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The list of pregnancy no-nos is long and can seem cruel if what’s on it is exactly what you (or your little one inside) is craving. Surely there are virtuous women who follow the list of don’ts to the letter for all nine months, but how many moms-to-be are brave enough to admit they conveniently ignore what is allegedly bad because it makes them feel so good? I am. Here are 10 questionable things I did while pregnant.
1. Nitrates, nitrates, nitrates
It’s a cruel irony that one of the biggest cravings I’ve had during both my pregnancies has been one of pregnancy’s biggest no-nos. Never in my life have the salty and savory goodness of bacon, salami and prosciutto called to me quite so loudly or sweetly. Sometimes I think maybe it’s not so bad, or even okay, to indulge if I buy an organic brand. Because organic makes everything better, doesn’t it?
I was never a coffee drinker but I enjoyed the occasional diet soda. And while I try to steer clear of things with ingredients like saccharin and aspartame while with child, somehow non-caffeinated beverages like root beer or anything with lemon-lime flavoring — high-fructose corn syrup be damned — doesn’t seem to weigh too heavily on my conscience. Sure, it’s wrong, but sometimes it’s just so right.
3. Farm-raised salmon
I go out of my way to avoid certain fish, like shark, while pregnant. (I also avoid shark while not pregnant, and also while swimming.) But I have a harder time giving up other fish, like salmon. I usually buy the farm-raised kind and justify it because I tell myself it hasn’t been exposed to the seagull poop in the ocean. Even though I know pregnant women are supposed to eat the wild variety, it’s just so bloody expensive. Mommy wants her salmon affordable.
What pregnant woman isn’t warned until kingdom come to shun non-pasteurized cheese? But is there really any cheese sold in the United State that isn’t pasteurized? I wouldn’t actually know because I never check the labels. Particularly because I just like cheese and want to eat it. Like, a lot.
Oh, relax. I don’t drink vodka — or any other alcoholic beverage — while pregnant. That would be wrong. No, instead I make penne alla vodka. And double the amount of vodka called for in the recipe. And then I don’t exactly let it cook long enough to burn off the alcohol. Same things go for coq au vin and anything else that calls for a protein combined with a liquid that has 80 proof in its subtitle.
6. Celebrity porn
I’m a serious sucker for celebrity websites and glossy magazines, but reading about how knocked-up A-list movie stars and D-list reality show castoffs indulge in their fattiest food cravings and still don’t gain any weight, or how some exclusive furniture company came and decorated their baby’s nursery, or how some Parisian or Italian designer supplied their newborn’s layette isn’t good for me. It just isn’t. And yet I can’t look away.
7. Stomach sleeping
When I hit 16- or 17-weeks pregnant, the nurse told me it was time to stop sleeping on my stomach. But the way I see it, I’ll hurt my unborn baby more if I don’t get any sleep than if I sleep on my stomach for a few minutes each night while falling asleep. If my baby comes out with the imprint of my pajamas on her forehead, I’ll totally spring for her first plastic surgery.
I know all about bottom feeders and how you’re supposed to keep away from them during pregnancy. But you try being married to a man from Louisiana and then keep shrimp out of the house for nine months. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
9. Deli sandwiches
Listeria is another one of the kryptonites of pregnancy, which means you’re supposed to avoid deli meats or ask the person behind the deli counter to heat the turkey in your sandwich until it’s steaming. Seriously? Tell me you’ve really done the latter, and I’ll give you a medal.
10. Not exercise
I sit all day long and work on a computer, and while heavy computer use is safe during pregnancy, not exercising isn’t. I know I’m supposed to get up once an hour to keep my blood moving. However, have you tried taking a break from work every hour and still managed to keep your job? If the answer is yes, let me know if there are any openings where you work.