The number one pregnancy related question I encounter is: do you have any weird cravings?
Sorry to disappoint – but no. I haven’t been eating pickles and ice cream or pepper jelly on pecan pie or anything like that.
I did want to eat ALL the cheese – until I started taking taking calcium supplements. And ALL the gummi bears (probably for the gelatin since I don’t really eat meat). But besides that, nothing out of the ordinary. Of course, I want to eat cake all day long…. but that’s not new. I was always like that.
Cravings tend stem from a lack of something in your diet and I am a pretty well rounded eater. Especially round now…..
There are documented cases of people craving (and ingesting) non-food substances during pregnancy…. like clay or drywall. But that would be due to a lack of minerals in the diet (most of these cases are in developing countries).
Yesterday, Ed was making popcorn and double checked with me that it’s okay if I eat salt. I thanked him for making sure it was safe (after making fun of him for a long time). What a thoughtful young man.
But can you imagine having to avoid sodium?! That would be terrible!
At first, it was a little overwhelming learning all the things you aren’t supposed to ingest when knocked up. No tuna sashimi? No 3 cups of caffeine? No sleep aid? No pepto-bismal???
How could one possibly live?!
Well, it turns out you don’t really need pepto and sleep aids when you’re not drinking 3 cups of coffee a day…. I guess I could have figured that out if I would have given it any thought at all.
Luckily, mamas in training are a-ok to eat most things.
The list of things you aren’t supposed to consume during pregnancy may seem super tricky… but it turns out it’s pretty much anything someone on a clean living diet would stick to:
1- No smoking, drinking, or drugs: Well, ok. People aren’t supposed to do any of that stuff anyway.
2- Limited amounts of well cooked meat. Nothing raw: meat, eggs, cheese: A good call for anyone trying to avoid food poisoning.
A preggo is at particularly high risk for foodborne illness because the immune system is altered during pregnancy. Making it harder to fight off certain harmful foodborne microorganisms. Foodborne illness during pregnancy can cause serious health problems, miscarriage, premature delivery, stillbirth or even death of the mother.
3- Deli Meat: Deli meats have been known to be contaminated with listeria which can cause miscarriage. Listeria has the ability to cross the placenta and may infect the baby leading to infection or blood poisoning.
Barf. Who would want to eat gross nitrate filled deli meat anyway? No problem there.
4- No large fish… tuna, shark, swordfish. We should all be concerned about avoiding high levels of mercury.
Mercury consumed during pregnancy has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage.
5- Limited amounts of sugar and caffeine: Another good tip for all of us to maintain healthy hydration and a good sleep schedule.
My midwife specifically told me not to eat doughnuts every day. And to stick on a max of one caffeinated beverage per day. Caffeine is a diuretic, which can result in water and calcium loss. It is important to guzzle plenty of water rather than caffeinated beverages. Some research shows that large amounts of caffeine are associated with miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and withdrawal symptoms in infants.
6- No garbage medications: sleeping pills, melatonin, pepto bismal, antidepressants, advil, aspirin, …. the list goes on and on. Again, some good advice for people into clean living. As long as you don’t have some serious debilitating mental condition…. you can probably find a suitable replacement that is all natural.
The thing I have probably gotten the most crazy about is washing fruits and veggies. Sure, I already did that. But now I’m washing the outsides of everything – even if I’m not going to eat it. Like the rind of a cantaloupe or the avocado peel. Because cutting through the food can lead to cross contaimination from whatever was on the outside. And I don’t really trust other people’s washing skills…… so, I probably washed my food a second time when you weren’t looking.
This cleaner diet is working out pretty good. But all this safe eating also means no more shady restaurants and tacos from the back of a van. Sadness.
All in all, a pregnant diet isn’t that hard. It’s basically what I should have been doing all along.
But I really miss tuna sashimi.