Anonymous said: hi nora, read your post on drinking during pregnancy & different country's advisement regarding this issue. as I as watched a French film this weekend: Making Plans for Lena, I was amazed how even TODAY French women still smoke during pregnancy, & blatantly! I have seen preg. French women smoking in films previously and realize their culture seems to think it is alright, or rather OK with the facts that it may cause low birth weight, but def. a different view in our cultures. Interesting.
Sooo interesting, isn’t it? I always think of the hugely pregnant working class Irish girls smoking fags outside the pregnancy center I lived near on the north side of Dublin. “Keeps the birth weight down!” they’d joke. Or, not joke.
I gave up smoking nearly 7 years ago but continued socially smoking ‘til just before I got pregnant. The smell of smoke totally grosses me out right now — I hold my breath and cover my nose whenever I see a lit cigarette — which I take as my body saying, Steer clear! Bad for baby!
But there are other French/international things I am doing in spades. Like eating certain cheeses. I just can’t get myself worked up about raw or fresh cheeses, or small amounts of (really high quality) raw fish. I ate a raw oyster or two when pregnant until my pregnant food writer friend explained that while she’s taking a similarly liberal approach to eating, oysters have a naturally occurring bacteria than can cause (very rarely) miscarriage, but is harmless when you’re not pregnant. So, oysters are out.
Not to be blase about it but healthy babies get born in the millions. My thought process is usually, if I lost the baby, what would I regret having done? And then avoiding that.
But these are deeply personal decisions, I’m not a doctor, I’ve had a very easy and healthy pregnancy, yadda yadda yadda. If you’re the kind of person who celebrates the news that she’s having a girl with a really nice glass of sparkling rose, awesome (we’d probably be friends). If you’re not, that’s great too. American moms get shit support from the government — we’ve gotta support each other.
Anonymous said: Have you had any alcohol during your pregnancy? I'm not asking to wag my finger, just that you obviously have a modern take on life and everything, so I was curious. I just found out I'm pregnant and haven't told anyone yet, and I don't think a glass of wine here or there would cause any harm, and my doctor agrees, but obviously people are judgy. Just wondering about your experiences in terms of food restrictions, etc.
Congratulations! And great question. This is something near and dear to my heart (because alcohol is near and dear to my heart).
Short answer: yes, I am drinking, but I had very little in the first trimester (like: 3 oz beer and maybe 8 oz wine, total). I was nervous about miscarriage, as everyone is.
These days I am going by both my doctor’s and the UK National Health Service's alcohol recommendations for pregnant women — 1-3 glasses of wine a week is not a problem (and may actually be beneficial in that a relaxed mommy is a healthy mommy). The US Surgeon General still says no alcohol and I'm sure will continue to do so for some time — despite something like 60% of American doctors now saying small amounts of alcohol in pregnancy is fine — because we're a pretty conservative country, and it's ethically challenging to conduct controlled clinical trials of limited alcohol consumption. (Even my cardiologist says 3 glasses of wine a week is fine, and I am potentially at a very small risk for heart complications in pregnancy, because that’s what my birth-mom died of.)
I’m staying away from hard alcohol because just the smell of it turns my stomach — and wine is the best. (But not gonna lie, one glass of rose DOES NOT CUT IT and ugh I cannot wait for that two-glass buzz again!)
As for judgy people, I’ve experienced a little bit of it, always from older people whose own mothers, ironically enough, probably drank without guilt when they were in the womb. The American medical establishment came down really hard on alcohol and caffeine in pregnancy in the last generation (when we were born), so I find myself constantly educating Baby Boomers and up on what we’re allowed to do now. (Which includes 8-10 oz of coffee a day, god bless.)
Whenever I feel a teensy bit guilty I remember the words of a friend of mine, who gave birth to a very healthy and very big baby girl one year ago — “My only regret with my pregnancy is not drinking more.” Meaning, don’t feel guilty about your glass. Enjoy your pregnancy!
Noted. (Hopefully our baby won’t refuse to nurse, as I did, cause that’s my whole weight loss plan — just like every (disingenuous) Victoria’s Secret model and starlet who’s had a baby in the past five years. Oh, I just breastfed….)
When pregnant with Baby Girl, I was totally open to breastfeeding or formula or any manageable combo. I figured I’d try to attach Baby to Boob, and if it worked? Brilliant.
If not - I was raised on formula, and Mama’s standards are good enough (OK, mostly a reach) for me….