The recommendations for what a pregnant woman can and cannot eat are overwhelming and intimidating. When a woman is first pregnant, she's inundated with information like, "Don't do that. Don't eat this." I, however, refused to be scared of everything with my second pregnancy and, as a result, I ate differently during my second pregnancy than during my first. It seems as though women suddenly become these fragile beings once they start growing a human inside their body. But is that really true? I mean, Serena Williams just won the Australian Open while eight weeks pregnant, yet women are treated like delicate flowers when they are pregnant. Yeah, I'm not about it, thank you very much.
I did a lot of things differently during my second pregnancy than I did during my first. Mostly, I made different choices with food. For me, too many restrictions had the negative effect. I didn't eat as healthy as I should have because I wasn't allowed to eat so much. The second time around, I ate much better, but I also allowed myself to eat items from the "do not eat this while pregnant" list. My change in attitude came from the idea that most of these recommendations are precautions and not hard and fast rules. So, I gently pushed the guidelines to my comfort level.
Before I continue, though, please note I do not possess any medical degree and I am not at all qualified to give any medical advice or recommendations. I spoke with my doctor about all of these foods and made an educated decision for myself based on those conversations. Prenatal care is crucial for the continued wellbeing of a pregnant woman and her fetus. The below list is just my experience, and not to be taken as advice or recommendation.
I Ate More Fish
I love seafood of all kind. Because I hardly ever eat red meat, and because I had a pretty strong aversion to chicken with both pregnancies, I consumed more fish than I probably should have. Also, I'm legitimately obsessed with sushi so giving up sushi was the most difficult sacrifice I made while pregnant. The first time, that is. With my first pregnancy, I stayed away from most fish and I followed the strict guideline and I ate tuna once in a blue moon because I was nervous about the amount of mercury I was ingesting.
With my second pregnancy I ate pretty much all cooked sushi and sometimes dabbled in some of the raw stuff (only a little) so satisfy my cravings. I was still aware of the amount of mercury I was consuming, but I wasn't as worried about eating raw or smoked fish.
I Still Stay Away From Cheese
It's a cruel joke that all the things I love are all the things pregnant women are not allowed to have. I really love cheese, and the softer the better, too. Sadly, however, soft cheeses are off limits in pregnancy. To be honest, I stayed away from most cheese during both pregnancies because it was an easy food to give up. It wasn't nearly as hard as coffee and sushi. I figured if I follow some guidelines, I can feel better about not following all the guidelines.
I Drank Coffee
I'm your stereotypical coffee drinker. I'm the person who needs coffee in the morning and then, again, in the afternoon. I'm the person who can drink coffee and go to sleep. I am the person for whom coffee memes and ironic shirts exist. I'm the victim of the only socially acceptable substance addiction. So when I read that coffee is off limits in pregnancy, I am pretty sure I cried. So, I switched to decaf with my first.
With my second pregnancy, I drank one cup of regular coffee almost every morning. If I wanted any more coffee or tea, I would switch to decaf. Coffee makes me happy, and a regular cup of coffee once a day is totally OK, according to my OB-GYN.
I Enjoyed Fresh Juice
So, fresh juice is off limits because it's not pasteurized but, honestly, it's fresh juice, so how bad can it be? To be fair, a friend of mine got violently ill from eating a tomato. I mean, risk is everywhere and I'm not giving up my fresh, nutritious juice.
I'm not sorry about it either.
I Drank Wine & Beer
Only in the third trimester and because my OB said it was OK, mind you. I'm actually not a big drinker, but I do enjoy a glass of wine on occasion. So, I drank maybe a small glass every two weeks or so. Also, for some crazy reason I had an insane craving for beer, which I don't even typically like, so I would sneak a few sips from my husband's beer here and there.
I Ate Healthier
Because I was so nervous of eating "right" during the first pregnancy, I basically cut out anything that was possibly dangerous and stuck with carbs. I ate bagels and pasta and rice and potatoes. The second time around, I didn't restrict myself as much. I ate more fish and fresh fruit and vegetables.
I believe in medicine and I believe in science and I believe in doctor's recommendations. However, every year there are new recommendations, new guidelines, and new advice. I could have easily given up anything for my child, if I truly believed (and if my OB told me) it would harm him or her. But most of these recommendations seemed like a warning rather than a strict rule. I felt terrible during both of my pregnancies, so if a bit of coffee and some fish made me happy, I indulged. A little.