Archive for the ‘scaring pregnant women’ Category

So I have spent a considerable amount of time bitching about how women have a crashing case of pregnancy amnesia which is indeed not helpful to their pregnant sisters out there who are looking for advice, so I thought it would behoove me to keep a record of the symptoms I have experienced along the way so I too don’t fall victim to brain dump at the moment of birth.

Of course along with the normal queasiness in the first trimester, I have had the heightened sense of smell. I still have it, although I think I’ve gotten more used to it. In the beginning as I walked into rooms it felt like an alarming superpower, but now it’s become part of daily life.

The thirst! At times it was crazy. At about 12 weeks it really ramped up, and even though I am constantly drinking my lips are always dry. I know maybe some of that can be attributed to winter dryness, but I know that I am much more thirsty than I ever was before.

When I was sick a few weeks ago my hands felt sore in the mornings and it was hard to make a fist. That feeling dissipated during the day, so I attributed it to dehydration. Now that I am on the mend, my left hand is still hard to open and close. There are no visible signs of swelling; my rings are still on and spinning around. My middle finger is also intermittently numb, so I am chalking this up to a mild case of carpal tunnel.

I have been side sleeping for some time now, even though I have no symptoms of vena cava syndrome. But some of these warnings just seep in like childhood warnings of the boogey man, and even the calmest of us pregnant women are not immune. Like, “Don’t sleep on your back or horrible horrible things will happen! BUAHH HA HA HA!” When I woke up this morning my hips were super sore. Like I had run 15 miles. I have a pillow placed between my knees when side sleeping, but I think between the relaxin moving my bones and staying in one sleeping position for an extended period of time, this is bound to happen.

So I’m going to do my best to keep these memories alive. Just so you know I am singing the title of my post a la Tom Hanks in “Big” for those of you who remember.

My mom surprised me though with her memory of my brother’s birth, her first, back in 1970. I guess when I comes to horror stories,, though, most women remember. I have a little library of books accumulating next to me on the sofa about natural childbirth (I’ll talk more about it in the next post) and I just finished “Husband Coached Childbirth” by Doctor Robert Bradley of “The Bradley Method”. I hope I don’t get into trouble since I don’t know the key to place a trademark logo next to “The Bradley Method” since this seemed essential in the text of the book, but oh well.

The Bradley Method is a school of natural childbirth and the book focuses on the husband/partner as birth coach. It’s a quick read, but somewhat provincial and quaint in it’s suggestions about husband/partner behavior.”Rub her back, buy her fresh fruit daily, tell her you love her, whisper sweet nothings in her ear, etc…” Depending on your situation it may make you smile or it may make you want to punch the nearest wall/face/TV. Or both.

Anyway Dr. Bradley spends some time talking about the early days of childbirth where women were drugged, strapped to their beds and helmets placed on their heads until they got the baby out. He termed this “knock em out drag em out” delivery and it did indeed seem terrifying. Watch Betty Draper give birth to Eugene in season 3 of Mad Men. The episode is called, “The Fog” and according to my mother is pretty damn accurate.

It’s crazy to me to think that not so long ago medicine was so, um antiquated? Fucking scary? Altogether wrong? I don’t know. I guess 30 or 40 years is a long time, but to me not so long in the history of mankind. The development of maternal and fetal medicine in the past ten years alone have been astounding and have saved many lives.

I am grateful that in the event of an emergency the hospital will have everything I and/or the baby might need, but honestly right now I am looking forward to a birthing center experience with the benefits of the hospital. I really don’t want to be flat on my back hooked up to a million monitors.

Next book is “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth”. I’ll let you know how it goes.



A few weeks ago, I could feel my appetite going into overdrive. Now at almost 25 weeks, I truly have the potential to turn into an eating machine.

Dan and I went to Five Guys last Saturday and I ordered a cheeseburger all the way, forgetting that the standard issue there is a double patty unless you ask for the baby burger (or whatever they call it). I figured, oh well I’ll just eat whatever I can.

Except when I was done I looked down at the empty wrapper, sighed and said, “I think I could put away like three more of these. Seriously.” Under normal circumstances having a lunch like that would coat my stomach with a joyful feeling of fullness. But that didn’t happen, and it was almost kind of frightening.

I suppose if one was inclined they would take this as a cue that “baby’s hungry” or whatever and go back up to the counter. I feel like this reaction may be more along the lines of a caveman remnant where our bodies were gearing up for the feat of labor and the charge of a newborn where we would not be out hunting and gathering, so you’d better sock away the calories now. Of course it is 2011 (well almost 2012) and we don’t have to hide in a foodless cave for months, so I don’t feel the need to pad myself with 40 pounds of extra fat.

Though it would be pretty frat boy and badass to see how many burgers I could sock away. And since I’m off mixed drinks maybe I’ll indudge my childhood love of a strawberry milkshake. It’s not quite the same, but, oh well…

I guess that’s my problem with the whole pregnancy eating thing. I’m not really a kiddie food sugar/sweet palate person. Mainlining Haagen Daaz isn’t on the top of my list, and I know it’s crazy but in the past I have had nightmares about “regret eating”. Like eating too much chocolate cake and thinking, “Oh I shouldn’t have eaten that”. Then I wake up and I’m so glad it was a dream. I know I’m a psycho, but that’s me.

Anyhow, I’ve kept up with my exercise regimen pretty well, though I have had tired days and I am slowing up a little bit on some routines. As crazy as I thought it was to have this relaxin substance unhinging me like a snake (thanks I can feel my pelvic bones shifting in a really weird way. This can limit my movements sometimes, which I’m okay wit. It’s basically just common sense, when something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If you work out, you’ll know your body well enough to recognize this happening.

On that note, Urban Baby NY put up a link to Equinox’s page. Apparently a new compilation of studies was published in Obstetrics and Gynecology doing away with the old guidelines from the ACOG. None of this heart rate nonsense, the fear that you’re hard boiling your baby by breaking into a sweat, etc…and you can even work your abs. Wow.

I was of the mind that working your abs would only benefit you, especially in terms of core strength and keeping your back from completely giving out on you. I know I’m not flattening anything, but it definitely helps me keep my back feeling all right.

I’m glad that these guidelines came out. I’m tired of people thinking that they have to shut down entirely during pregnancy. Unless you’re having complications, how is that good for the baby, or you? There’s going to be enough weight to lose after the baby as it is, and precious little time to find for oneself to exercise. Why lose all of your strength and training and gain more weight than necessary? It shouldn’t be out of fear.



I love the wisdom of the ages. Inevitably every pregnancy site has a question posted from an anonymous mother to be about her cat and the deadly teratogen that her furry friend is carrying.


“Do I need to give away my cat now that I’m pregnant?”


“No, dear! Just be sure that you don’t get any new cats now that you’re expecting. And absolutely don’t change/clean your cat’s litter box, inhale in that room or even go in it’s general direction. You could come in contact with toxoplasmosa, a parasite that cats can carry and harbor. This parasite can cause great complications to your fetus, so it’s best that you don’t come in contact with cat feces, where the eggs of toxoplasma can be present.”

Here’s some information that is actually enlightening from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine (you know, like the best vet school in the U.S. besides may be Michigan State):

The life cycle of Toxoplasma gondii is complex and involves two types of host-definitive and intermediate. Cats, both wild and domestic, are the only definitive hosts for Toxoplasma gondii. This means that the parasite can only produce oocysts (eggs) when infecting a cat. When a cat ingests an infected prey (or other infected raw meat) the parasite is released into the cat’s digestive tract.

So your cat either has to eat a wild animal or be fed raw meat. I have a strictly indoor cat. I do not feed her raw meat. The chances of her getting infected are like one in a billion (pure estimate there). How would she eat anything infected?

Because cats only shed the organism for a few days in their entire life, the chance of human exposure is small. Owning a cat does not mean you will be infected with the disease. It is unlikely that you would be exposed to the parasite by touching an infected cat, because cats usually do not carry the parasite on their fur. It is also unlikely that you can become infected through cat bites or scratches. In addition, cats kept indoors that do not hunt prey or are not fed raw meat are not likely to be infected with T. gondii.

In the United States, people are much more likely to become infected through eating raw meat and unwashed fruits and vegetables than from handling cat feces.

The animal, if infected, can only shed toxoplasma for a few days in their ENTIRE LIFE. This means that the chances are your cat, if hunting outdoors and eating prey, has already been exposed to this parasite. And again, if your cat doesn’t go outside they are not going to get it.

Then there’s the real truth of how someone might actually contract this parasite (food, produce), but it’s boring and would require our government to stop looking the other way at how filthy our food and food facilities are and stop taking campaign funds from Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, etc…

Besides, isn’t cat hating more fun for everybody? No one says to give away your dog when it threatens to knock over your baby/bite her in the face/lick her mouth/hands/whatever. News flash-dog’s mouths aren’t clean. Neither are cats. They lick their asses. And I’ve seen dogs eat their own crap/vomit/any stray garbage anywhere. Wise up.

Are these pregnancy sites for idiots? Doesn’t anyone get tired of being given a one paragraph explanation that seems geared toward your average third grader? I would say fourth grader but most average fourth graders here on Long Island are smarter than the average person in this country.

Please tell us the actual facts. Please. I can handle it.


So you want a baby, huh? Just like generations of women before you, now you are pregnant. A natural, biological process that has been going on since humans in their modern form first walked this Earth some 500, 000 years ago.

Sounds like your body was meant to do this, right? And since there are almost 7 billion people on this planet now inhabiting all manner of locations and conditions,  your instincts and some common sense should be all one needs in a modern, controlled environment of Western Civilization, right?


Things that you used to eat, tasks you performed without a second thought could cause you imminent danger. You are given a list of foods not to eat, substances to stay away from, and pretty much no reasons why or any real facts about what the cause and effect are.

Why? Because you should just do what you’re told. If you get a chance to think for yourself, you will always make the wrong decision. And since you’ve got another person inside you that can’t choose for themselves, you will not be given the chance to weigh your risks by being given any accurate, factual information.

We are told to stay away from deli meats and soft cheeses. This is because these foods may harbor listeria, a bacteria that can cause serious complications in a pregnancy. Pregnant women are more likely than the population at large to come down with listeriosis, so it is even more important that they avoid this bacteria.

Here’s the problem: listeria can be found in a lot of foods. Especially prepackaged foods. It was just found in melons this August (melon outbreak). Raw vegetables, bagged salads, raw meats, raw, unaged cheese, (listeria outbreaks) these can all be carriers. Even frozen waffles were implicated (waffle outbreak).

Where’s the lunch meat? And all the cheese? Well, there was an outbreak from turkey deli meat in 2002. And there were listeria infections that resulted from eating homemade and/or unregulated Mexican style fresh cheese. This cheese is unaged and not monitored (not that I’m saying the government is the answer, believe me. What they find to be acceptable food standards can be horrifying).

But since I was going down this road of no Boar’s Head sandwiches, no feta cheese, no soft unpasteurized French cheeses, I decided to do a little investigation. Do you know how hard it is to find an unpasteurized, unaged cheese for sale at any type of market or on any menu? It is against the law in the US to sell or serve an unpasteurized cheese that hasn’t been aged for at least 60 days (the aging kills the listeria). And any food person will tell you that foreign or foreign style cheese sold in the US, even at upper end retailers (Whole Foods, Fairway) are pasteurized and if not, aged at least 60 days. So I’m thinking that my local Greek place isn’t serving some exotic feta, it’s pasteurized just like all the others I found in my deli case at the local market.

Deli meat outbreaks have been very few. A lot of these products (including the ones listed before) are prepackaged and highly handled in factories that are of questionable cleanliness (even if monitored by the FDA-hah). Here’s the thing: more handling and processing=more surface area exposure. Which means a bacteria frenzy waiting to happen. That’s what happens with ground meat. And precut vegetables, bagged salads, other processed foods. You’re relying on the cleanliness of everything that food touches along it’s processing path. A package of pre cut lunch meats sitting in a cold food case is bacteria heaven. Wash whatever you can, and heat things you’re unsure of. Of course with the waffle situation, I’m not sure who’s eating waffles without toasting them. The heat kills the bacteria, so unless you’re eating a frozen Eggo, you’re okay I would think.

I’m not denying the reality of these infections. And I know there have been women that have lost their children due to this horrible infection. But let’s get real, here? What are the risks? How do these infections really happen? Instead of making us crazy, give pregnant women (and everyone else for that matter) some real facts.

I’m thinking the powers that be avoid giving out facts partly because they don’t trust women to make the right choices. But partly because they do know some of us will make the right choices given the proper information. And we as women and mothers may be outraged at how our government is really overseeing our food cleanliness. We may start asking questions. We may stop buying crap. We may force a change for the better that won’t allow for sloppiness, kickbacks and a food system that reduces the overall health of our citizens.

As for me, I ate a Greek salad this week. I had a sandwich today (from freshly sliced meat). And I may even have some cheese this weekend.

I’ll let you know how it goes.


So a few things about me. I have always been active, and going to the gym is practically a daily thing. Especially when I hit my thirties and those happy hour margaritas and chips didn’t just burn off like they used to. You hit a certain point where you realize you need to move more and eat less. A lot less.

So I’ve never been a mindless eater, I don’t eat junk, fast food, etc…I also work out hard. So when I get these emails from pregnancy boards about what to eat and how to exercise I want to put my fist through the computer. A few gems word for word:

1. Exercise at least three times a week for no more than 30 minutes at a time.

Go over thirty minutes and then what? Ever taken a spin class, idiots? What fate has befallen all the pregnant women that have been in my classes?

2. Limit aerobic activity to the low-impact variety, like brisk walking, swimming, or riding a stationary bicycle.

Sooo…no running. Just sit and be fit. Yeah right. Yay Richard Simmons!

3. Measure your heart rate at peak activity to be sure you’re not exceeding 140 beats per minute.

Who the hell came up with this arbitrary number? Um, the fitter you are, the easier it will be for your heart rate to recover. Did you ever think of factoring that in?

I can’t imagine just starting a workout regimen when one finds out they are pregnant. If you’ve gone your whole life without a lick of exercise then you’re going to have issues. And I guess these rules would apply then. But how about getting real, people? Are they really trying to tell us that these guidelines apply to women that have been active and in shape?

Recently there has been talk about running while pregnant, and of course it sparked some controversy. I’m not advocating starting up running if you’ve never run before, and of course there may come a time in your pregnancy where running is not going to be comfortable. But if it’s been part of your routine, I don’t understand why you shouldn’t be able to keep it up. Fit women know their own bodies, and they know when to stop and;or adjust when it doesn’t feel right.

Then there were comments about women who were fit and didn’t gain excessive amounts of weight while pregnant. A commenter (a man of course) vilified women who kept fit saying they were starving their babies for vanity and implying they should become sofa sized instead.

Yeah, that would be great for everyone. Excessive weight doesn’t help your baby. You will have one hell of a time losing it after birth. Your self esteem and energy will plummet. And your husband will probably not look at you with the same adoration when you’re permanently 60 pounds overweight, but he may shoot those glances elsewhere (I know that means he’s probably a dick, but that’s reality people, so stop hiring hot nannies. Hell they don’t even need to be hot). That all adds up to a great recipe for your little family.

Today, at 11 weeks 5 days, I am tired. And dizzy. And short of breath. My workouts have not been as frequent, and I am looking forward to this second trimester energy spike I’ve been hearing about. Getting up to pee 4 times a night isn’t helping, and I’m not sure if it’s anxiety or what that’s keeping me up the rest of the time. Maybe I’m just afraid I’ll wet the bed.


P.S. Here’s a link with some real advice about working out while pregnant:


  • None
  • babyforbutton: Congrats on Naomi! My baby was born March 15th! Amazing how fast the year has gone by!
  • babyforbutton: update please!! :)
  • reilly873: I've somehow managed to ease the pain the past few nights, but only with some serious, ridiculous pillow arranging. Which is a royal pain in the ass w