The 10 Banned Pregnancy Foods You Can Eat Without Hurting Your Baby
Being pregnant is awesome, amirite? Besides the puking and pontoon feet, there’s the little matter of not being able to do anything fun at all when you’re pregnant, and that includes one of my favorite things to do ever; eat. There’s a mile long list of stuff that’s off-limits while you’re knocked up, and I pretty much ate all of them. It’s not that I was any kind of rebel–it’s more that I was a) a teenager and kind of dumb and b) four kinds of poor and went a while before I even had a doctor, let alone all of the resources to tell me what I could and couldn’t eat. This includes Dr. Google, since I couldn’t afford internet. Maybe I just lucked out, or maybe 5 months of morning sickness meant I barfed everything bad up before it had a chance to poison my fetus but here’s the 10 banned pregnancy foods I ate without killing my unborn child.
I drank all of the coffee. All of it. I had a job on a shrimp and grits breakfast boat on the foul-smelling Savannah river before the break of dawn, so there was going to be coffee. Eventually I tapered off to a glass of milk with a spoon or two of coffee in it, but my child was perpetually caffeinated.
I also worked at a sushi bar for a while before I even knew I was pregnant. This means my child got a healthy dose of raw fish, usually washed down with coffee. I maintain that the ginger dressing on the salads we served is the only thing that kept the morning sickness at bay.
3. Feta Cheese
I didn’t even realize feta cheese was banned until I revisited the “banned pregnancy food” lists much later. Whoops.
I am a woman who likes her cheese, okay? To be fair, I also didn’t know that Brie was banned until my French final, which we celebrated as a class every year with croissants, brie, and crudites. It was my French teacher, Mme Barbier, who slapped the cheese out of my hand, muttering, “Ton pauvre bébé!” Double whoops.
5. Deli Meats
I continued to eat deli meat after I found a doctor, who told me not to eat deli meats. I mean, my doctor had obviously not met a lot of poors. It’s all we can afford.
6. Ramen Noodles
See above. This one made me nervous, though, because there’s no way to look at a package of ramen, notice that it has 4 million mg of sodium and not sweat a little. Also, ramen as it comes back up tastes exactly the same. 0 out of 5 stars, would not eat this banned pregnancy food again.
By the time I realized that tuna fish was chock full of mercury, pretty much the last thing a developing baby needs, it was already too late. I stopped eating it after I realized, but I mourned the loss of one of the only foods that didn’t make me hork, and felt guilty when I took the trash down, since the empty cans clanging together sounded like betrayal and being a shitty mom.
8. Spicy Foods
I love spicy food, and I always have. I had a friend who was trying to get pregnant, and while she was trying she wouldn’t eat spicy food, “just in case”. I didn’t care. Once I could finally hold everything in my stomach again, severe acid reflux had already begun, so if lamb vindaloo made it worse I wouldn’t have known anyway. I convinced myself that the heartburn was like a warm hug for my esophagus.
Carrots aren’t technically one of the banned pregnancy foods, and they’re actually supposed to be great for your baby. It was the only thing I ate while pregnant that came close to being a “craving”. A nurse freaked me out though while I was waiting for my appointment and started heading into my third bag of baby carrots by telling me my baby was going to come out orange. I cried, but couldn’t stop eating, my teeth an alarming shade of tangerine.
Alcohol is probably the most hotly debated of all of the banned pregnancy foods, but when my doctor finally gave me the go ahead, I was elated. Yes, I was underage, but my boyfriend was not, and I worked nights at a bar. My coworkers gave me a three dollar bottle of an Arbor Mist “wine-like grape byproduct” to celebrate. One glass in and I swore wine off forever.
Now, I don’t want to give the impression that these foods made up my entire pregnancy diet. I did make an effort to not destroy my developing fetus by eating apples and choking down prenatal horse pills. But I did eat pretty much all of the banned pregnancy foods on the no-no list, and my child made it out relatively unscathed. Surely I’m not the only one. Who wants to alleviate my guilt? Which banned pregnancy foods did you eat while you were pregnant?
(Image: Paul Vasarhelyi/Shutterstock)