A Tale of Two Obstetricians

December 27, 2009

Pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat deli meats or hot dogs, or sleep on their backs. Apparently the deli meats and hot dogs can harbor a potentially treacherous bacteria called listeria, while sleeping on your back can put dangerous pressure on a vein called the inferior vena cava.

I’ve learned these things not from my ob/gyn, but from Alicia, my sister-in-law who is 6 weeks more pregnant than I am.

Other than staying away from massive amounts of coffee, literally the only thing my ob/gyn has told me to avoid is raw fish. (The office did, however, give me a highly amusing little booklet from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services called “FISH: An Important Part of a HEALTHY DIET…Here’s Why!” which explains how vital cooked fish is to pregnant women. There’s a very pregnant woman on the cover who’s wearing a tank top and showing off her belly. She’s smiling and looking up from the book she’s reading, presumably awaiting the wild salmon feast her partner is at that very moment whipping up in the kitchen.)

On Thanksgiving, my dad made a wheel of baked Brie with crackers as an appetizer, I think in large part because it’s one of Alicia’s favorites. She demurred, explaining sadly that “I’m not supposed to eat soft cheeses.”

My first thought was Oh, bummer! followed quickly by Mmmmm, more for me. I snarfed down half the Brie and a dozen crackers before remembering that I, too, am pregnant and probably not supposed to be eating soft cheeses. Eric, wisely, kept his distance and said nothing – he’s learned the bitter consequences of trying to come between me and my cheese.

I’m starting to wonder if Alicia’s ob/gyn is a little on the paranoid side, or if mine is just a little lax (“You know, a bit of heroin every once in a while is actually good for the baby…”), or if there are possibly elements of both at play here.

Nothing Alicia has mentioned has been a big shocker; I’ve read most of these things somewhere or heard them from other pregnant friends. My working theory, though, is that if any of these activities were truly treacherous that my ob/gyn would have mentioned them to me herself, at least in passing.

I definitely haven’t been going out of my way to find out all the things I’m not supposed to be doing or eating, but given that Grandma Carsen’s one concession to being pregnant with my dad was cutting back to two Manhattans per day, I still feel I’m doing pretty well.

So, for now, bring on the Brie.

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