eating a Krispy Kreme.

      • Amber

        To me, I judge to the extent of “I don’t want to associate with that person right now.” unless there’s something serious going on like child abuse then I judge with a call to CPS.

      • LET

        Yeah, in this case, I’m fairly certain each woman probably consumed a single beer and a single cigarette while at the concert, and, for all I know, that’s the only beer/cigarette each consumed throughout her whole pregnancy, it just seems to be a visceral response to judge a woman who’s pregnant, when it’s not necessarily reasonable or logical.
        As far as child abuse, how often do you honestly see something worthy of being called abuse out in public…? I would be really concerned with misinterpreting a situation and having an innocent mother stripped of her child, but that’s just me.

      • Amber

        I’ve never seen it in public. I just didn’t want to give the impression that I look the other way on everything. If I saw a guy punch his girlfriend, I’m judging with the cops. If I see someone grab their kid by the hair and smack their face on the back of the car at Walmart, I’m judging with the cops. LOL, I just don’t like to say always or never. In some scenarios I would insert myself into other people’s business… hard.

        If it’s not a criminal act, I don’t really care what people do, I just might not want to talk to them.

      • LET

        Gotcha. I guess I’m just sensitive to the issue, as I’ve seen people give me the “OMGGGGG you’re abusing your child, you horrible person!” look when I’m dragging my child kicking & screaming from a store because he wouldn’t listen, and I told him he’d be going straight home for a nap because he wasn’t behaving enough to stay awake (BS, IMO, because those same people don’t want to see a child misbehaving in public, and I need to discipline if we want well behaved kids out and about!). It’s like my greatest irrational fear that someone will call CPS because my child tantrums (though I don’t think it’s totally irrational considering how some people are so out of touch with children & their propensity to tantrum…(

      • Amber

        Oh, I totally understand. I wouldn’t judge you at all in that situation, I’d empathize, I’ve been there too.

        Now if you drop kicked him at some point, we’d have a problem. LOL But I’m sure you would never do that.

      • gothicgaelicgirl

        saw a great one there last year- Myself and the fiance were at a Rammstein concert. Now for those who don’t listen to obscure German music, they are an extremely heavy metal band, famed for their on stage flamethrowers, pyros, on stage vehicles and even passing an inflatable dinghy around the audience with the singer in it. now, I personally would never give up seeing one of my favourite bands in concert, pregnant or not. but if I was pregnant, I would get a sitting ticket.

        We saw a HEAVILY pregnant woman standing near the front pyro machines, in the MIDDLE OF A MOSHPIT, punching anyone who even WALKED PAST her, screaming BE CAREFUL, I M PREGNANT, STAY AWAY FROM ME, I M PREGNANT.

        Now I’m all for keeping up regular activities when pregnant, but really? Swinging your arms in a wide arc around you and kicking anyone who happens to bump into you? YOU’RE IN THE MOST DANGEROUS PART OF THE AUDIENCE! It was a large venue, there was plenty of room to stand at the side and still get the vibe.

        To top it all off, after she punched a guy in the face for squeezing past her, resulting in a split lip for him, a security guard came over and RECOMMENDED she move to another part.
        She tried to hit HIM and was screaming DISCRIMINATION.
        To which the security guard brilliantly replied- You could be having a baby or kittens, but I’m asking you to move because you’re hurting people.
        She refused to move, starting crying saying he was discriminating against her. He eventually managed to get her to move to the side after he said he had the right to remove any person considered a danger to themselves or others from the gig.
        So yeah…personally, I would NEVER miss a gig- but maybe if I had a standing ticket, I’d stick to the side with my ginger ale. =)

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    • Helen Hyde

      BOY do I remember this. I had an ice cream at the height of summer at work, and my boss told me I shouldn’t have… after I had finished it (it was from an ice cream van, something about cleanliness) and I posted on facebook about eating some soft cheese (a play on an old advert in the uk, it was pretty funny…), and I got the ‘should you be eating soft cheese?’ comments on there.

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    • A

      K first of all she got the name of the syndrome wrong it is fetal alcohol SPECTRUM disorder. It is named this way to reflect the fact that FASD occurs on a spectrum. The fact that women talk about the fact that they drank and their 3 year old is smart shows that they have no concept of what FASD actually is. The tragedy of this disorder is that the symptoms are diffuse and often appear to look like ADHD or other more socialy acceptable diagnosis. More over most symptoms of the lower end oft the spectrum are not recognized. Most people with this disorder are never diagnosed. Alcohol is a teratogen and is known to cause brain damage(and brain damage does not always result in low iq). While yes is is likely that a fetus will recover from the damage caused by small amounts of alcohol there is no guarantee. No expert in the field of FASD would tell you it is safe to drink because there is no way of knowing for sure how much will cause a birth defect. This is because the effect of the amount is related to other factors such as maternal health, nutrition, and ability to process alcohol. I get the fact that many women drink while they do not know they are pregnant but if you feel drinking is a nessecity when you know you are pregnant and know there is a risk to the neuro development of your child then it may be worth while to consider your relationship with alcohol. I’ve worked for years with individuals with FASD. I have seen then be taken advantage of in every way possible. I have seen them in jail, in hospital, and on the streets.

      • A

        I ran out of space but what I wanted to say in closing is that the risk is not worth the glass of wine. And yrs it is society’s business because the cost to government from this diagnosis is astronomical

      • whiteroses

        No, it really isn’t society’s business. If you can show me some actual, real studies done by reputable doctors that say a single glass of wine a week will cause FASD, then by all means continue to rant.
        Like any other decision a woman makes while pregnant- it’s between her and her doctor. If her doctor gives the okay, then fine.

    • Hallie

      My friend was telling me about her friend who just announced she was pregnant. My friend said “well I could totally tell she was pregnant before she said anything, cause we were at a party and I noticed she wasn’t eating any soft cheeses.” I burst out laughing, because (a.) i had never heard you couldnt eat soft cheese when preg (b.) who notices when their friend isn’t eating “soft cheese” and (c.) what is the world coming to? My friend went on to educate me on all the things you cannot eat, which also included nacho cheese/queso dip…. Really?? You truly have to draw the line somewhere.

      I cant help but think if Jennifer Aniston wants these pregnancy rumors to go away, maybe she should get photographed eating soft cheeses…

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    • T.

      I find it’s more the other way around: pregnant women wanting to be treated as fragile flowers, and wanting attention for all of the things that they can’t do because they’re pregnant. Can’t go for too long of a walk. Can’t go for more than 5 minutes without eating, or drinking water so that they can go to the bathroom more often so they can seem more pregnant. No sushi, no unpasteurized anything, no alcohol, no licorice root, no further than 5 steps from a bathroom at any time and I MUST BE ACCOMODATED!!

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