I read with interest the article, A Womb in Paris on Persephone Magazine this week. It compares some of the different attitudes towards what a pregnant woman is allowed to eat and drink and what they choose to consume, in France versus the US. The author's Parisian pregnant friend continues to enjoy some soft French cheeses, a glass of wine here and there and coffee, whilst the United States government’s list at foodsafety.gov recommended all those things and more should be avoided by someone who is pregnant.
A couple of pregnant friends were talking the other day about this same topic. One is due with her second baby and was commenting on how she has been less cautious with food and drink this time round, having a daily diet Coke for example, whereas with her first pregnancy she was very careful to avoid certain foods and drinks. The other lady is pregnant with her first baby and somehow hadn't even heard that she should have cut down on things like coffee and wine and has been consuming those things with the same regularity as before she was pregnant.
In my own case, I can say that I'm being a bit less strict with what I eat and drink this time round too. With my first pregnancy I cut out coffee completely but would have one cup of caffeinated tea a day. This time, if I want a cup of coffee I have one, whilst still sticking to no more than one caffeinated drink per day. Of course chocolate contains caffeine too and I'm not always as careful with how much of that I eat..... I am not drinking any alcohol and I am avoiding unpasteurised cheeses but generally I'm probably not eating overall as healthily as I did with my first pregnancy, where I would make a fruit salad for dessert over a cheesecake when we had people to dinner. (I've just made a cheesecake for dinner with a friend this evening!).
As the French lady featured in the article says, with a lot of the things to avoid, it's because of a pregnant woman's increased risk more than a direct danger from eating or drinking something. She also says that she can trust her own judgement and I think I feel the same. I try to balance out my diet with lots of healthy foods as well as my little indulgencies and I have my own personal limits that I don't exceed.
We're all responsible for our own bodies and need to do what we feel is right. Whilst I'm not as relaxed in my food and drink choices as the Parisian in the article, I do think there's a balance and no need to be too extreme, as with anything. Sensible choices, moderation and being aware of what we eat and drink can help strike a healthy balance.
What do you think about the article and how strict or careful were you in your pregnancies in terms of what you ate and drank?