Oh, I completely caved. …

Oh, I completely caved. Bad-mother police, time to come take me away and lock me up.

I hereby confess that today, at 11 a.m., I walked into a sushi place, fully intending to buy a dragon roll or some other type of cooked (hence, baby-safe) sushi, and instead, I bought a rainbow roll.

In my plea for baby's forgiveness, I offer the following justifications:

  • it was a beautiful, sunny day which seemed to cry out for freshness
  • I was the first one in the store when it opened, so it was likely the fish was very fresh indeed
  • it was an actual dedicated sushi place (not a grocery store, etc. that also carried sushi)
  • it was incredibly meltingly delicious, perhaps the best rainbow roll I've ever eaten
Crossing my fingers it doesn't make baby sick, but really, I just hit a wall. I've gone eight months without fresh sushi, and I couldn't do it anymore, especially since they told me at the birthing class that anything I was avoiding while pregnant, I should continue to avoid for the next year while breastfeeding. A whole 'nother year without sushi? It clearly would take a stronger woman than I...

P.S. In the end, I also got a dragon roll. And a mango smoothie. And ate all of them. So you can add 'greedy pig' to my list of crimes. But I was very hungry...

9 thoughts on “Oh, I completely caved. …”

  1. A whole YEAR? Oh no, no no no. That’s horrible! Like a baby is going to get parasites through breast milk! (I mean, they can’t, right?)

    Episode 47 of Pregtastic (I really do love that podcast) they talk about sushi a bit, and the teratogen guest speaker says that if you stick with what you ate before you got pregnant (that is, what your body is used to), you should be fine. I was so tempted to run out and get some fresh sake sashimi after hearing that! I’m trying to play it safe, though. Ugh, so hard!

  2. As a mother of a 2 year old, remember to take all this with a grain of salt. Do you really think women in Japan don’t eat sushi? Women in France are told not to eat salad. They tell you not to eat sushi to avoid food poisoning, which would be horrible to have while pregnant. and the brie is for fear of unpasteurized milk, not something we have a lot of in this country. Seriously…don’t worry about it. eat away.

  3. I craved sushi with Special K and ate it every week. The idea behind no sushi is that if you get a parasite it’s bad for baby. I say don’t eat sushi which gives you parasites. Bad for you. When I was pregnant with Little T I ate very little sushi. I was worried and more careful about my eating. The moral of my story is eating sushi=healthy baby and not eating sushi=sick baby. Therefore eat sushi. 🙂

  4. Hi Maryanne,

    You are too hard on yourself. There’s a whole generation of people called the Baby Boomers that are doing just fine, despite moms who swigged cocktails and smoked during their pregnancies. Heck, half the kids conceived during Woodstock are running Fortune 500 companies. One little piece of sushi won’t hurt you or the baby. Who knows, she might become the next great chef of the world because of her early introduction to culinary tastes.

  5. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Aw, thanks for all the responses guys, and the reassurance, but really, that entry was mostly tongue-in-cheek. I don’t actually feel guilty about the sushi; Kevin didn’t even chastise me for it. 🙂 I agree that it’s really not so likely to be an issue — grocery-store sushi might be a bit risky, if it’s been sitting in a display case all day and had a chance to go a bit bad, but odds are, even that’s not going to cause problems.

    I think I’ve only had brie twice since the pregnancy started, and haven’t had alcohol at all since I knew for certain that I was pregnant. No steak tartare. But I’ve been eating cold cut sandwiches a lot, because I like ’em and they’re easy to slap together when I’m tired, even though those pose similar risks to the sushi and brie (the meats sit around in the display cases and can collect bacteria). So I’ve been avoiding what’s easy to avoid, and not worrying about the rest.

    I do miss the liquor a bit, but I was never a heavy drinker, so it only comes up once in a while, mostly in a social situation where others are drinking and I’m reminded that wine tastes nice. 🙂

  6. This comment isn’t addressed to Mary Anne at all; it’s a response to Stacy. I’ve been a little reluctant to even post this, but I figure it’s reasonably likely that pregnant women doing web searches for various things might happen across this comments page.

    So I figure it’s worth explicitly mentioning that Fetal alcohol syndrome is very real. Obviously not all women who drink during pregnancy will cause harm to their fetuses; I don’t mean to be alarmist or paranoid here. But Wikipedia says:

    “It is unknown whether amount, frequency or timing of alcohol consumption during pregnancy causes a difference in amount of damage done to the fetus. Thus, the current recommendation [from the U.S. Surgeon General] is not to drink at all during pregnancy. Alcohol crosses the placental barrier and can stunt fetal growth or weight, create distinctive facial stigmata, damage neurons and brain structures, and cause other physical, mental, or behavioral problems.”

    It also notes that the rate of FAS, while low in percentage terms, is similar to the rate of Down syndrome.

    So I think that comments to the effect that “swigging cocktails” is just fine for pregnant women should be tempered with a clear statement that alcohol consumption during pregnancy can have a severe detrimental effect on fetuses.

  7. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Well, to expand on Jed’s post a bit — fetal alcohol syndrome is certainly real, and serious. And it’s true that they don’t know for certain how much alcohol it takes to have that effect. There are also more serious effects and less serious — some of the more interesting studies I’ve been reading have suggested that while some babies seem initially fine, that some attention deficit disorders in grammar school and other behavioral issues have shown links with even moderate drinking in pregnant mothers. So, better safe than sorry is a fair general rule.

    But that said — if you pause and think for a second, it becomes clear that doctors are unlikely to ever say definitively that it’s safe to drink ‘x’ amount, even if ‘x’ is one glass of wine during your entire pregnancy — because they can’t prove it’s safe, and the consequences if someone has a baby with problems and can point to ‘my doctor told me this was safe, and I think it wasn’t, so it’s their fault my baby is sick’ are pretty dire for the doctor. It’s much safer for them to advise you to just abstain (which parallels the conservative folk who say it’s safest to abstain from sex, rather than take reasonable precautions against pregnancy and STD’s — they’re right, it’s safer to abstain. But there are reasons we might choose not to). So that’s a grain of salt to keep on your tongue.

    Most of what I’ve read correlates known effects of alcohol consupmtion by pregnant women to ‘moderate’ drinking or heavier, where moderate is defined as quite a bit more than one glass a week. I suspect that a half glass with dinner once in a while is really not going to have any noticeable effect. While I’ve chosen not to drink at all during my pregnancy, I actually think it’d be fine if I had had a bit here and there, and I have no problem with other women doing so. I just know myself, and know that if my kid does turn out sick, I’ll feel a lot better if I can’t come up with any stupid reason to blame myself for it.

    So all that said, I think pregnant women should educate themselves as to the current medical research and recommended opinions, but then use their own best judgement on all of this. I get pretty angry when I hear stories about other people getting judgemental about pregnant women having a glass of wine — I’ve even heard about waiters refusing to serve them wine in restaurants, which I think is out of bounds.

    My baby’s health is not your responsibility, Mr. Waiter. Are you going to refuse to serve her ice cream because you think I’ve let her get too fat?

    And okay, I’ll make a distinction here, that I am okay with people intervening if there’s clear and active abuse — so if a parent is beating their child in public, I’m fine with stepping in. And if a pregnant woman sitting next to me in the bar is knocking back her third stiff drink, I might turn to her and ask her if she’s sure she wants to do that. But that’s as far as I’m willing to go in intervention.

  8. Yeah, all fair enough. Just to be clear, I didn’t mean to suggest that I consider it morally wrong to drink a glass of wine now and then during pregnancy; and even if I did feel that way, I doubt I would tell any given woman not to do so. I was reacting to my impression that Stacy was saying that pregnant women can drink as much as they want to without fear of consequences to the fetus, and my further impression that Stacy’s note subtly suggested that drinking during pregnancy might actually be good for the fetus. If Stacy had referred to a small drink once in a while, I wouldn’t have commented, but “swigging cocktails” made it sound to me like a reference to long-term heavy drinking.

    I should also note that a close friend of mine whose mother drank heavily during her pregnancy has some (very mild) symptoms of FAS, so I may be touchier than is really necessary about things that I (mis?)read as suggesting that heavy drinking during pregnancy is fine.

    Stacy may well not have meant to suggest any of that. I was just picturing someone happening across this page while looking for information about drinking while pregnant, and thinking “Huh, that’s a good point–lots of women swig cocktails all the time without a problem, so I guess I can too.” An unlikely scenario, I admit.

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