Am I in Jail or Just on Probation?

June 27, 2011 Leave your thoughts


Even before I got pregnant, I started doing prenatal research. I focused primarily on “what not to do.” What I found was disconcerting to say the least. The list is long and basically eliminates many guilty pleasures that I regularly enjoyed. I’m pregnant, not guilty of a major crime against society for crying out loud!


If I was perfect, the following restrictions would apply.


  • No caffeine in any form (this includes chocolate).
  • No drugs or alcohol.
  • No smoking.
  • No unpasteurized cheeses.
  • No unpasteurized milk or juices.
  • No lunch meats unless you heat them until they’re steaming (gross!).
  • No raw fish. In fact, most fish and seafood are to be avoided.
  • No raw eggs. This means no caesar salads.
  • No rare meat. In fact, all meat is recommended to be cooked well-done.
  • No unwashed vegetables.
  • No scuba diving.
  • No contact sports.
  • No abdominal crunches.
  • No activities with a risk of falling (that could mean any activity depending your sense of balance!).
  • No flying after 36 weeks (who wants to give birth on an airplane anyway?).
  • No lifting heavy objects (over 30 pounds).
  • No gardening (I may be making this one up, but I like it!). Definitely no lawn-mowing!
  • No allowing your heart rate to exceed 140 beats per minute.
  • No overheating (this includes hot tubbin’).
  • No changing the kitty litter.
  • Limited OTC drugs and herbal remedies when sick.
  • No sleeping on your back or right side after the halfway point.
  • No dehydration.
  • No stress.


I’m sorry, but just reading this list has caused me stress! Let’s get real here. No one is perfect. As we know, moderation is key. In my case, some of these restrictions are actually quite welcome. For instance, we recently moved. My job was to sit on our recliner (which was the first thing I asked them to move) and then direct the movers as to where to put the boxes. That restriction may have actually been considered a perk!


Some pregnancy restrictions are obviously quite important to follow. For instance, I would not risk my baby’s life by planning a scuba trip during pregnancy. I would not register for a kickboxing class while pregnant. I would not continue a rigorous heavy weight lifting regime. In a previous post, I aired my thoughts on the whole “keep your heart rate under 140” restriction. I personally follow more of a “listen to your body” approach that is focused on keeping my core body temperature low. I think of it like this – I don’t want to cook my baby.


The tough part about all of this is that if something scary happened during my pregnancy, I would never want to look back and regret taking unnecessary chances. So, the line is gray. It can cause undue stress, which as you can see, is a pregnancy restriction of its own! While some of the restrictions are very important to follow, most of them allow for some breathing room. It’s up to you to determine where the line falls.


In my case, I must admit the following:

  • I drink 1 (occasionally 2) cups of coffee per day.
  • I occasionally eat turkey sandwiches for lunch without steaming them.
  • I have eaten burgers cooked medium (they were a little pink in the middle).
  • I’m absolutely certain I have eaten unwashed vegetables.
  • I have lifted things over 30 pounds.
  • My heart rate has exceeded 140 beats per minute.
  • I sleep on my back or at least I wake up on my back and have no idea when I rolled over.
  • I take a bath every night (not a steaming hot tub bath, but a bath nonetheless).
  • I have been dehydrated.
  • I have certainly felt stressed (although I prefer to call it “excited”.).


Sometimes it’s fun to think about what our parents did and how great we all turned out. Anyone who watches Mad Men will remember the episodes where a pregnant Betty is smoking, drinking and shooting guns. I’m not sure if this gives me more perspective or makes me more competitive! Either way, I think there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The question is – when?


The other day Tim asked me, “So when you are breastfeeding, does that mean you are not allowed to drink coffee?” Needless to say my immediate answer was, “It better not!”


Uh-oh. I think I have some more research to do…

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