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As a first time pregnant lady, I have found a lot of helpful, unhelpful, and down right annoying advice on what to eat and what to avoid.

From dirty looks at Japanese/Sushi restaurants (no I wasn't eating anything raw), to a friend who practically had a heart attack when I took a sample of prosciutto from George, my friendly butcher/chef at my neighborhood corner grocery store, to people telling me I can't eat _______ because.....well they don't know why. But I just should not eat it.

How can one be pregnant, enjoy it, enjoy eating and raise a child to enjoy food and abhor baloney, spagetti-o's and american cheese?

Advice, stories, and ranting all accepted in this pursuit. :biggrin:

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Hi Poffertjes, congratulations on your pregnancy!

Avoid the following: raw or undercooked eggs, unpasteurized dairy products, and meat not thoroughly cooked. Usual food safety hooha (washing fruits and vegetables, defrosting properly); special precaution regarding contact with cats. I'm just following WHO guidelines, which are generally multi-culturally friendly. Of course, other responses will probably be more specific :smile:

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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Having never been pregnant, I don't really know a whole lot. But I do know this - my officemate and I have a daily Vosges Chocolate Break (approx 2pm). We did this most of the way through her pregnancy until we figured out that the chocolate was waking the baby up and making him rather active (kicking her like crazy). It was especially bad after we broke into the Creole bar with the espresso beans (imagine that!). So might want to watch the caffeine. :)

Anyway, congratulations!

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Thanks for your well wishes.

I think having a daily Vosges chocolate break is a fantastic idea.

I guess I'm also kind of inspired by Nigella Lawson's new book, when it talks about feeding children and being pregnant, that what you eat during pregnancy and breast feeding can affect your children's palate. Does anyone have any experience with this? i.e. eating spicy foods, strong flavored foods, etc will give your child a taste for them. Such as eating Cauliflower or broccoli while pregnant or breast feeding will help your child embrace them when they are eating solid foods.

Also, allergies, I have absolutely no allergies, same with my husband. Is this just luck of the draw? How do I help my kid have the same experience?

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Yes, I am interested in the allergy question as well. I know that breast feeding helps to prevent environmental allergies, but does this go for food allergies too?

As a purely anecdotal aside, I've long been interested in this allergy/bottle feeding question, and over the years have asked many people if they were breast fed when I learn that they have allergies. All of the allergy sufferers have said no. But we're talking hayfever, dander allergies, etc.--not food.

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I have two children. I was young and foolish when I was pregnant with my first. I ate a lot of fast food and junk food. I had a craving for Taco Bell so bad, my then husband drove 45 minutes at midnight to get me off his back. She is a decided junk food junkie. No really.

With my second child I had cravings for fruit so bad that I couldn't stand it. To this day, he wants fruit more than candy. He was reently in an "All you can eat" training situation for a number of weeks, and started to gain weight. As soon as he let me know about it, I only had to remind him of a few basic rules and he is right back to his normal weight.

This is just anecdotal evidence, but it sure worked for me.

Ellen

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I can't imagine anything you eat while the baby is in the womb will affect his or her future food likes and dislikes. It is the blood in the placenta that provides nourishment in the womb.

As for breast milk - an entirely different matter. Early in my daughter's life (she was days old), I had a big meal of spaghetti and garlic bread. She ended up crying all night long - screaming in fact. The pediatrician said the breast milk probably had lots of garlic which may have given her gas. Your diet definitely impacts breast milk! Maybe I should have eaten a bunch of parsley after the spaghetti.

If you all promise not to throw stones at me - I breast fed both of my kids, but not for that long. I managed for one month with my daughter, but I produced far more milk than she could ingest and I spent much time engorged and in pain. I gave up and resorted to bottles. I breast fed my son for two months, but had to bail after I tried pumping milk at the office. I leaked all over my suit, even with the breast pads. It just didn't work for me. Neither of my kids have food allergies, even though their dad was once allergic to strawberries and eggplant (he outgrew them).

On the flip side, my sister-in-law breast fed her daughter for nearly three years :shock: The poor child is 16 and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when she was 7, asthma when she was 10 and scoliosis at 14.

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. . . .

From dirty looks at Japanese/Sushi restaurants (no I wasn't eating anything raw), to a friend who practically had a heart attack when I took a sample of prosciutto from George, my friendly butcher/chef at my neighborhood corner grocery store, to people telling me I can't eat _______ because.....well they don't know why. But I just should not eat it.

. . . .

There's quite a bit of information about raw fish and pregnancy here: Pregnant Women and Sushi in Japan. The topic includes research links and lots of anecdotal testimony, as well as this observation, which addresses the "they don't know why" phenomenon:

. . . someone told me that, when she was pregnant in France, she was told to avoid ice cream and raw fruit. It seems as though every country, culture and obstetrician has different advice about what pregnant women should and shouldn't eat, and that very little of it rests on any sort of factual basis.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Yes, I am interested in the allergy question as well. I know that breast feeding helps to prevent environmental allergies, but does this go for food allergies too?

As a purely anecdotal aside, I've long been interested in this allergy/bottle feeding question, and over the years have asked many people if they were breast fed when I learn that they have allergies. All of the allergy sufferers have said no. But we're talking hayfever, dander allergies, etc.--not food.

In my brief search of MedLine, nothing jumped out at me although it seemed pretty clear that the consensus is that breast-feeding, while it may or may not actively prevent food allergies, does remove one potential source of common allergens--cow's milk from formula.

And to return to the topic of eating, fatty fish (swordfish, etc.) apparently should be avoided since they may concentrate heavy metals in their fatty tissues.

Honestly, though, stick your tongue out at rude strangers who look aghast at what you're eating unless it's arsenic-laced, red-dye-stained, lard-fried nuclear waste... :biggrin: Eat healthy--I'm sure you already know how to do it and don't make yourself insane worrying about every morsel that goes into your mouth. Most things, within reason and in moderation, are going to be perfectly fine.

If you read some of the pregnancy books (I was addicted to the nasty things--shame on me), they'll warn you off all white flours and refined sugars, but as long you're balancing them out, a cookie now and again isn't going to be a problem. Hash brownies, maybe not so much... :wink:

Ignoring the advice of the silly books, I ate a McDonald's fish filet at least once a week--and my son, now 10, won't eat at McDonald's, he thinks it's disgusting... :wub: I think food preferences are more a matter of exposure and culture than tastes developed while in the womb (although since I've also come to realize that my son was born with a personality b/c it's certainly not one I would necessarily have fostered in him, I'm not saying there's nothing to the "well I at X while I was pregnant and now my child can't get enough of it" school of thought).

Congratulations! Enjoy the experience.

ETA to clarify that I didn't eat an entire McDonald's, just a fish sandwich... I had cravings, but they weren't THAT bad!

Edited by BekkiM (log)
Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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If you all promise not to throw stones at me - I breast fed both of my kids, but not for that long.  I managed for one month with my daughter, but I produced far more milk than she could ingest and I spent much time engorged and in pain.  I gave up and resorted to bottles.  I breast fed my son for two months, but had to bail after I tried pumping milk at the office.  I leaked all over my suit, even with the breast pads.  It just didn't work for me.  Neither of my kids have food allergies, even though their dad was once allergic to strawberries and eggplant (he outgrew them).

On the flip side, my sister-in-law breast fed her daughter for nearly three years  :shock:  The poor child is 16 and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when she was 7, asthma when she was 10 and scoliosis at 14.

No stone throwing here... I didn't breast feed at all and my son is healthy as a horse. Genetics and environmental factors, along with just pure bad luck, play a huge roll in what we're susceptible to in our lives.

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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Yes, I am interested in the allergy question as well. I know that breast feeding helps to prevent environmental allergies, but does this go for food allergies too?

As a purely anecdotal aside, I've long been interested in this allergy/bottle feeding question, and over the years have asked many people if they were breast fed when I learn that they have allergies. All of the allergy sufferers have said no. But we're talking hayfever, dander allergies, etc.--not food.

In my brief search of MedLine, nothing jumped out at me although it seemed pretty clear that the consensus is that breast-feeding, while it may or may not actively prevent food allergies, does remove one potential source of common allergens--cow's milk from formula.
My daughter became allergic to cow's milk through my breast milk. I had to give up milk, ice cream, etc., while nursing. Casein and whey turn up in the most unlikely places.

I'd eat whatever you can stomach for the first three months and take your prenatal vitamins. After that, just try to eat a balanced diet and avoid the things your doctor says to avoid (undercooked meat, etc.). What you eat while pregnant most likely won't have any bearing on your child's palate.

ETA: and congratulations!

Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Poffertjes, congratulations and wishing you a healthy, happy pregnancy and baby! When is the due date, and how are you feeling now?

I had gestational diabetes with both pregnancies, and managed to stay off insulin by adhering to a strict diet and exercise; I ate at prescribed times, weighed every morsel, and tested my blood 5-6 times a day. We weren't warned off fish, just alcohol, caffeine, and Equal or Saccharine. I couldn't stand the smell of coffee and didn't miss wine, but I was distraught without the Diet Cokes!

Eh, breastfeeding. Nothing seems to make people feel more justified to criticize someone, than a bottle feeding mother. I was a bottle fed baby and have perfect teeth and developed environmental allergies in my 30s. My nieces and nephews were exclusively breast fed and correcting their teeth is making an orthodontist a rich man. They also never went to group care, but were always sick. Someone's going to find fault with what you eat during pregnancy and how you choose to feed your child after s/he's born. It's a real shame, isn't it?

I was working in a restaurant and information on the tables would be on the tickets -- nut allergy at position 2, etc. Suddenly we started seeing "pregnant" on the tickets, and wondered what in the world we were supposed to do about that. Anyway, the first time a Pregnant ticket came through, my cooking partner yelled, "it isn't mine!" :laugh:

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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Congratulations! I had a healthy pregnancy and only avoided caffeine, alcohol, raw fish or meats (due to possible bacteria etc). I know I heard stuff about cured products but I ate some. Moderation is the key. Just try to keep your weight in a good range to minimize health issues and eat what makes you feel good. As to breast feeding, it can be tough, so that has to be on a case by case basis. I think genetics plays the bigger role.

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Neither my sister nor her husband have any food allergies, and though both her children were breast-fed (in her older child's case, fed with expressed breast milk), and though she ate pretty much whatever she wanted (at least throughout her first pregnancy), the youngest has allergies to milk proteins, and nuts (legumes and tree nuts).

My mother, however, is allergic to milk proteins, and sometimes has allergic reactions from peanuts.

I think food allergies are kind of a crap shoot. Having a close relative with food allergies may increase the chance of your child developing them, but you'll never know...So eat and enjoy whatever you like (within reason), and screw everyone else.

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As a first time pregnant lady, I have found a lot of helpful, unhelpful, and down right annoying advice on what to eat and what to avoid.

From dirty looks at Japanese/Sushi restaurants (no I wasn't eating anything raw), to a friend who practically had a heart attack when I took a sample of prosciutto from George, my friendly butcher/chef at my neighborhood corner grocery store, to people telling me I can't eat _______ because.....well they don't know why. But I just should not eat it.

It's not just the raw fish...you have to watch out for the seafood that may contain mercury. As for prosciutto...isn't that dry-cured uncooked ham? I don't think that a small sample would be of any harm, but it's hard to set limits, so often times people are just told to avoid things entirely.

The March of Dimes has a short list of suggestions. They also have a page about food safety, if you're not sure. The FDA also has a website, but I don't think it's as friendly as March of Dimes. (The FDA website really emphasizes food safety issues including having the proper fridge temperature!)

Though, Megnut does have a point in her blog, as to how she chose what she would eat/avoid. Just don't ask a health care professional to commit to saying it's ok (remember that even if an adverse event is rare, if the doc said it was ok, then that physician might be sued...why do you think the official recommendations are conservative?) We live in a litigious society. :unsure:

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The Pregnancy and Food thread.

And a (Not Just) Morning Sickness thread.

Congrats!  :smile:

Thanks for the past threads. I did a search, but couldn't find anything.

Thanks for all the well wishes and support.

I have all the guidelines from my doctor, from "what to expect when you're expecting" and other books, the internet, etc.

I know not to eat raw fish or sushi, not to eat fish that have a lot of mercury, no caffeine, no (or limited) alcohol, no lunch meats, etc.

I know to keep my weight gain to a minimum, 25-35 pounds based on my height, previous weight and fitness level.

I have my cravings, Peanut butter and honey on toast during the first trimester, refried beans and cheese now that I'm in my 2nd trimester.

My questions are based on the fact that most of the resources out there are not set up for individuals who enjoy cooking and eating. I don't need help incorporating more veggies and fiber into my diet, as my diet currently consists of steel cut oatmeal and consistently buying veggies at my super market where I have to tell the checker what they are.

Thanks for all your comments, I look forward to hearing more from you and reading the past threads mentioned upthread.

Thanks!

Poffertjes

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I didn't avoid anything, actually...other than things I didn't normally eat or that made me nauseated. Deli meat has always freaked me out, so I didn't have a problem avoiding that. My midwife maintained that unless I was an exorbitant coffee drinker, or boozed my way through the afternoon before I was pregnant that both caffeine and alcohol, in moderation, can be fine during pregnancy. Raw milk cheeses and rare meat i think are also okay when coming from responsible sources.

And I got off pretty easy when breastfeeding; again, I ate it all without any ill effects. Thankfully my daughter at 3 has no allergies and will eat pretty much anything. Try not to stress and think too hard about all of it.

"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

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Congrats! After the first three months (when I could barely keep a cracker down) I really started to enjoy myself. The only thing I was religious about was the no caffeine thing. I drank wine once in a while, on special occasions or when I really couldn't resist. I ate almost everything and I gave in to my deepest craving, which was anything really sour: grapefruits that would make your teeth curl, sour candies, etc. I went to Japanese restaurants and ordered a whole plate of pickles. I also went through a month of BBQ rib cravings, which is something I almost never eat.

I tried to avoid raw fish sushi, but did break down a couple of times (and only at a popular place with high turnover where I knew the fish was best quality and fresh.) I did eat a lot of grilled eel sushi. My daughter is 19. She drinks moderately at college and loves Japanese food. I'm in the coincidence camp.

If your instincts tell you not to eat something, go with that. Not necessarily because it's bad for your baby, but mostly because you don't want to eat anything that might cause regret or worry later. There's nothing you can't live without for nine months, so enjoy eating for two. I'm not sure such indulgence is worth emulating, but Candice Bergen, who was married to the director Louis Malle, was living in goose country in France during her pregnancy. Yup, she gained 60 pounds and it must have been fun.

I wouldn't eat raw eggs, but I don't eat them anyway. And I do concur about mercury. Stay away from tuna (canned or otherwise I think) or other mercury-laden fish.

As for nursing, I envied moms with plenty of milk. I couldn't keep up with my kid, and I discovered that beer was my savior: nothing lets down milk like a glass of beer. Does my daughter like beer? Yes, but not to excess. And she likes good beer, not swill. So stay away from Bud Lite.

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I find the "no caffeine" thing so interesting. When I was pregnant the first time (20 years ago), a middle-aged co-worker told me flatly "my mother spent her entire pregnancy sitting at the kitchen table, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes."

I will admit - the guy was weird...... :raz:

Edited by hazardnc (log)
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Everybody will try to tell you what to eat. I say ignore them and just eat what you feel like eating. I personally decided to avoid raw animal proteins and alcohol, but other than that I ate whatever interested me. I had a pretty healthy pregnancy and a healthy son.

Like Hjshorter, my son developed an intolerance for dairy by being exposed to it through my milk. I subsequently developed a taste for soymilk and sorbet, both of which remain a part of my diet even though the child is fully weaned. Fortunately, Colin outgrew this intolerance, which is a good thing because ice cream is probably his favorite food in the world. (He's 20 months.)

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I did the totally crunchy granola eating thing with my first pregnancy. Whole foods, organic, perfectly balanced, no caffiene or alcohol. She was breastfed and lovingly introduced to homemade baby foods, etc, etc. This child eats crap at every given opportunity. She has some food allergy issues. Milk gives her shiners and chocolate gives her hives.

In my second pregnancy, I did what I wanted, when I wanted. Onion rings dipped in chocolate shake, yup. Pizza with pineapple and onions, oh baby. Candied bacon on mashed potatos with cheddar and roasted garlic? Bring me more. Espresso? Maybe just one. This child eats nothing but veggies and protein, and she's so much cannier than the rest of us that it's a little scary. When she is hungry and I can't keep the veggies flowing, I am sometimes worried she will start eating the shrubbery, like a goat. She has an iron stomach and the spicier, the better.

Your mileage may vary. :biggrin:

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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I did the totally crunchy granola eating thing with my first pregnancy. Whole foods, organic, perfectly balanced, no caffiene or alcohol. She was breastfed and lovingly introduced to homemade baby foods, etc, etc.  This child eats crap at every given opportunity. She has some food allergy issues. Milk gives her shiners and chocolate gives her hives.

In my second pregnancy, I did what I wanted, when I wanted. Onion rings dipped in chocolate shake, yup. Pizza with pineapple and onions, oh baby. Candied bacon on mashed potatos with cheddar and roasted garlic? Bring me more.  Espresso? Maybe just one.  This child eats nothing but veggies and protein, and she's so much cannier than the rest of us that it's a little scary. When she is hungry and I can't keep the veggies flowing, I am sometimes worried she will start eating the shrubbery, like a goat. She has an iron stomach and the spicier, the better.

Your mileage may vary. :biggrin:

:biggrin: I love your response. So many people think everything is cut and dry and will apply across the board to every person. Just goes to show how individual we are! I sure hope my junk food loving/craving self produces a healthy baby who will eat veggies. I love the veggies too, just too lazy to cook lately. Besides, she's at least four days overdue right now! With the rain and power outages in the Bay Area (California), I'm hoping I won't go into labor this weekend as my hospital was without power as of this afternoon... :blink: . One more meal at In-n-Out Burger won't kill me or the baby, right?

All that being said, I did avoid sashimi/sushi and didn't do caffeine daily. Once in a while a soda, but mostly water. I did eat bleu cheese and medium rare steak. I don't think I was hyper conscious of everything. I wish I had eaten more fish, but I did take a fish oil supplement...and I wish I had eaten more veggies.

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I haven't seen anyone post about the prenatal vitamins. My sister advised me to eat something like a banana muffin or starchy snack and not to have them on an empty stomach. I found that that helped quite a bit as the vitamins were a bit hard to handle otherwise. I might not be remembering right but I think I was taking them at night because of my lacto-ovo diet and all the dairy I ate during the day ... something about iron absorption being affected by dairy.

jayne (with 10-year old identical twin girls)

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I haven't seen anyone post about the prenatal vitamins. My sister advised me to eat something like a banana muffin or starchy snack and not to have them on an empty stomach. I found that that helped quite a bit as the vitamins were a bit hard to handle otherwise. I might not be remembering right but I think I was taking them at night because of my lacto-ovo diet and all the dairy I ate during the day ... something about iron absorption being affected by dairy.

jayne (with 10-year old identical twin girls)

iron absorption is affected by calcium so that makes sense. if you're anemic at all and need to take an iron supplement, just make sure to take it several hours apart from your standard vitamin and to avoid calcium.

i didn't take a special pre-natal vitamin. just centrum, and my doctor never said anything about it. i took a look at the labels and both kinds had the same amounts of folic acid (or at least what they recommend you have).

edited to add: also, i never threw up...i think having a little bit of food around all the time helped. but again, this is also very individual.

Edited by alanamoana (log)
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