When I was pregnant, I followed most of the rules. No unpasteurized cheeses, no sushi, no deli meats that weren’t nuked. But a couple that I fudged on? I had an ounce or two of red wine here and there (especially late in my pregnancy), and sometimes I ate a little more salmon than recommended or had two cups of coffee. I took it as my body and my decision, but a lot of the rules did seem limiting — and, at times, darn right mean. No sashimi for nine months? Cue the sad violins.
But I did it, and I had a healthy baby girl.
But did I really need to put myself through all that? COULD I HAVE HAD SUSHI AFTER ALL?
According to the new book Debunking the Bump, yep. Sushi isn’t really that much of a risk for pregnant women when you look at the studies. And those soft cheeses? Also not much of a risk. What’s scarier? Um, driving and pesticides on our produce. Or, you know, the obvious ones like smoking and cocaine. But things like having less than a drink of alcohol a day or even not sleeping on your left side don’t seem to be that much of a risk at all.
Is your mind blown? Mine kind of was. Author Daphne Adler, a mathematician with a BA and MBA from Harvard, spent three years researching data to find out what she should avoid when she was pregnant. And what she found became the fodder for her highly sourced book (seriously, close to half the book is notes of cited studies and research). Using a system of “threat level” and “benefit level” that take into consideration the likelihood that something will happen, how severe the outcome is and the certainty of the study (how well/long has it been studied?), she breaks down common pregnancy no-nos and shares what the science says about it. It’s pretty eye-opening and, if you’re a numbers geek, will send you into a happy tizzy there’s so much data to comb through. (If not, no worries. Just read page 18 and go about your pregnant business.)
What I really liked about the book was that it takes some of the guilt and worry off when you’re pregnant. Accidentally had some raw cheese or fell asleep on your back? It’s not the end of the world. And while I’m still not sure I’ll be chowing down on sashimi often when I’m pregnant next time, I might just go ahead and have a few pieces here and there. It’s just more information to make decisions that feel good for you. That said, I can’t see myself going against my doctor’s advice because, well, it’s still my doctor. Research and all, I still trust their opinion. (Thankfully, mine were cool with a little wine and coffee when knocked up.)
What about you though? Any pregnancy “no-nos” that you did/had? And would a book like this change your pregnant behavior at all? The stakes sure are high … —Jenn