Food Rules and Pregnancy

in Pregnancy

This is a follow-up to Giving Up the Java (While Pregnant)


One of the other things I quickly noticed about pregnancy is that everyone has an opinion on what you should or should not do.  “You shouldn’t run on concrete,” someone told me. “You can jostle the baby loose.”  Or  “You’re not planning to remain a vegetarian during pregnancy, are you? You know babies need protein to grow, right?” 


I actually don’t mind hearing people’s opinions and factoids because sometimes, it’s something important that I have never know before (like the issue of eating too much Vitamin A – who knew?).  But many of these old wives’ tales, upon a little research and discussion with my OB/GYN, don’t seem to be rooted in fact. 


Lately, people have questioned me about two things:  eating goat cheese and eating sprouts.  I wanted to explain my reasoning behind occasionally eating these foods, but I wanted to preface my explanation with reminding everyone that I am not a doctor, this is just my opinion, and you should always discuss Food Rules with your doctor and defer to your doctor’s advice. I’m just sharing my thoughts on the subject because I want you guys to know that I’m at least thinking about these issues and not just bumbling through pregnancy like a bull in a china shop, eating unpasteurized this and E. Coli-laced that without a care.  I love my little fetus baby already and would never intentionally harm the baby (goes without saying!).


WHAT EVERYONE SAYS:  “You can’t eat soft cheese in pregnancy.” 


Reasoning:  Soft cheese puts you at an increased risk for a bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes, which results in Listeriosis.  The CDC says that Listeriosis is very rare, affecting 1,600 people in the America a year, but pregnant women – who have a suppressed immune system – are “particularly susceptible, and the infection can be devastating and even deadly for unborn babies.” (Source)


My Reality:  This ‘Food Rule’ is an example of a blanketing statement.  The REAL rule is that you should not eat any unpasteurized cheese or juice drinks.  Unpasteurized cheese is very rare in America.  You’re more likely to find unpasteurized cheese at a farmer’s market or a very high-end restaurant, not on a supermarket shelf.  Thus, if you’re buying cheese at the grocery store, you really don’t need to worry about avoiding soft cheese (although, of course, you can check the label).


WHAT EVERYONE SAYS:  “You can’t eat raw sprouts in pregnancy.” 


Reasoning:  Raw sprouts harbor bacteria, especially E. Coli, which can cause food poisoning and complications during pregnancy.  Cooked sprouts are safe to eat.  (Source).


My Reality:  The first time I heard this Food Rule, my immediate reaction was, “Wait – there is E. Coli on everything.”  What about raw spinach?  Or other vegetables?  What about eggs?  What about dirty bathrooms?  What about unclean restaurants?  So I decided to do some online investigating to see if sprouts were this super-common source of E. Coli outbreaks. 

Sourceosf_Ecoli_Outbreaks (Source)

Now – it’s important to note that E. Coli outbreaks only account for 10% of all E. Coli infections; however, I couldn’t find any data online that provided a percentage breakdown of individual causes of E. Coli infection (probably because most people who get it don’t know for sure where they got it from).  But I’m going to assume it breaks down pretty similarly to the outbreak percentages.  42% of recent E. Coli outbreak infections comes from beef.  And 41% come from leafy vegetables.  Sprouts only account for 2% of outbreaks.  You CERTAINLY do not read on pregnancy websites that women should avoid beef or cook all of their lettuce while pregnant.  I find this very interesting, indeed. 


However, since sprouts are a viable source of E. Coli and something that I don’t NEED to eat for the next 7 months, I’ve decided to try to greatly limit my sprout intake. It’s an easy thing to give up, and who knows – maybe it will make a difference. 


CONCLUSION:  I can totally understand why people want Food Rules during pregnancy.  Pregnancy feels, for the most part, like something that is happening TO YOU, and it can be very scary.  What if something goes wrong?  What if I do the wrong thing?  What if I hurt my baby?  I understand the need for control and the desire to minimize risk. 


Yeah – of course – I’m not being stupid during pregnancy.  I’m not shooting up crack or taking tequila shots.  I’m eating tons of veggies; avoiding processed foods; taking my prenatal vitamin religiously; exercising regularly; and getting 8 – 9 hours of sleep on most nights.  I’m destressing with deep breathing.  I’m turning down work projects so I have less to do.  I’m using all-natural cleaning products.   And if I got E. Coli during pregnancy, I would be absolutely devastated.  But the reality is… I can’t eliminate all risks.  I just can’t.  There’s no way to eat and live in a bubble for 9 months. And I think it’s important to examine the facts and relative risks before jumping on Food Rules bandwagons. 


Another side note… I find it extremely interesting that people freak out over things like the occasional soft cheese and sprouts (the risks of which are, relatively speaking, are pretty low) while eating conventional, pesticide-laced produce and hormone- and antibiotic-tainted conventional meat and dairy every single day.   EVERY SINGLE MEAL.  I have yet to read on a baby website or hear from a practitioner that pregnant women should aim for a diet that includes, at the very least, a significant percentage of organic meats, dairy, fruits, and vegetables.   (Edited to clarify: I do not eat all organic and eat conventional produce relatively often.  My reasoning for adding this statement is that I feel like we, as a society, tend to focus on small, worst-case scenarios but overlook potentially more common and bigger issues.) But, my friends, that topic is definitely another post for another day!


So – I’d love to hear your thoughts!  I really learn so much from the comments (and I know other readers love to check them out, too). What are your take on Food Rules (and other advice) during pregnancy? 



  • Marci November 13, 2011, 1:06 pm

    True about the cheeses! It’s a blanket statement and rare to find something unpasteurized in America. Not eating meats takes care of most of the problem foods for you, like deli meats, raw fish, etc. I miss sushi, and know a lot of people miss drippy eggs. I find myself making good choices like normal and eating very well-rounded.

  • Tammy Root November 13, 2011, 1:07 pm

    You are absolutely right. You cannot control everything and YOU ARE doing the most important things for the safety of your baby. 🙂 I admit I ate goat cheese a couple weeks ago on a pizza!! So be it. I also had wine before I knew I was pregnant. Ugh. Keep up the good work!

  • Stacy @ Every Little Thing November 13, 2011, 1:09 pm

    You can find a few different raw cheeses at Trader Joe’s and I even bought raw bleu cheese unintentionally one time, so READ the labels!

    Working in the field of autism and keeping up with current research, there is still no conclusion as to what environmental factors are affecting the gene(s) associated with autism. I’m planning to get pregnant sometime in the next 5 years or so (hopefully), and have already thought about the whole food thing. I already eat 99% all natural while at home, but for at least the 9 months I’m pregnant, I plan to be VERY careful about what I put into my body. 100% all natural, only organic or local produce, meat and eggs only if I know where it came from and how it was raised, etc. I also plan to be careful about body products, cleaning products, etc., and will continue to do so after the (future) baby is born.

    It’s a hard subject but something that’s 100% worth the effort!

    • Caitlin November 13, 2011, 1:11 pm

      Re: the raw cheese at TJs – really?! Good to know. Thanks for pointing this out!!!

  • Tami November 13, 2011, 1:15 pm

    welcome to the world of being a parent…it’s just the beginning of people having their own opinions (and sharing with you!!!) first it’s the foods you eat, then it becomes the food you give your kids (i can only imagine what some might say about you raising your child to be a vegetarian (assuming you are) it will move on to letting your baby sleep in your bed, how much tv they watch, organic mattresses!!! putting one of those plastic sheets down at restaurants so they don’t eat right off the table and so on and SO ON. stay strong, it’s just the beginning…..

    • Caitlin November 13, 2011, 1:16 pm

      hahaha so i hear. i cannot wait to get grief for vegetarian kids.

      • Tami November 13, 2011, 1:19 pm

        i once got the run down from a mother when i told her i gave my kids the orange kraft mac and cheese…i then asked her what she fed her kids and she said HOT DOGS!!! 🙂

      • Jessica November 13, 2011, 1:37 pm

        I’ve heard this one a lot, biggest thing I’ve heard “your kids won’t be able to digest meat if they never have it! how can you make that decision for your child? what if they want to grow up to eat meat?!” ugh…

        • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks November 13, 2011, 3:32 pm

          This is just my own opinion, and I’m not a vegetarian, nor do I have kids.

          I sort of feel that it is a-ok to raise your kids vegetarian….however, I sort of feel that a parent shouldn’t force the kid to be a vegetarian, you know?

          Like, feed them vegetarian foods, by all means, but if they want to go to some birthday party and eat a hot dog, or a burger, or pepperoni on their pizza, don’t freak out.

          Sure, educate them on why you and your husband have chosen certain eating styles…why you think it’s the right decision for your household, but let your kids be individuals too. Let them discover what works for them.

          • Carin November 13, 2011, 3:53 pm

            I’m a vegetarian and am raising my children vegetarian, but I wouldn’t say I’m “forcing” them to be vegetarian. What I’m doing is showing them that you can be healthy and enjoy food without eating meat. If I’d been brought up in this way, I wouldn’t “crave” meat texture and buy faux meat products – and I sure would have started eating veggies a lot earlier! My kids love all veggies and fruit and it’s honestly never been an issue getting them to eat it – it’s just normal.

            They have asked why they “can’t have meat” like their friends and I tell them that they can – it’s their choice. I do stress what meat is, though – DEAD ANIMALS – and ask them whether they want to eat that… and they don’t. Children should understand what they are eating – I think it’s bizarre that parents take their kids out to petting farms etc. then feed them chicken nuggets and hot dogs in the cafe to round off the “fun trip out”!

          • Marissa C November 13, 2011, 5:30 pm

            I agree with this…it is something to choose for yourself. I think pointing out that meat is dead animals as fine, as long as it isn’t in the, “That hamburger is a cow. A sweet defenseless cow that didn’t ever do anything to you. Would you kill your dog and eat it?” type of way. Facts are good. Guilt trips…not so much.

          • Laura November 13, 2011, 8:20 pm

            I will agree with this, as this is how I was raised.

            My mom was vegetarian and on very, very rare occasions she would make my brother and myself meat at home. Otherwise, we ate vegetarian.

            But when we visited either grandmothers house, or had family holidays, etc – we ate meat like the rest of my extended family. We also were able to eat at school once a week and choose which day we wanted – so we typically ate meat those days. My mom was able to show us and raise us with a healthy diet full of a variety of foods, but she never restricted us from eating meat if we wanted it.

            And now, as an adult, I choose to eat meat – but I only eat meat once a day typically. In the past when my diet was much unhealthier, I ate meat much more frequently. Because of the way I was raised, it has been much easier for me to transition to a more plant based diet and for me to give up the unhealthy meals (both meat and non-meat).

            I love the way I was raised and I would hope that all vegetarian parents take the same approach as my mom. I think forbiding kids from eating meat at least once in their life OR not allowing them to decide for themselves if they will eat it as an adult can lead to restrictive and disordered eating patterns as an adult.

          • Liz November 13, 2011, 10:53 pm

            My sister and I had this discussion. She said she fed her babies meat because she didn’t want to force them to be a vegetarian. To me, this idea of forcing your child into a certain diet implies that being a veg is radical or maybe even bizarre. It’s not. It’s a perfectly normal eating style that is practiced the world over. And besides, if not giving your child meat is forcing them to be veg, isn’t giving them meat forcing them to be a meat eater? You can’t know what they would decide at infancy. No matter what you do, you are “forcing” the baby to be a certain way. You are in control of their diet for the first several years of their life. You’re either forcing them to be a vegetarian or your forcing them to eat meat. Now if the kid is older and they ask to eat meat and you refuse to allow it- that’s one thing. But not giving your baby meat isn’t forcing anything. It’s just you making what you think to be the healthiest choice for your baby at that point in time.

      • Maria (RealFitMama) November 13, 2011, 1:44 pm

        Oh Caitlin – If you plan on raising BabyHTP vegetarian be prepared for HIGHLY OPINIONATED people all the time. Trust me!!

        I still get it, 9 years later, from people in my own family AND people that I don’t even know!!

        I think you’re doing great just by educating yourself on the things you find important. That’s way more than most people can say for themselves.

        • Stephanie C November 13, 2011, 5:16 pm

          It seems like when you make theses sorts of decisions that it comes down to having to educate other people, too. I foresee that I’ll raise my kids vegetarian, or at least mostly vegetarian, but the community I associate with is plenty used to that so I don’t think it’ll be a huge issue.
          After reading Caitlin’s posts and everyone’s comments this makes me realize that I WILL speak out if people try to tell me what I’m doing wrong! (Good point on the processed foods, Caitlin!) I’ve got a long way to go though! No kids in the near future.

    • HTPDad November 13, 2011, 1:24 pm

      hahahaha so true!Already some people are stressing over how C handles life with BabyHTP on the blog – opening herself up to thousands of friends with advice! At least I just had friends telling me I was too strict!

      • Caitlin November 13, 2011, 1:26 pm

        I really don’t mind feedback. I just wanted people to know I’m THINKING about the issues not just doing whatever without a care.

  • Sana November 13, 2011, 1:16 pm

    Please eat some french friess! Or whatever else you are craving! Happy Caitlin=happy baby and baby daddy 🙂

    • Caitlin November 13, 2011, 1:16 pm

      Hellz to the yes!

  • Krystina (Organically Me) November 13, 2011, 1:18 pm

    I’m not on board with the statement: “I find it extremely interesting that people freak out over things like the occasional soft cheese and sprouts (the risks of which are, relatively speaking, are pretty low) while eating conventional, pesticide-laced produce and hormone- and antibiotic-tainted conventional meat and dairy every single day”

    The people who are telling you about sprouts and soft cheeses aren’t judging you or calling you negligent, they’re simply trying to let you know things they’ve heard or trying to help you out, out of concern. To say what you said IS passing judgement on people and their food choices, especially if they can’t eat organic due to financial reasons, availability or other reasons. Not to mention, “organic” is kind of a blanket term, and unless you know the specific source your food is coming from, you can’t guarantee what pesticides or herbicides are IN your foods (e.g. organic produce isn’t regulated, thereby what they use to protect their crops aren’t regulated). Also things like organic eggs, meats, etc aren’t always the best or most convenient choice for some.

    In a perfect world, we would be eating local, humanely raised and killed meat and meat products and organic/local produce and grains, but realistically, that isn’t the case. I think as long as we’re mostly mindful about what we’re putting into our bodies (like looking for no-hormone poultry and meat by-products, which is pretty easy these days) and making sure that we (and our fetuses) are healthy and safe, that’s all that matters.

    • Caitlin November 13, 2011, 1:21 pm

      Wait – I’m not passing judgement. I’m just saying that some people do not think about other aspects of their food choices during pregnancy. Truly, I have not seen the organic issue addressed AT ALL on any of the popular baby websites. I just wanted to clarify that. I eat tons of conventional produce. I just find it ironic that people freak out over smaller (to me) issues while ignoring a potentially more significant issue.

      Also – what do you mean about fruits and veggies “organic produce isn’t regulated, thereby what they use to protect their crops aren’t regulated”? I’m really confused by this. The USDA has pretty strict rules about what you can call organic or not – am I missing some information about organic produce?

      • Krystina (Organically Me) November 13, 2011, 1:36 pm

        I just didn’t like the way you worded it – even if it was just an observation, it seemed like passing judgement. Either way, you’re entitled to say whatever you want, I was just taken back by it.

        You’re right, I made a misstep. I meant to say that unless you know that a product has the USDA organic stamp, you don’t know if it is regulated. I’ve gotten into conversations with companies/products (like one’s at a farmer’s market) where they claimed to be organic, but weren’t USDA stamped yet, or couldn’t guarantee that their pesticide use was under regulation, so I wouldn’t claim their products any better/worse than conventional produce.

        The bottom line with the organic/conventional debate is that unless you know where your food comes from and if, the product, is indeed “organic” certified, then the self righteous “I eat organic everything” attitude is ridiculous. I’m not saying you do this AT ALL, as I know you’ve mentioned before that you buy conventional produce. It’s just something that bothers me with the whole organic/conventional debate.

        • Caitlin November 13, 2011, 1:40 pm

          Oh okay. I get it now. Yeah – I understand why farmers at markets don’t get certified even if they are organic ($$$$) but then you’re just taking their word for it.

          Self-righteous attitudes about pretty much anything are ridiculous to me. LOL. I mean – there’s no way to be perfect. One of the things that I wrote about in the upcoming HTP book is how eating organic is sometimes worse for the environment because of ‘food miles’ to transport it – and then also the food can be nutritionally less beneficial for you because it sat on a shelf longer and lost more nutrients than a local, conventional option The point is that there’s no ‘perfect’ way to eat – pregnant or not. So being self-righteous about it IS silly, I agree!

          I edited (and noted that I edited) that paragraph; I hope my edits explain the point i was trying to make better.

          Thanks, gurl!

        • Steph November 13, 2011, 11:20 pm

          Krystina, you’re accusing Caitlin of being judgemental but you sound so judgemental yourself.. “I just didn’t like the way you worded it”… you were the one passing judgement on her! I think Caitlin made a very important point. This kind of nit-picking seems so needless.

          • Kate November 14, 2011, 1:00 pm

            I agree with Steph. I really liked Caitlin’s organic/conventional meat statement. Made perfect sense to me and I did not find it judgmental at all.
            Keep up the good work Caitlin 🙂

  • Lauren November 13, 2011, 1:19 pm

    I’m taking a food microbiology class now, and we just got done learning all about the pathogens in food. Limiting sprouts and in general just washing fruits & veggies are key. Some of the outbreaks we learned about were crazy – like birds in processing plants and just poor hygiene.

    • Caitlin November 13, 2011, 1:23 pm

      Dude, food outbreaks are scary scary. I hate reading about it, it brings out the germaphobe in me. I would die in food microbiology!

    • Krystina (Organically Me) November 13, 2011, 1:37 pm

      Ew 🙁

  • Rachel November 13, 2011, 1:23 pm

    I think you’re taking the best approach -safe while being reasonable. You’ll did people who do want you to live in a bubble. I taught spin until 35 weeks and you should have heard the comments (dangerous! Amazing! And everything in between ;))You know your body best. Trust yourself.
    Side note: I can’t wait until you start showing and hearing about your touching boundaries. As in, people touching your belly. Someone actually lifted up my post-workout sweaty shirt to look at my belly. So awkward.

    • Caitlin November 13, 2011, 1:25 pm

      LIFTING UP YOUR SHIRT? ohmigod. I don’t think I will mind touching over my shirt but actual lifting? I will freak out.

      • Maria (RealFitMama) November 13, 2011, 1:50 pm

        Just wait till a COMPLETE STRANGER walks up in the grocery store or gas station and touches your belly without so much as a “OMG YOU’RE PREGNANT!!” first.

        It gets freaky!!

    • Sarah @ w30 November 13, 2011, 3:46 pm

      HAhahahahaha classic!

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) November 13, 2011, 1:24 pm

    My mom said she ate healthy when she was pregnant with me and my siblings, and we all turned out fine. On the other hand, my grandmother smoked and drank every day during all six of her pregnancies (the 60s were a much different time, I imagine) and my mom was perfectly healthy. Obviously not a good decision, but hell, I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to be perfect!

    • Caitlin November 13, 2011, 1:25 pm

      I think kiddos are more resilient than we think!

      • Sarah @ w30 November 13, 2011, 4:00 pm

        I agree! Seriously, my dad smoked and I drank “pop-water” when I was a kid and we had ice-cream all the time and almost nobody ate organic. My parents did the best they could, but there wasn’t nearly as much information (or “rules”) when I was growing up, and I still think I turned out okay! 🙂
        Plus, kids bump their heads and do all kinds of stupid things. It’s amazing we come of it alive. My point is not to be scary but to say that it is good to do everything within your power to keep the little guy or gal safe and healthy, but kids are very resilient and with loving parents such as you and the Husband I’m sure the little bean will be fine.

    • Marissa C November 13, 2011, 5:34 pm

      I will say that my mom ate like Caitlin (though not vegetarian) and worked out during her pregnancy with my youngest sister…and she wishes she had with the rest of us. My sister was 7.5 lbs. Three of us were over 9 lbs and my brother (with whom she ate the worst) was 11 lbs. 4 oz. We are all smart and healthy, but my sister is definitely more athletic and hasn’t struggled with her weight like my other sister and I. Generally, I think she just got a better start than the rest of us, and while it isn’t “too late” for us, it shows.

      • Emily November 13, 2011, 10:46 pm

        Now, that’s interesting – I never even wondered if there was a correlation between pregnancy activity and baby weight. Definitely food for thought…

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats November 13, 2011, 1:27 pm

    I think it’s important to watch what you eat while pregnant (or anytime!) but the key is not to drive yourself crazy with it! Life happens, we can’t control everything!

  • cookie November 13, 2011, 1:27 pm

    I like your approach – as you said, you can’t just avoid everything. And I do believe that worrying to much about this or that doesn’t do any good either.

  • Alison November 13, 2011, 1:28 pm

    It’s unfortunate you ruined a great post with your holier-than-thou statements at the end.

    We’re not all veggies and not all able to afford expensive groceries. Everyone is just doing their best with what they have to raise healthy families. You perpetuated the “mom hate” and nasty judgement that goes around on the internet.

    • Caitlin November 13, 2011, 1:31 pm

      I can see how this paragraph is being misconstrued, so I just added:

      Edited to clarify: I do not eat all organic and eat conventional produce relatively often. My reasoning for adding this statement is that I feel like we, as a society, tend to focus on small, worst-case scenarios but overlook potentially more common and bigger issues.

      I hope that explains my point further.

  • Lindsay McAlester November 13, 2011, 1:28 pm

    Agree! You go, preggo! I have two healthy kiddos and am blessed. The extra loving advice never stops. Good luck! 🙂

  • Lauren November 13, 2011, 1:30 pm

    As far as I know, everyone has ALWAYS had an opinion on being pregnant and it seems that the people who have never been pregnant before have the strongest views. Go figure! I love your approach. Doing what you think and know is right for you is all you really can do. 🙂

  • Jessica November 13, 2011, 1:31 pm

    I was pretty lax during my pregnancy. I asked my doctor what to avoid and she said lunch meat (listeria) and fish (mercury) and to just do other things in moderation and make sure I was eating a balanced diet.

    I’ve also been flamed for this before, but I was not very good at taking my prenatal while I was pregnant (they made me uber nauseous). My personal belief is that getting your vitamins through your food is better than taking synthetic vitamins anyways.

    It’s the kind of thing where each person had to make their own decisions, but everyone else thinks they should make them for you.

    • Caitlin November 13, 2011, 1:32 pm

      Same thing happens during weddings!

  • Jacalyn November 13, 2011, 1:33 pm

    Dude. Be totally prepared for people to offer unsolicited advice regarding your pregnancy on all sorts of topics. I got so irritated by that.

    You hit the nail on the head. You can’t live in a bubble. You are probably in the top 90% for healthy pregnant women. As long as you eat a balanced diet and get exercise you will be fine. Case in point: I ate raw sushi when I was pregnant. I just avoided the fish with high mercury content. My son is completely healthy and quite intelligent. Think of women in other countries and what their diet consists of. I think Americans are hypervigilent when it comes to this. It’s ridiculous.

  • Erica November 13, 2011, 1:33 pm

    Love this! When I saw that you were eating goat cheese I knew people were going to say something, haha! I’ve definitely avoided sprouts (don’t like them all that much to begin with, and I actually know someone who go e.coli from sprouts a few years ago), but I’m ok with the pasteurized soft cheeses and I cant live without eggs over medium (apparently the yolk is supposed to be cooked through, but again that’s only with unpasteurized eggs).

    I’ve also gotten some interesting comments from someone with whom I work about my mostly vegetarian pregnancy (I eat meat on occasion – local/organic/humanely raised only though). Meanwhile, the woman who was telling me this got through her pregnancy by eating giant cookies and Mcdonald’s hamburgers.

  • Krista November 13, 2011, 1:34 pm

    Caitlin…people will totally be jumping on the advice bandwagon in the next 9 months….just remember to take it all with a grain of ssalt and always do what you and Kristien feel is best for you and your pregnancy. I remember getting so annoyed with comments/remarks when I was pregnant with my 2. Especially those who frowned on the fact that I chose not to breastfeed. Why people worried about it still baffles me! 🙂

    • Alett November 13, 2011, 9:27 pm

      Krista –

      I just wanted to say that I really liked your comment on the HTP blog. I’m not pregnant (nor do I plan on it since I’m in my 40’s) but I am enjoying reading about Caitlin’s adventures.

      p.s. I was not breastfed as a baby and I was a very healthy child 🙂

  • Kristin November 13, 2011, 1:39 pm

    I think you are doing great! My take on it is just everything in moderation and attempt to especially limit those things that pose a higher risk, like you are doing. I say ignore all the haters out there and don’t even let them get to you in the slightest!!! 🙂 Ur an amazing mama already!

  • Shelly November 13, 2011, 1:39 pm

    I’m the mother of 2 daughters 22,18. It didn’t even occur to me back then(I was very young) to give up caffeine..I loved soft drinks at the time. My daughters are happy/normal women! You have a very healthy attitude about all the pregnancy advice. You can’t live in a bubble the whole time.

  • Meghan November 13, 2011, 1:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing your philosophy. I think I’ll have trouble following the conventional rules. The cheese thing especially irks me because all raw cheeses have to be aged for 60 days in the US (even imports – it’s hard to find non-aged raw cheese here), which makes the chances of the cheese growing listeria very low. If you’re outside of the US, take more caution.

    It also confuses me why we ban certain foods because of an outbreak. Do we ban cantaloupes now?

  • MegaNerd November 13, 2011, 1:43 pm

    So much science!

  • amanda @ fake ginger November 13, 2011, 1:48 pm

    I knew this post was coming after I saw the sprouts yesterday! 😛 I had a Jimmy John’s addiction during my last pregnancy (husband was gone and they delivered, you know how it goes) and I had sprouts at least once a week. People were always on my case.

    I also ate soft cheese and cold hot dogs. I’m all for being careful but the paranoia is just too much sometimes.

  • caronae November 13, 2011, 1:52 pm

    it sounds like you are taking a very balanced, well thought-out approach. 🙂

    I’ve heard that canteloupe is also a source of lysistrata or whatever it’s called? I really have no idea though…

    I would also wonder if sprouts are a “no no food” for another reason, like maybe they have a higher concentration of other types of bacteria that cause infections dangerous to pregnant mothers? I really have no idea. I’ll have to do some research in a decade or o when I’m ready to get pregnant!

    • Caitlin November 13, 2011, 1:54 pm

      The other potential bacteria from sprouts is salmonella. I’m not sure about the percentages/strength of the bac – if you learn any new info please pass it on!

      • Ida November 13, 2011, 3:01 pm

        A big issue with sprouts is that a lot of them(and/or the seeds) come from China and the US has no way of regulating them. They aren’t tested once they get to the states either.

        • Jazz November 13, 2011, 5:38 pm

          I just make my own sprouts.. it’s pretty easy and would solve this debate, no?

          • Susan November 13, 2011, 8:23 pm

            Another part of it is that the environment in which the sprouting process occurs is ripe for bacterial growth. It includes sprouts of all kinds (like sprouted beans) and not just alfalfa.

  • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston November 13, 2011, 1:55 pm

    I eat soft cheese all the time — just have to double check that label and you are all good to go!

  • Maria (RealFitMama) November 13, 2011, 1:56 pm

    As a mother of two daughters, a vegetarian and married to a man with a REALLY big mouth I have to tell you one thing…


    People think they are helping, but in reality they’re making you crazy (when you get “advice” from person after person it can make your head explode!) with all their “helping”.

    You have your knowledge, your beliefs and your idea of what is the best route to take for you and BabyHTP. Stick to your guns and you will be great as a preggo and a mommy!!

    FYI: I’m SOOOOOOO happy for you!!

  • shelly November 13, 2011, 1:56 pm

    During med school, my hubby loved to torture me with all the things he learned about what you can’t eat while pregnant. None of them really surprised me EXCEPT for soft ice cream. It made sense though once he explained it to me- the machines can harbor listeria b/c you can’t get inside them to clean them thoroughly.

  • Amber K November 13, 2011, 2:02 pm

    People truly are extremely judgmental. I think it is awesome that you have done so much research. I think that really helps in being grounded in one’s convictions.

  • Sarah November 13, 2011, 2:03 pm

    I love this post. It’s nice to read someone writing with a healthy dose of perspective.

    Another controversial topic that I’ve heard about is eating PB during pregnancy- should be avoided in order to reduce the chances of the baby having a peanut allergy. Not sure how substantiated it is tho as my friend’s midwife gave her the go ahead to eat PB when she was pregnant.

    I’m still so excited that you’re pregnant! Is that weird?… Guess it’s because I’ve been following your blog since it was See Bride Run. Gosh.


    • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) November 13, 2011, 2:18 pm

      I have also heard the thoughts on PB consumption during pregnancy & correlation to infants having a PB sensitivity after birth. This is one “food rule” that I read about a few weeks ago yet couldn’t find any hard evidence to back up the rule. I decided to just be cautious not to eat PB ALL the time but continue to enjoy it in moderation. 🙂 It’s all about balance.

      • Marissa C November 13, 2011, 5:37 pm

        I only heard about it due to Kate Middleton pregnancy rumors! I told my husband about it and he thinks it’s actually counter intuitive!

    • Polly November 13, 2011, 9:01 pm

      There is no evidence that avoiding peanuts (or high risk allergens) during pregnancy will prevent allergies in infants and children, according to review by the Practice-Based Evidence in Nutrition database.

      I’d eat PB and all the other nut butters as you usually would, as Brittnie has said(I had my pregnant self some for brekky this morning with banana and cinnamon – yum!)

      • Polly November 13, 2011, 9:03 pm

        Actually, to add to my own post this is exactly what the Practice-Based Evidence in Nutrition database says:
        “There is some weak and conflicting evidence to indicate an association between the ingestion of peanuts during pregnancy and an increased risk for peanut allergy in children with parental history of allergy. At the present time, the evidence is insufficient to recommend maternal dietary avoidance of peanuts during pregnancy to decrease allergy risk in children with parental history of allergy.”

        Same with peanuts and breastfeeding:
        “Current evidence does not support an association between the ingestion of peanuts during breastfeeding and an increased risk for peanut allergy in children with parental history of allergy.”

        • Morgan November 13, 2011, 11:27 pm

          For those interested in how children develop allergies (both food and environmental) there is a great article on
          Basically, it talks about introducing foods later to a baby as their digestive tract is not quite fully matured when physicians recommend starting solids (rice cereal, 4 months). From what I understand, rice cereal is fortified cereal and is supposed to help babies sleep in longer spurts by keeping them fuller longer. Therefore, no real nutritional value.

          The article is really interesting for those expecting! I don’t want a kid with those deadly peanut allergies (or any allergies for that matter).

    • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:52 am

      Thank you for reading for so long, Sarah 🙂

    • Meg November 16, 2011, 12:59 pm

      I live in Senegal where basically the entire diet here consists of peanuts and peanut butter. I have never heard of or seen a child with a peanut allergy here.

  • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) November 13, 2011, 2:13 pm

    I love that you said “You cannot live in a bubble” for your entire pregnancy. Hit the nail on the head with that one. Of course there are certain precautions to take & we need to make healthy choices for our body and our growing baby, but I agree that we cannot eliminate every single ounce of concern… we just can’t…and that rolls over to more areas of life besides pregnancy. Great topic today!

  • Sara November 13, 2011, 2:14 pm

    You know, people will always, always have something to say about your life. If you’re single, they want to know what you’re doing to meet someone. If you’re dating someone, they want to know when you’ll get married. If you’re engaged, they’ll have some opinion about your wedding planning. Then you get married and it’s, “when are you having a kid?” After one kid, they want to know when you’ll have another. Then comes the discussions on where you send your kids to school, what you feed them, who you let them hang out with, etc. Then, finally, when you’re an empty nester and you think you can relax…they want to know when your kids will get married!

    Point being, live your life how you choose, because someone will always have a comment. Be safe, take care of yourself, follow the advice of a doctor you trust, and be happy!

  • Melissa November 13, 2011, 2:15 pm

    That is quite a leap to say that all the people “freaking out” about eating sprouts and soft cheese are eating meat and dairy packed with pesticides and hormones. I think you are a wildly intelligent and kind woman so I am always thrown off when you make these (albeit occasional)elitist statements…especially in reaction to people showing concern. I TOTALLY get that getting unsolicited advice can be grating. But also try to remember that people are usually saying something because they feel compelled to out of concern. I think it would be safe to say that your readers have learned a lot from you…so don’t get defensive when your readers want to return the favor once in a while.

    • Angela November 13, 2011, 3:09 pm

      I think you are taking what she said a little bit too literally. I’m pretty certain she doesn’t actually think people are having meltdowns over a bit of cheese.

      I’ve never been pregnant but have a good friend who was brought to tears by unsolicited ‘concern’ she had from people during her pregnancy as a lot of it comes across as (and can be) very judgmental – You’re drinking a coffee while pregnant comes across as you will be a terrible mother. Unless someone is sat smoking and drinking or actually asks for advice sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut.

  • Ali November 13, 2011, 2:18 pm

    I think the best thing for your baby is to remain as stress-free as possible during your pregnancy. Yeesh, if people are prodding you to worry about every little thing you eat, I’d say that’s not going to help the situation. My advice would be to avoid the “What to Expect” books…I read one when I was pregnant and when I got to the point where the authors suggested avoiding bagels because they are too high in simple carbs, I threw it in the garbage!

  • Jen November 13, 2011, 2:34 pm

    “while eating conventional, pesticide-laced produce and hormone- and antibiotic-tainted conventional meat and dairy every single day. EVERY SINGLE MEAL.”

    Loved this! Congrats, mama! 🙂

  • Lindsay November 13, 2011, 2:38 pm

    You could drive yourself crazy with all the information out there. I actually gave myself a Google ban after a few weeks of being pregnant because there is always something else to worry about and the worrying may actually be worse than the research findings. (I found that on Google before the ban 🙂

  • Ida November 13, 2011, 2:47 pm

    I used to work as a foodborne illness epidemiologist and the misunderstanding about soft cheese for pregnant women drives me nuts. The rule is really about queso fresco ( fresh, raw cow milk cheese)but to be extra safe they say avoid all raw cheese. As long as it has been pasteurized it should be fine.
    Sounds like you are doing your research, and it is true that outbreaks can come from all sorts of foods. It really is just about hedging your bets!

  • Emily November 13, 2011, 2:49 pm

    I hate when blanket statements are made regarding nutrition. Example: Eggs are bad and Vegetarians don’t get enough protein.
    I’m surprised someone asked you if you were going to continue to be a vegetarian. Non meat protein sources are everywhere!

  • HRCK November 13, 2011, 2:50 pm

    Thank you for having perspective, for doing your research, and for being non-judgmental. Not many people have all three, and I so appreciate that you do!

  • Emily @ Comfortable Home Life November 13, 2011, 2:50 pm

    Woah woah woah — you’re NOT shooting up crack!?! I’m totally unsubscribing… 😉

    In my line of work, I see the babies who ARE products of shooting up crack and doing tequila shots — and most of the time they turn out fine too. A little cheese ain’t gonna hurt anything! Glad to see you are being smart and sensible, which is honestly half the battle. Good luck with all the advice — sadly this is just the beginning!

  • Christine @ BookishlyB November 13, 2011, 2:58 pm

    I’ve never had a baby before, but it seems to me common sense is key. Like you said, no crack, no tequila and stick to a healthy diet. Teenage moms eating McDonalds have perfectly healthy babies. The pioneers who had no multi-vitamins had healthy babies. Sometimes too much knowledge can be annoying.

  • Ali November 13, 2011, 2:59 pm

    Good for you for doing your homework and then acting in the way that you feel is best for YOURself and YOUR baby! I’m not pregnant (and have never been), but I can see what you are saying and have similar issues in my weight loss journey. I have lost 70 lbs (on my way to ~120!) and I constantly have people monitoring what and how much I eat. My biggest pet peeve is when people have lost 5 lbs and then try to act like they know so much more about what I should be doing than I do (like telling me I should never eat carbs or sweets or whatever; or rolling their eyes when I eat chocolate and saying, “don’t you WANT to lose weight this week?”). I like getting advise in general because I love doing my homework, but in the end, I have to make the decisions as I know what is best for myself and I appreciate when people can accept this. Moderation is key for everything and doing what’s best for you and your baby will result in such a lower stress pregnancy, which is so important (speaking from second-hand experience here but I’ve seen too many pregnant friends that are way too stressed out over this stuff!).

    • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:50 am

      Congrats on your weight loss 🙂 You’re awesome!

      • Alisa November 15, 2011, 2:21 pm

        Thank you! Congrats on your pregnancy! 🙂

  • Sara November 13, 2011, 3:02 pm

    I did everything that they said you were not supposed to do during pregnancy….had caffeine every day, ate junk food like crazy, so on and so forth. And my son is healthy and brilliant (he’s in gifted and talented).

    Does that mean that I suggest to everyone I meet that they should do exactly as I did…no. Mostly because I gained over 100 lbs in pregnancy and because I now have cavities due to not taking my vitamins. I wish I had made healthier choices during my pregnancy just because I wish I had started living a healthy lifestyle in my 20’s instead of my 30’s, but it is what it is. I did my best at the time, and I adhered to my doctor when I felt like anything was off in my pregnancy.

    There were a lot of people with a lot of well meaning advice for me, just as there still are a lot of people willing to give me “advice”. They mean well, they really do. And I try always to remember that fact.

    I would suggest…that you and your doctor know your body best, so you and your baby will be more than just fine. 🙂

  • Vanessa November 13, 2011, 3:05 pm

    What a fantastic post!!!It is true that while you can’t live in a bubble, you can use common sense and do the best things for yourself and your growing baby. Your healthy attitude will serve you well during AND after your pregnancy : )

  • Lee November 13, 2011, 3:07 pm

    This is not exactly related, but I was just curious. How do you feel about drinking a little bit of alcohol while pregnant?

    • Jasmine November 13, 2011, 5:23 pm

      I just wanted to add my two cents on this alcohol thing. I’m not sure it’s something I would do, but I do have a very close friend who had a drink once in a while when she was pregnant. She now has two healthy and genius level (literally) boys, ages 10 and 8ish. It didn’t seem to affect her pregnancy or the kids at all. Again, I’m pretty sure I won’t do it, but it was pretty eye opening to me to realize that there’s a lot more flexibility in the “rules” than I used to think.

      • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:46 am

        I think it’s okay to have small glasses on wine on occasion in the late second or third tri, but I wouldn’t drink anything beyond a sip in the first, when so much important development is occurring.

        • Stephanie November 16, 2011, 11:23 am

          I am 31 weeks pregnant and before I got pregnant I also felt that the occasional glass of wine was fine during pregnancy. I am someone who truly enjoys a good glass of wine or a beer and giving it up for 9 months sounded terrible. Not going to lie- it isn’t easy even now, though it has gotten easier. But, once I got pregnant my mind changed and I have not even had a sip of alcohol (other than at the start before I knew I was pregnant). Not because I think the occasional glass of wine would hurt the baby but because I feel like I should be able to abstain from alcohol for 9 months for the sake of my baby AND myself. As in, is it really worth the small glass I get to have on occasion? Since when did drinking become SO important that I would take any risks? I think pregnancy just got me to reevaluate my ‘social life’ and how a lot of it revolved around drinks and that it felt wrong to me that the ‘need’ to drink would be more important than the need to do what is best for the baby.

          • Stephanie November 16, 2011, 11:45 am

            I completely forgot to add to my comment “Congratulations!” You both must be so excited and I am excited to read about how your pregnancy goes!

  • Alison November 13, 2011, 3:10 pm

    You have a good head on your shoulders! I’m not even engaged or married and people already ask me if I want my kids to be vegetarian. Sigh.

    I just wanted to add that the concern over Listeria is for two big reasons: one, it is an unusual bacteria in that it can live happily in temperatures as cold as 4C – like the inside of your refrigerator – whereas many other food borne pathogens cannot survive in the cold. The other factor that causes concern is that pregnant women who ingest Listeria typically only have a mild, flu-like sickness that generally passes without any treatment. Unfortunately, the fetus experiences much more severe sickness, such as meningitis. (I’m in medical school and we just finished our unit on bacterial infections).

    Bottom line, if you stay informed, as you seem always to do, you should be able to make the right choices for you and your baby. 🙂

    One last thing on Listeria – there was recently an outbreak in cantaloupe, so even though it’s not really in season anymore it might be best to avoid consuming it.

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! Best wishes onthe coming months!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) November 13, 2011, 3:10 pm

    This sounds very similar to my approach to food during this pregnancy!!! I am going with a ‘common sense’ approach 🙂

  • Jessica Washburn November 13, 2011, 3:11 pm

    People need to get a life! Keep on keepin’ on, you’re doing great. 🙂

  • @HilaryFleming November 13, 2011, 3:15 pm

    Hey Caitlin! Congrats on the wee one. I just found out that I am preg too! I’m due a month after you(exactly), so I am really excited to follow your process and see what you eat, etc. This is my second pregnancy and the first one was a doozy so I’m trying to be more health conscious this go round.

    Anyway–about the sprouts–I wonder if that whole e.coli business is more for purchased sprouts. I would think that if you are sprouting your own sprouts and taking care to sanitize your sprouting jar and not cross contaminate with anything, I don’t see what the difference would be to eating a raw sprout to a raw carrot. I’m no scientist, but I agree with what you said. Everyone totally freaks out about stupid stuff like eating sprouts, yet they are eating hormone and antibiotic infused meat three times a day. Makes no sense.

    • Laura November 13, 2011, 7:56 pm

      No I think this could be a little risker, as we don’t have the capacity to irradiate the sprouts with UV in our homes as they would be otherwise, also our growing techniques and environment will be considerably less aseptic. To be honest, I think the sprouts issue does have a great deal more resonance now than, say, last year, given a really nasty outbreak that spread across continental Europe last spring/summer- they eventually narrowed the sources down to the actual seeds from which sprouts were grown, and not due to later contamination- and also cucumbers ( Hence, sprouts were withdrawn from supermarkets for many weeks and cucumbers were proudly marked as ‘grown in the UK’. Mind you, did news of the outbreak of Salmonella from Cadbury’s chocolate ever reach America?!!
      On another note, its strange that you weren’t informed about the lowered Vitamin A threshold for pregnant woman, as its fairly high up in the UK guidelines for the initial information to be disseminated as part of the antenatal care programme!

      • Stephanie C November 13, 2011, 9:03 pm

        Agreed.. while not exactly the same thing, I have a CSA that I support and they grow microgreens. They recommend pregnant women don’t eat them. It’s really difficult to get the dirt off those things completely.

    • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:45 am

      The websites that say you shouldnt eat sprouts also say you shouldnt eat your own. Not sure of the reasoning though.

  • Meagan November 13, 2011, 3:15 pm

    You’re doing great, Caitlin. You’re being informed and making the right decisions for you!

  • dynamics November 13, 2011, 3:16 pm

    In theory you should NOT eat out at any restaurants. You do not know how the food is handled or stored. You could get infected very easily. I think a pregnant woman should take in all info and do what they feel works for them.

  • EMily November 13, 2011, 3:26 pm

    Thank you for writing this post. Everybody has an opinion. I will tell you though, that my OB told me pre-conception to switch to organic dairy, fruits and veggies and only eat antibiotic and hormone free meats. She also stated very clearly, NO FAST FOOD. I know some of my friends have commented on the fact that I consume a teeny weeny bit of caffeine every day but then during their pregnancies ate McDonalds every day for lunch. Bottom line is, whenever anyone says something to you that you may or may not need or want to hear, just smile and nod and say, “Interesting, thank you.”

    • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:44 am

      Your OB sounds pretty epic! Where do you live? Charlotte, by any chance???

  • Rachel Starr November 13, 2011, 3:37 pm

    Ahh, welcome to pregnancy! Everyone has an opinion & it continues after you have the baby too. I was pretty OCD w/ my first pregnancy, but this time around I’ve relaxed a lot. I can only control so much & I’m chasing a 2 yr old so…

  • Lisa November 13, 2011, 3:37 pm

    This is refreshing to read and I think you are already way ahead of the game in terms of eating healthy, unprocessed (living) food. The critics of vegetarianism crying “what about protein?”, frustrate the hell out of me. How ’bout you try legumes, eggs, nuts, etc. for natural and hormone free protein, jeez! Much better for you, the baby (and anyone else) than all of the health and environmental risks associated with meat consumption.

    In short, I think your approach is both realistic and responsible, keep it up!

    • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:43 am

      The ‘what about your protein’ argument is always stated by someone who never eats vegetables.

  • Rachel @ Mommygetsmoving November 13, 2011, 3:54 pm

    You have a really great outlook. There are so many myths and old wives tales out there. It only gets worse after you have the baby.

  • Carin November 13, 2011, 4:04 pm

    I can’t look at the photo of Kristien with the creamy beater in his hand, the twinkle in his eye and the smile on his face without laughing!

    A friend of ours told us when we were first pregnant, “Let people give you advice, smile and thank them…. then do whatever the hell you want.” Worked for us!

  • Lindsey November 13, 2011, 4:06 pm

    Great post! Had to let you know that since I get really tired of hearing of all the foods you have to avoid when prego when in fact you don’t! You are so right about not living in a bubble too!

  • JenRD November 13, 2011, 4:27 pm

    Great post! During my pregnancy and now that I am breast feeding, I choose to buy the “dirty dozen” produce organic; other produce conventional to save $$; and organic dairy & eggs. As for the cheese, I am also a huge goat cheese fan, and the only concern for me during pregnancy was if it was pasteurized. I always asked at restaurants. Believe it or not, I found that several casual cafes used unpasteurized goat cheese in their salads–major bummer. Also found raw cheeses at TJ’s. For me, I just weighed the risks vs. benefits during pregnancy (and nursing) of giving up certain foods, but didn’t drive myself crazy over it.
    I do wish there was more discussion of eating organic in pregnancy–I can’t recall, but it may be covered in “YOU, Having a Baby,” by Dr. Oz, as they discuss epigenetics (the effects of pregnancy on a baby’s development)–very interesting.

    • JenRD November 13, 2011, 5:43 pm

      Just wanted to add that the topic of artificial sweeteners in pregnancy also interests me, and I wish we knew more about it. Before getting pregnant, I used splenda in my coffee, ate sugar-free gum and mints, and also ate lite yogurts and ice cream. I decided to stay away from artificial sweeteners during my pregnancy because that was important to me, but I admit I was not perfect–for some reason, I craved diet coke, which I rarely normally drank!

  • Billie November 13, 2011, 4:30 pm

    Hi. I noticed you cook rice and eat it the following day freeze it. I heard that rice harbours bacteria and shoulnt be eaten the next day. I know a lot of Indian friends who say they cook their rice with a little tumeric which is a natural antibacterial. I think it is amazing news about the feotus and I am sure it is going to be born into a loving happily little family. x

    • Ellie November 13, 2011, 4:58 pm

      If rice not eaten until the next day harbored bacteria I would be dead. I frequently keep rice in the refrigerator for like a week and then eat it. Never sick from it.

      • Marissa C November 13, 2011, 5:45 pm

        OOO OOO! I know this one! Helping your husband study for med school tests FINALLY comes in handy!

        What the above poster is commenting about is called “Fried Rice Syndrome” caused by Bacillus cereus.

        As long as you are keeping the rice properly refrigerated after you cook it, you should be fine. It is a real concern, though. In her post, Caitlin said she only leaves it out for an hour, so she should be okay. If it was longer than that, I’d worry.

        • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:42 am

          Oh good to know, guys! Thanks!

  • Grace November 13, 2011, 4:31 pm

    Congrats!!! I’ve never commented (but I’m a long, long time reader) and I just wanted to put my two cents in that I’m in no way any where near pregnancy (let’s hope) but I already know I can’t go 9 months without goat cheese so I totally agree about that BUT a few months back I had terrible food poisoning from sprouts in a sandwich at a gourmet sandwich place in NYC (and I called to confirm that it was the sprouts) so if you can avoid them, why not? <3 Better safe than sorry!

  • K November 13, 2011, 4:47 pm

    I had my first tiny sip of mead (honey wine) this weekend at the farmer’s market and realized that it’s only because I’m not showing yet that I can get away with doing something like this and escape peoples’ judgmental eyes. Pregnancy is the ultimate exercise in balancing risk discourses and diplomatically managing peoples’ opinions. I think the most challenging thing is actually is preemptively dodging the tummy grabbers! Personal space rules are not suspended during pregnancy! It’s so flattering and sweet to be on the receiving end of well wishes and good intentions, but it also, at times, requires the patience of a saint. Now, compound this with telling people that you’re having a home birth and then let’s talk about opinions and advice! I think I’ve perfected the line, “Thanks so much for sharing those views and that perspective. We’ll be sure to remember everyone’s feedback as we decide what’s best for us.”

    • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:42 am

      Good line. I will use it!

  • Sarah November 13, 2011, 4:47 pm

    Great post!!! People commenting on what you eat is just the beginning of the parenting journey! Although I’m finding once they reach about 3 1/2 and are toilet trained there isn’t much left to discuss/judge/comment on.
    I’m a scientist and I love your take on all this – research and a level head. You’re going to be an awesome Mum.
    I wonder if growing your own sprouts makes a difference? We have a great vege garden and mostly don’t wash what we harvest. Well, unless it has dirt on it.

  • Laura November 13, 2011, 4:49 pm

    The advice and judgement side scares the crap out of me. I haven’t been pregnant and currently don’t plan to. People are so judgmental and having a baby belly apparently gives them the right to tear your life apart and judge you.

  • Kelly November 13, 2011, 5:02 pm

    You rock, Caitlin. And you’re going to be an awesome mom. 🙂

  • Jen November 13, 2011, 5:15 pm

    I am not pregnant, nor do I ever intend to me (hubs and I 100% do not want children), so maybe I shouldn’t even be posting here, but I’ll say it anyway. I think it’s amazing that women have been having babies for trajillions of years, and the majority of them turn out just fine, regardless of what their moms ate or drank. Hell, my mother smoked throughout her pregnancy with both me and with my brother, and we turned out relatively okay (physically we’re both fine; we won’t broach the mental aspect, lol). I saw a segment on the news the other day about a local company that offers some kind of 24/7 video monitoring of your home and child, so you can always see what they’re doing. My first thought was “one more thing to make moms paranoid that they’re not doing enough to watch their child!” Like you said, you’re not doing crack or tequila shots, and you eat better than the majority of people out there, so that little fetus of yours is gonna turn out just fine! I really admire the way you’re approaching this pregnancy – you’re totally realistic about what you can and can’t control, and you seem to be taking things with a grain of salt…that’s one lucky baby inside you!

    • Rebecca November 13, 2011, 5:18 pm

      Ha ha, totally agree, and I never want kids either. Oh well. I still have opinions! 🙂

  • Rebecca November 13, 2011, 5:17 pm

    I am on board with your last paragraph, and I am not a vegetarian, though I do try to eat from organic sources when possible. Personally–and this may sound conspiracy-like, but oh well–I think that society is controlled by powerful lobbies to a greater extent than we realize. Of course we don’t hear about any studies regarding negative effects that conventional animal products (and the pesticides/hormones in them) have on us/babies. The lobbies won’t allow it. So we get worked up about sprouts instead? I kind of find the sprouts thing ridiculous because, yeah, e-coli could be anywhere and you could get food poisoning from ANYTHING. So…

    My point is, the sprouts lobby just isn’t powerful enough to stop the negative rhetoric. 🙂

    I think people should lay off the judgments in general, especially regarding pregnant women. Again, conspiracy alert, but I think it’s just one more way to judge female bodies and give them guilt. I secretly believe that you could do NO research, eat as you please, and maybe just avoid shooting crack, like you said, and your baby will probably be A-OK. The freaking out needs to stop.

    • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:41 am

      I like your conspiracy theories and totally agree with both!

      • Sara November 14, 2011, 10:27 am

        Love your blog, Caitlin–read it every, single day, but I just wanted to share this! Let’s not judge the farmers that grow our produce and meat too. (Not saying you are, but the person above used the word “judge” so I just went with it.) I am a Vegetarian (just because I don’t really like the taste of meat) but I work for an ag organization. I can tell you that antibiotics are not in your food–despite what the MEDIA has said. Antibiotics are given to sick animals. Do you want to eat sick animals? How about drink milk that came from a sick cow. Ew. Animals are not allowed to be slaughtered until the antibiotics are out of their system. Same with milk from cows that were sick and treated with antibiotics. If antibiotics are detected in milk, that milk is destroyed and the farmer loses money–so why would they let that happen? Subtherapeutic antibiotics are another topic, but again, antibiotics aren’t in USDA-inspected meat or dairy. Sure, our food system has flaws but it is not all bad. We’re very fortunate in America to have a mostly safe food supply and it is affordable. We spend far less in America on food than those in other countries. I know it’s what we’re used to (those of us who have always lived here) so it’s a hard concept to grasp, but it’s true. I often question the use of antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, etc. so I’ve been asking my co-workers (who are more knowledgeable) about these issues and looking at both sides before I make up my mind. I really don’t mean to be preachy, but this is what I’ve researched and just wanted to share. Wash your produce well and eat local meats if you choose to consume them. Buy what you can afford, read labels, know your facts and look at both sides. I hope I haven’t upset anyone, just wanted to share what I’ve learned! I like that we can all share our opinions in a kind, respectful forum 🙂

  • Dana @ the Big Fat Skinny November 13, 2011, 5:35 pm

    I really loved this post. As a matter of fact, after I comment I’m going to pass the laptop to my husband and make him read it too. I think its important to be informed on the risks regarding food, exercise, etc during pregnancy, but like you said – its impossible to live and eat in a bubble for 9 months. I think leading as healthy a lifestyle as you do (like mine) is a wonderful way to conduct ourselves during pregnancy. Congratultions and stay well!

  • Rachel November 13, 2011, 5:39 pm

    I’ll always think of the movie “Le Divorce” when I think of pregnancy food rules. The character (Naomi Watts) decides to drink some wine while pregnant and the gasps she received. In the movie she said most French woman drink some alcohol while pregnant, and its more of an American faux pas. It made me wonder how many of the “food rules” are true and how many are exaggerated.
    While I don’t recommend guzzling wine or slamming caffeine, the occasional amount may not(or may) make much difference. It is something to think about.

    And if you haven’t seen the movie, its worth seeing.

  • Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker November 13, 2011, 5:40 pm

    All I have to say is — welcome to the opinions! You will get a ton of them online . . . from your family, friends, and tons from strangers on the street. It’s one reason I’m so happy we’re close to delivering 🙂 Hahahah. I, like you, chose not to live in a bubble during my pregnancy. I was much more freaked out in the first trimester, but as the months rolled on, I’ve been much more relaxed about everything. So, keep eating your goat cheese. I had some last night, too. And — yes — it was pasteurized.

  • Morgan November 13, 2011, 5:44 pm

    I think most of the pregnancy food rules are overkill. I followed them religiously during my successful pregnancy and turned myself into a raving lunatic. We had a very difficult time getting and staying pregnant and it made me insane. I went as far as not eating soft serve ice cream because some random lady told me it could give me listeriosis. I compulsively cleaned and cooked my produce when pregnant because I was afraid of ecoli, and I hate cooked vegetables, almost always eat mine raw. I went as far as cooking most of my fruit as well, and washing cherries and grapes one by one with soap. I am not a good example of rational behavior when pregnant! Looking back, none of those things were going to change the outcome of my pregnancy, it just gave me a way to feel in control of the uncontrollable. I like to think I would be more relaxed if I ever got pregnant again, but I don’t know if I could control my anxiety. I envy people who are able to look at these things with a level head:) No one has a right to judge you for how you eat when pregnant, parenting decisions start with pregnancy, and you are the baby’s parent!

  • Jenna November 13, 2011, 5:53 pm

    This reminds me so much of this post that I wrote: Except you said it much better than I did.

    (Is it crappy of me to link to myself like that? I’m never sure if that’s rude. Just wanted you to know there are other bloggers who agree with you 🙂 )

    • Whitney November 13, 2011, 7:15 pm

      I think that’s awesome. That’s what blogging is for, right? 😀

      • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:40 am

        Agree with Whitney!

  • Constance Blizzard November 13, 2011, 5:53 pm

    Oh, your voice is so full of reason it almost blinds me! I share your due week and attitude towards food. These days I grow and preserve much of what I eat, and the first person I came Out to took the news with “well, you’re not going to continue eating that stuff? What if you get salmonella?”

    Of course, this was never a concern when I was just feeding myself, and as we all know, one never gets salmonella from factory-produced foods.

    In any event, I’m 0 for 1 and it’ll be a few weeks before I’m ‘public’ so I’m awfully relieved to find that I’m not reckless and prenatally abusive. Thank you!

    • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:40 am

      Good luck with this pregnancy 🙂 I’m sure it will be your sticky baby.

      • Constance Blizzard November 14, 2011, 10:21 am

        Oh, I meant “0 for 1” in terms of success with people I’ve told. It’s not a problem though– in a few weeks I’ll tell my mother, and she’ll tip the scale so far in the other direction that all the overzealous food nags of the world won’t have a chance. Enjoy!

        • Meaghen November 15, 2011, 1:09 pm

          Your “sticky baby”? I’ve never had a miscarriage before, but that seems incredibly inappropriate to say to someone who has. I can think of a million better things to say to a woman that I hope this is your “sticky baby”. Why don’t you try putting yourself in the shoes of someone who has gone through the heartache of a miscarriage before you use terms that can so easily be offensive!

          • Caitlin November 15, 2011, 1:27 pm

            It’s actually a fairly common term on miscarriage and pregnancy support message boards.

          • Constance Blizzard November 15, 2011, 1:42 pm

            Ha– I wasn’t offended (but as I mentioned, it was actually a misunderstanding. I don’t know if I’d have taken offense if I -had- suffered a miscarriage, but I’m pretty thick-skinned that way).

            That said, a completely unrelated question: I have found endless amounts of sites and books for emotional support and cheering, all of which is nice. But it’s so difficult to find cold hard facts. Something just didactic, without the fluff, telling you what’s going on, what may/might/will happen, what to be alarmed by and what not. Sites that don’t necessarily resort to language of “sticky babies,” but put facts on the table, so that I can devour them then puke them back up.

            Kidding. Kind of.

            In any event, if anyone has ideas, I’d love to hear them… Caitlin, I hope you have a round-up of sites you’re following through your pregnancy.

          • Caitlin November 15, 2011, 1:45 pm

            I like the message boards, but it’s just women talking to each other.

          • Pam C November 15, 2011, 2:34 pm

            I’ve had two miscarriages in the last two years and sticky baby is a way to not dismiss the previous miscarriages as actually being babies. Saying I hope you finally get your baby would be much more hurtful. I know you can’t please everyone so I’ll be stepping down from the soap box now hehe

  • Anna November 13, 2011, 5:55 pm

    All I have to say is AMEN! I think you have a feet, balanced, proper perspective. 🙂

  • Ann @ Turbo Teacher November 13, 2011, 6:23 pm

    It is really interesting to read all of these facts & opinions about pregnancy! ~ I think I will be ready for them in the next year or so!! 🙂

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) November 13, 2011, 6:31 pm

    I think that what bothers me is that pregnant women cease to be recognized as real human beings and are suddenly community property open to rude criticism from strangers.

    (end rant)

    • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:39 am

      Amen to your rant.

  • Laura @ Backstage Balance November 13, 2011, 6:35 pm

    Good point!

  • Ashleigh - November 13, 2011, 7:18 pm

    I think you make great points in this post! There are definitely so many things that can happen and we cannot control all of them! You’re point about organic vs. conventional produce is something that people absolutely need to consider and I too find it interesting that you don’t see information about this on pregnancy websites, etc. You seem to have a great attitude about all of this and are clearly doing what is best for you and your child!

  • Msnels November 13, 2011, 7:40 pm

    I had no idea about the sprouts! I’m 32 weeks and my doc and midwife told me that cheese was fine as long as it’s pasteurized. My doc also said the lunchmeat thing arose from one case a really long time ago. A bit of caffeine and sushi is fine too. It really is all about moderation.

    PS. I love drippy eggs!

  • Amanda November 13, 2011, 7:42 pm

    Wow, I had never heard of the sprouts thing….I guess things change even after couple years!

    The only things I avoided during pregnancy; unpasteurized cheese, lots of caffeine, alcohol.

    The long list of things you’re not supposed tp eat, like lunchmeat, I tried to avoid but didn’t freak out about it.

    You are so right about how we as a soceity focus on the craziest things, like soft cheese, when we eat Big Macs and soda all the time!!

  • Stacie November 13, 2011, 7:51 pm

    Best advice is to use common sense and don’t follow other people’s rules. I am 47 and had two babies 7 yrs apart (with cancer in between). Obviously I had multiple concerns but you can’t worry about everything. Your body knows what to do and what it craves (and should avoid)–just listen. I personally think people worry too much and you should not do that and just know what you need. Wont’ go into it in detail now but when I had breast cancer between my two kids I needed to eat differently (hi fat) due to the chemo and how much weight I was losing. I listened and that is what helped me recover even though what I craved then is not what I would EVER eat now. Listen and you’ll have a beautiful healthy baby!

  • Jen in LA November 13, 2011, 7:57 pm

    First off, congratulations! Second, I’m due with my first on Dec. 15th and I can relate. I hated all the unsolicited advice I got from people during the early part of my pregnancy. Even my OB kinda laughed to herself about me being a vegetarian and predicted that it wouldn’t remain that way throughout my pregnancy. (Nevermind that I’m 33 and became a vegetarian when I was 13…) I’m still a vegetarian and have grown this child without meat. Enjoy your pregnancy and I’m sure you’ll begin to develop a thick skin for people and their, sometimes, unwanted comments and advice. Just try to remember that they mean well. Oh yeah, and they stop with the prenatal advice somewhere near the third trimester and then start with the unsolicited parenting advice. ha

  • Susan November 13, 2011, 8:38 pm

    While I’m nowhere close to being pregnant, I found myself relating to this post a little! My immune system is currently around 1/10 of a normal person’s thanks to my treatment, and I am having to take similar precautions (and more!). On top of that, I get recommendations from people aallll the time about what I should and shouldn’t be eating. Like you, I enjoy hearing them incase I learn something new. But I’m kind of an emotional wreck these days, much like a pregnant woman, and even the nicest of advice can be misconstrued by me and I’ll get all upset and emotional over it. When my oncologist got angry at me about getting a dog (because they’re dirty) I cried and cried and cried. Until I realized it was my choice, and the benefits far outweighed the risks.

    I have tell people ALL the time to stop trying to put me in a bubble.

  • Polly November 13, 2011, 9:12 pm

    Great post Caitlin – I view copping unsolicited advice left right and centre during pregnancy as just training for when we need to “smile and nod” while getting advice on raising our children.

  • megan November 13, 2011, 9:23 pm

    Ah, but you can put yourself in a pregnancy bubble- just check out (Lol)

  • Sable@SquatLikeALady November 13, 2011, 9:26 pm

    I’ll preface this by saying that I am a vegetarian, so I do agree with you that people should be careful about what they put in their bodies especially when it comes to conventionally raised meat and dairy…. however, I think the risk from sprouts is considered higher because when you eat beef, typically you cook the E. Coli out of it, whereas if you eat sprouts raw, the E. Coli aren’t killed by the high heat of cooking.

    And organics are great, don’t get me wrong. But I work in a low-income pediatrician’s office, and honestly, a lot of people in America are having a hard enough time paying for fruits and vegetables and beans and good quality protein sources without having to also worry about buying organic. Once we have ensured that every mouth in America is adequately fed, then I think we can start telling pregnant moms they should be eating organic.

    • Sable@SquatLikeALady November 13, 2011, 9:39 pm

      PS: Of course, I think a lot of the worry about sprouts and all that other stuff is blown out of proportion. I mean, women had babies before we had all these food rules and that’s why we’re all here today. I just wanted to clarify re. the sprouts because I hand out those info packets to newly preg. moms and do get questions about them.

    • Kate November 13, 2011, 9:47 pm

      Agreed. That last paragraph, even with the editing, reeks of entitlement and lack of perspective. I can’t imagine why people would be “eating conventional, pesticide-laced produce and hormone- and antibiotic-tainted conventional meat and dairy every single day. EVERY SINGLE MEAL.” EVERY SINGLE MEAL, you say? You might do the same if you had to worry about being able to put any kind of food, much less organic food, on your family’s table.

      • Meagan November 14, 2011, 1:44 am

        I’m not trying to be snarky or disrespectful by any means, but I’d have to say I agree with Kate’s comment to some extent. This comment was extremely off-putting, and as a North Carolinian (and wife of a traditional farmer), I found this highly offensive. In our state, Caitlin, traditional agriculture is a multi-billion dollar industry and employs 1/3 of the state’s private workforce. Organic meat, poultry and produce is a blessing to those who are able to fit it into their budget. There are millions of families who are trying to live healthy lifestyles with “conventional pesticide-laced, hormone- and antibiotic-tainted meat and dairy every single day, EVERY SINGLE MEAL.” I’m one of those people, and I’m happy to say that. Congratulations on your pregnancy.

        • Jill November 15, 2011, 3:45 pm

          For the record, pregnant or not, no one needs to be eating meat in every single meal, every single day. Maybe if people ate less meat, they could afford better quality meat. This is coming for someone who supports a family of three on $45,000 dollars a year. It’s all about priorities. Frankly, I’m tired of people arguing any criticism of commercial farming and agriculture is privileged. You act like these are small family farms when the majority of our food comes from agri-corporations.

    • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:39 am

      I’m not saying that I think it’s realistic for most pregnant women to eat mainly organic produce and meat. But I am saying that I find it ironic that doctors harp on things that only impact 1,600 people in the entire country EVERY year without even making SUGGESTIONS to patients to reduce conventional meat intake. Reducing your meat intake is FREE and – yes – it would have a positive impact on the health of the mother and the child. And nearly all doctors agree that reducing meat consumption is healthy. But this is never talked about to pregnant women when discussing nutrition.

      • Lauren November 14, 2011, 10:24 am

        Some of these blanket statements are problematic. “Doctors” harp on things? What doctors? Who, when? “This is never talked about to pregnant women?” says who? Are you part of these conversations that pregnant women have with their doctors? Are you assessing the diet changes of pregnant women nationwide to come to these conclusions?

        These broad-based assumptions about what doctors are saying to the millions of pregnant women nationwide are silly. They’re clearly written without any statistical merit, but are intended to back up your argument.

        It’s hard to take some of these “science-y” posts when they’re clearly not written with a nuanced, balanced tone.

        • Kate November 14, 2011, 11:55 am

          I’ve got a few things to add but right now just have the time to say I completely agree with Lauren’s comment.

      • Sable@SquatLikeALady November 14, 2011, 6:41 pm

        Yes, giving up meat is free, but it has to be replaced with something and a lot of working, lower-income single moms don’t have the time *or knowledge* to be able to prepare things like tofu even if they can afford them. Sure, there’s beans, but try to feed a 5-year-old American some variation of beans for dinner every night when they spend every day being bombarded by advertisements for all new different shiny types of food.

        Speaking from the experience of growing up poor, lower income moms have enough other things to worry about. I think we need to start at step one: getting everyone to eat fruits and veggies. Then we can worry about pesticides.

      • Kate November 14, 2011, 8:06 pm

        Like Lauren, I’m really curious where these statements that you’re asserting like facts came from? I could provide plenty of anecdotes that contradict those statements but anecdotes do not have statistical merit.

        But for your argument’s sake, let’s say those statements are true. Have you ever been in a low-income health clinic that serves pregnant women? I’ve worked in three, and the physicians are often double- and triple-booked every 20 minutes (that’s 6-9 patients an hour). It seems quite unfair of you to suggest that those medical doctors are somehow negligent in treating their patients because you think they should be encouraging pregnant women to reduce their meat intake (or, as you actually originally said in your post, “aim for a diet that includes, at the very least, a significant percentage of organic meats, dairy, fruits, and vegetables.”). I’d rather them depend on their medical training and actual empirically-supported recommendations and treatments.

        And as Sable noted, you may be able to say cutting meat intake is free, but it’s certainly not that simple. There’s a lot of privilege wrapped up in that statement. Those of us who can choose to prioritize “healthy” foods have access to resources that a lot of people don’t. I work with the segment of population people are usually pointing their finger at when they say those kinds of things, and it honestly infuriates me when there’s no acknowledgement of the set of circumstances that are in play for us to be able to make what we consider “healthy” decisions, thanks to money, time, education, psychological wherewithal, etc.

        • Lauren November 14, 2011, 9:43 pm

          Kate, thank you for this very thoughtful and well-written comment.

          And THANK YOU for noting the privilege that pervades this post and many other posts about “designer healthy lifestyles” and the “right” way to eat. People who eat McDonald’s because they live in a food desert are still eating REAL FOOD. They are eating what they are able to get. Not acknowledging ones’ own privilege makes me very upset.

          • CaitlinHTP November 15, 2011, 9:06 am

            Thank you both for your comments. I still stand by the original point of the comment but see where you both are coming from.

          • Meagan November 15, 2011, 9:24 am

            There is a big difference between blaming the individual and questioning society….

          • Kate November 15, 2011, 12:07 pm

            Just so I’m clear, you don’t have any evidence to back up the strong statements you made about doctors and what they do or do not say to their patients?

    • Sara November 14, 2011, 10:20 am


  • Alett November 13, 2011, 9:28 pm

    Caitlin –

    wow! I just want to say that I am really enjoying the pregnancy “ride” via your blog. I had no idea about all of the things a mother to be has to think about.

    Happy Sunday/Monday!

  • Denise November 13, 2011, 9:32 pm

    I was pregnant 26 years ago and there were no rules other than you shouldn’t smoke and my kids are fantastic. You know what is best for you, live and eat what your body is used to.

  • Sarah November 13, 2011, 9:46 pm

    I’ve never commented before but I’d been reading your blog for a while. First – Congratulations! Your little one’s due date is two days before my son’s birthday (he was born on his due date which is crazy)

    I definitely erred on the side of caution when I was pregnant when it came to food rules. I went cold turkey off the caffeine (which resulted in an unpleasant few days BELIEVE ME)and totally cut out sprouts, soft cheese, sushi, meat that wasn’t well done, raw or sunny side up eggs, lunch meat, artificial sweetners, cold medicine etc. If it was on the no no list I didn’t touch it. I think I was being a bit neurotic but I decided I couldn’t live with myself if anything happened. However, I certainly didn’t judge my pregnant co-worker when she ordered a diet coke and turkey sandwich at lunch 🙂

    I definitely went back to my regular diet after my son was born. Some people continue to cut out the caffeine while nursing but I needed that cup of iced coffee in the morning after a sleepless night! My little guy is 5 months old, I’m back at work, still breastfeeding and my morning cup of coffee hasn’t seemed to bother him! One thing I’ve continued to be neurotic about though is alcohol. I’ve had a few sips here and there but until I’m done nursing (probably when my son is a year old) I’m avoiding the booze.

    • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:33 am

      Congrats on nursing for so long 🙂 That’s awesome. I can def see why you’d avoid the booze while pregnant. I would feel so guilty passing on beer to my baby through breastmilk!

  • Reenie November 13, 2011, 9:48 pm

    Oh boy! I couldn’t even read all of these. I know times have changed and I don’t have any kids so a lot of people think I shouldn’t have an opinion about kids….whatever!! I’ll be 54 in December…. my Mom had 4 kids ~ and drank bourbon & coke and smoked thru all of her pregnancies…… and we’re all ok 😉

  • Sha November 13, 2011, 10:00 pm

    Congratulations! I haven’t checked many blogs in awhile (it was seriously cutting into my productivity), and something told me to check yours today! I’m 10 weeks today (due June 10) so it will be exciting to have another pregnant person due around when I am, going through the same changes. Congrats to you and your husband again!

    • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:32 am

      Yay 🙂 Happy pregnancy!

  • Mary November 13, 2011, 10:01 pm

    So, I just wanted to share my thoughts which have nothing to do with pregnancy food rules but more with a really minute nerdy point. Even though beef & leafy greens account for the greatest percentages of e. coli cases, a greater percentage of people who eat sprouts may get sick. Likely a majority of people eat beef >1 per week (talking about the gen pop here), while a very small percentage of people eat sprouts at all. So, the #’s of people who get sick per beef consumption may be quite low compared to the #’s of people who get sick per sprouts consumption. Anyway that said, pregnancy nutrition seems like such a headache, especially with everyone weighing their opinions! I’m single & have already gotten many questions about whether I will continue as a vegetarian when I’m pregnant.

    • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:31 am

      Ah I see. Interesting statistical point!!!

    • anon November 14, 2011, 10:41 am

      such an astute comment!!!!

    • Kate November 14, 2011, 11:26 am

      I appreciate you pointing this out! I like your approach to pregnancy Caitlin and I really liked the basic message of the post. But I will say that I frequently notice food bloggers misinterpreting science-based info, particularly statistical data. I don’t think this is at all intentional, but likely because they don’t have basic statistical training. Something to think about, because readers place so much trust in you and your advice (even though you have disclaimers about consulting a doctor, etc.).

  • Tiffany November 13, 2011, 10:49 pm

    I wish i ate more healthier foods while pregnant, but all i ate was Mc Donald’s- Jr. chicken’s mostly, but still Mc Donald’s EVERY DAY. it was what i craved for (and strawberry’s <3) my next pregnancy I'm planning on eating way healthier, since i know the difference now (i was 17 when i was pregnant). Unfortunately i couldn't hide it from everyone, Like teachers, one teacher actually suggested to me that i drop out, another told me not to eat the cafeteria food.

    There will always be someone jamming advice down your throat about everything possible. So stay strong Caitlin, Your doing whats right for YOU, and YOUR baby. In the end that is all that matters.

  • Emily November 13, 2011, 11:12 pm

    My grandma smoked like a chimney throughout all three of her pregnancies, and my mom got a full four-year scholarship to University of Michigan’s engineering school. So yeah, I’m just gonna reiterate what everyone’s been saying – these food rules have totally been blown out of proportion! You’re very clearly conscious of the choices you make, and like someone else said, I think it’s pretty obvious that you’re in the top 10% of healthy pregnant women. Keep on rockin’, girl.

  • Khushboo November 14, 2011, 12:24 am

    “I find it extremely interesting that people freak out over things like the occasional soft cheese and sprouts (the risks of which are, relatively speaking, are pretty low) while eating conventional, pesticide-laced produce and hormone- and antibiotic-tainted conventional meat and dairy every single day. EVERY SINGLE MEAL”

    Love this sentence as it reminds me of the whole banana scenario: why do people freak out that it’s so ‘fattening’ when they have no issue downing chocolate bars and cake??

  • Claire November 14, 2011, 1:33 am

    I think it’s funny that everyone has such strong opinions about this (I don’t just mean on the blog, but in life in general) because the fact that everyone has a different approach and we are all healthy enough to argue about it must mean that there’s way more than one right way to do it!

    I think the flagrant disregard for boundaries with pregnant women has to be some kind of evolutionary development. Everyone wants the human population to keep perpetuating itself, so we all have this compulsion to put in our two cents to make sure that everyone else’s babies are going to be as healthy as possible.

    • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:30 am

      I agre 10000% with this comment. It is a very interesting thing to watch, how pregnant women become public property.

  • Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count November 14, 2011, 4:37 am

    I’ve never been pregnant so you won’t get any does and don’ts from me. This is all very interesting, though never having dealt with any of this info. You’re in charge, Caitlin. Do what you think is best.

  • Shannon November 14, 2011, 6:52 am

    Don’t worry, Caitlin, as any experienced mom will tell you, once you move on to baby number two, you won’t worry about most of that stuff anyway — including all the stuff you ARE being scrupulous about this time around. 😉 (Joking, but not really.)

  • Jessica @ Jess Go Bananas November 14, 2011, 7:14 am

    I’m not really knowledgable about food rules during pregnancy…the only ones I know are don’t drink coffee, don’t smoke or drink alcohol, and don’t stand in front of the microwave! 😀

  • Molly @ RDexposed November 14, 2011, 8:12 am

    Don’t eat expired yogurt. Helloooo Listeria!

    Vegetarians also need adequate B12, but you eat eggs so I probably wouldn’t worry about that.

    Enjoy pregnancy, don’t be anxious over sprouts. 🙂

  • Jamie @ FoodinRealLife November 14, 2011, 8:26 am

    I can’t even tell you how many people commented to me about goat cheese. Unpasturized people! I did however eat cantaloupe in the middle of that big listeria recall. I had no idea.

    Listeria is no joke- epsecially because it can go undetected and hurt the baby with no side effects to the mom.

    I’m choosing to avoid the sprouts, but that’s my choice. I also eat regular non organic meat (no not, EVERY DAY) but yes, I eat it. And I don’t think it makes me a bad mommy to be.

    • Caitlin November 14, 2011, 9:29 am

      It certainly does not! No one is a bad mommy to be (well, maybe if they’re shooting crack or taking tequila shots….).

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife November 14, 2011, 8:53 am

    Haha. I think it’s hilarious how everyone loves telling people how to live their lives and their pregnancies. Hah.

    Love your choices!

  • June November 14, 2011, 8:58 am

    You bring up a very good point. Not just in pregnancy, but why in the world are we bombarded with all these items that could/might cause this disease or that disease, but yet no one warns us of the dangers hidden in processed flipping food!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Eleonora November 14, 2011, 9:36 am

    Hi Caitlin! I’m a reader from Italy: here 99.99% of cheese is made with raw milk, and I’ve never seen any pregnant woman avoid it, nor do OB/GYNs say anything particular about it. I’ve even had friends drinking wine during pregnancy (ok, it was maybe a tablespoon of red wine two or three times in 9 months) I’ve got the impression that we’re really obsessing on details, while maybe relaxing and enjoying pregnancy with a good dose of common sense should be better. Can you believe that when my mom was expecting me there were no baby scans? And no, I’m not from prehistory 🙂

  • faith November 14, 2011, 9:54 am

    A thousand big, fat “Amen”‘s on that second to last paragraph.
    Good for you for trusting your gut and making your own decisions in pregnancy.

  • Possessionista November 14, 2011, 10:32 am

    I think you have a great outlook; as a mom to two I can tell you that – just as you live your life – the key is moderation.

  • J November 14, 2011, 10:39 am

    i agree with shannon, i was so careful during my first pregnancy and now on my second, i do not worry about most of this! like many, i was also dead set on having a natural birth the first time. NO WAY i’m going through that again. you really cannot plan such things no matter how hard you try.

  • Megan November 14, 2011, 11:42 am

    You’re still doing a ton better than me in my first 3 months of pregnancy. Vegetables were disgusting, I couldn’t get myself to eat them. I’m just now (at 12 weeks) starting to eat veggies/fruits again. And processed foods have been my downfall, too. It’s easy stuff to make quickly! I agree with you though, America is so rooted it it’s meat and dairy that no doctor would tell you to eat organic.

  • Lauren @ HugsKissesNDishes November 14, 2011, 11:57 am

    I think it is great you are talking about all these sensitive subjects! No matter what you do somebody will always judge. You just have to stay strong and smile and at the end of the day do what you think is right. Keep the controversy coming 🙂

  • Anon November 14, 2011, 12:00 pm

    Hi there, first time commenter. I am glad you are doing your research and be prepared that every single post you make about pregnancy decisions will have people judging and arguing with you – just the nature of the beast.

    Anyway you have 185 other comments already but I wanted to put in my $.2 as an infectious disease epidemiologist who works on outbreaks for a living. Someone already mentioned it but yes, the big difference between beef, leafy greens and sprouts is that you can’t wash the bacteria off the sprouts (it’s inside the bean part) – so you either have to cook it or not eat it. Only UNDERCOOKED beef carries a risk of e. coli – if you can cook the food, it’ll kill the pathogen. Don’t forget that huge deadly e. coli outbreak in Europe was determined to be due to raw sprouts instead of cucumbers as they originally thought ( – so sprouts are usually worth avoiding.

    As for listeria, yes it’s a real concern here in the states, sometimes even in pasteurized dairy products because of farm contamination (our outbreak: Just do your best to eat the cheeses and dairy that have the lowest risk of listeria and you’ll be fine. Things like the cantaloupe outbreak are really rare. But you’re smart to not just blow it off as ‘overprotective food rules’ and do your research. Good luck!

  • Pam C November 14, 2011, 12:19 pm

    I love to use the Veggie Wash (which I’m pretty sure is just lemon juice and water) to wash all my fruits and vegetables. I’m not sure how much of a difference it makes in ridding food of chemicals or bacteria but the food tastes a bit better so it must do something right 🙂

    • Pam C November 14, 2011, 12:24 pm

      Also, I’ve talked to my mom about this a lot before. She told me to be mindful but not kill myself over it. I worried about diet coke and Vitamin A & E and she said she thought the same thing. Her doctor told her that the lab tests use extremely high concentrations to get results that aren’t always 100% clear. He didn’t say not to avoid the “no list” but to indulge once in a while if cravings were intense and not beat herself up over it.

  • Alison November 14, 2011, 12:49 pm

    When I talked to my doctor about the soft cheese issue, she said that cheese people will tell you the issue isn’t pasteurized vs. unpasteurized… it’s the makeup of the soft cheese (even after pasteurization) that makes it more prone to grow bacteria. Then she said she indulged in smelly soft French cheeses when she was in France while pregnant and didn’t feel bad because the risk is so, so tiny. haha.

    So my take on it is I’m not going out of my way to eat a lot of soft cheeses, but if there’s an amazing sounding salad with goat cheese on a menu, I don’t worry too much about ordering it.

    I had never heard the sprouts thing (and I’m at 33 weeks) but I hate sprouts anyway so I try to avoid them as much as possible whether preggo or not!

  • Laura November 14, 2011, 12:57 pm

    I find “food rules” during pregnancy so interesting. And so cultural! I worked for a British family (living in America) as a nanny and she said she had a glass or two of wine a week during both her pregnancies and drinking (a little) during your pregnancy is very normal in the UK. HOWEVER, when she was pregnant and vacationing in France she was given scornful looks for eating a salad. I guess French pregnant women are told to avoid raw vegetables (probably bc of bacteria). SO, in conclusion, a lot of these “food rules” are really just “culture rules” of whatever place you find yourself when you are pregnant. 🙂

  • Suzanne November 14, 2011, 2:03 pm

    Hi Caitlin,

    Food Safety News covered the issue of sprout safety quite a bit during the German E. coli outbreak that occurred earlier this year. It’s not just E. coli that people have to worry about. Sprouts have been recalled for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes contamination as well. Check out “Are Sprouts Safe” for more background.

  • Susan November 14, 2011, 2:06 pm

    I LOVE this post. I am an RD who is sick of people freaking out about every little food during pregnancy. And you’re right, few people seem to worry about the hormones in milk or pesticides on their spinach. When people start cutting out all different foods due to some irrational fear of them “hurting the baby,” they sometimes end up eating a crappy diet with very few nutrients. The same thing goes for exercise, if you are already active and you feel good while doing it, keep it up! It’s more harmful to be lazy and inactive during pregnancy.

  • Kathy November 14, 2011, 2:12 pm

    Amazing how the times change. When I was pregnant, we didn’t think of any of the things people worry about today. You ate your food and took your vitamins. Nobody worried about any of that stuff. Like you, I would eat to be healthy and leave it at that. You can’t worry about every second of every day. You’d go crazy. Just do the best you can and listen to your body!!

  • Kristen November 14, 2011, 3:52 pm

    I think you are doing great! I think people put way too much pressure on pregnant women to act and eat perfectly and use caution with everything. While I do think it is extremely important to use caution and start putting your baby’s needs first, I think you should try and be as happy and stress-free as possible. Enjoy your pregnancy and don’t let too many people’s opinions overwhelm you! You are awesome!

  • ash November 14, 2011, 5:48 pm

    great post!

  • Ali November 14, 2011, 6:04 pm

    THe only thing I really follow is no caffeine but that’s b/c I don’t care for it much anyway so it was no biggie to cut it out. I’m also a vegetarian, ate normal throughout my last pregnancy and surprise my daughter turned out JUST fine 😉 Us vegetarians can produce healthy kids…haha

  • Shelly @ Cake is a Food Group November 14, 2011, 7:39 pm

    I like that you are looking to the facts before making decisions on what you will and won’t eat. I think there are too many people who listen to the myths without really looking into them. Way to make informed decisions!

  • Ali November 15, 2011, 12:37 pm

    Interesting post. The only kind of vitamin A that matters is vitamin A from animal products, by the way–the vitamin A from plants has no upper limit. The vitamin A in plants is beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in animal bodies (like ours and other animals). The kind of vitamin A in animals is then preformed vitamin A, not beta carotene. You can’t OD on beta carotene from plants because your body will just stop making vitamin A with it. You can only OD on the preformed kind in animal products.

  • Jo @ Jo In the Kitchen November 15, 2011, 1:34 pm

    Thanks so much for speaking up! I felt like there were so many rules that my doctor never told me about. I’d find out when another woman would practically scream at me when I was in the grocery checkout line! When I confronted my doctor, he said he didn’t mention them because they weren’t really risks. I totally agree with your bottom line: talk with your doctor, and don’t take it too personally when people balk at your choices.

  • AmandaonMaui November 15, 2011, 1:53 pm

    I completely agree with you. People stress so much over the little things that have had maybe one or two incidences, and then those stories spread as old wives tales or urban legends. Pregnant women can have a small bit of wine during their pregnancies too, as long as they’re not sloshing along through life and overdoing it. Just like everyone else, excess is bad for pregnant women.

    I can’t tell you how many pregnant women I’ve seen eating bags of Cheetos or other highly processed junk food, yet they’ll tell you things like soft cheese and sprouts are dangerous. It makes you wonder if they’d ever eaten sprouts.

    Wash your sprouts if you eat them at home, and if you’re truly concerned stick with pasteurized and aged cheeses.

    I like that you showed the huge schism between the percentae of E.Coli outbreaks from beef versus sprouts. Those same Cheeto eating women are probably out there eating conventional beef which is more often the source of E. Coli, especially when compared to grass fed beef or eating no beef at all.

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t indulge and have a processed snack. I’m saying eat like you’ve always done, because girl you’ve got one of the best diets I’ve seen. Keep up your vitamins, amp up the super foods if you want, and just live life.

    Women have been making babies since the human species began. They weren’t told to avoid certain foods, and their offspring survived. Yours will too. Oh, and those early humans were hunter gatherers, with the women walking several miles a day for food resources. 4-5 hours per day is the average for hunter gatherer women to go looking for food.

    You’ll be fine. No stress ’em.

  • Mandie November 15, 2011, 2:22 pm

    I did not care for all the “opinions” that everyone wanted to push on me. My parents/in-laws probably the worse. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “oh we never would have done that 30 years ago.” My doctor told me that anything is fine, in moderation, so that’s what I did. If I wanted something then I would indulge, but not all day every day. I figured it was better to eat and drink what I wanted and not stress over rather than stressing over “what’s in this or that?” and “should I be eating this?” In the end, I was happier, which led to a much happier pregnancy! My baby boy came out just fine too! You go girl, you’ll be just fine!!

    Some pet-peeves while pregnant though – in the form of “advice”

    1) “Enjoy your sleep now!” I can’t tell you how many times I had to hear this, and I think my sweet baby boy knew so to get them all back he sleeps about 9-10 hours a night. I love to brag now to all those people how much sleep he lets me get!

    2) “Your life will never be the same” Like that’s a bad thing??? Some people would say that your life would end once kids were in the pitcure, but we like to think that our life has just begun now that he’s here!

    3) “Oh just wait…” This usually came when I would be talking to someone and I would complain about a headache or a backache and so forth. I had to hear this comment and it was soooooo annoying!

    4) Probably the most annoying of all – the belly rubbing! I think I must have had a sign posted on my forehead that read “Yes I would LOVE for you to molest my stomach!” A gentle hand pat, ok, but the rubbing all over…and over…and over…it was a little (no a lot) uncomfortable!!!

    All-in-all my pregnancy was the most amazing and challenging 9 months of my life, but it was sooooo worth it each and every morning when my son smiles back at me. I listened to all the “advice” but soon learned that each and every baby is going to be different and the only way you will truly know what’s going to work for your baby is to experience it once your baby is here. Good luck, you’ll be just fine!

  • Kim T November 15, 2011, 3:21 pm

    I know I’m late commenting on this one, but I wish I knew you when I was pregnant. My girls are 11 and 9, both are healthy normal girls. I went through my first pregnancy in a state of panic. If I knew then what I knew now, I would have done a lot more focussed research and not just gone around like a crazy person for all those months. What you present on your blog about yourself, pregnancy and birth seems very reasonable and healthy. I think that will help you as a mother too. I have come to have a much more similar attitude to yours through parenting. Running around envisioning worst case scenarios all the time, just really isn’t all that helpful. Your comment about how people go ahead and take reasonable risks and then stress about minute things can apply to a lot of situations. One I think of a lot, is panic over letting my kids ride their bike around the neighborhood or play in the front yard – well we are all at a lot more risk every time we get in the car, but no one questions driving any where. It’s all very interesting. Having a healthy dose, of thanks for your opinion, I’ll be doing it my way, really saves your sanity. Best to you. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

    • CaitlinHTP November 15, 2011, 5:05 pm

      🙂 Well clearly you’re a good momma. I know it’s hard not to stress but you’re so right. Sometimes its just not worth it.

  • Vanessa (@IsleStyleLiving) November 15, 2011, 7:27 pm

    OMG I feel like I’ve heard it all during my pregnancy!

    I’m currently 8 months pregnant and EVERYONE has an opinion about what I’m putting in my mouth, especially since this is my first, they treat me like I’m a clueless moron who can’t even use a toilet seat properly much less take care of a baby!

    My favorite is when co workers FREAK out during our coffee break. They all tell me how bad caffeine is for my baby. Little do they know I now drink decaf. I was NEVER a coffee fiend and I love the ritual more than the caffeine.

    YET these same people are the ones telling me I can go ahead and have a glass of wine, once a week. Um, no thanks. Research now shows that they don’t really know how much alcohol passes through the placenta and reaches the baby. I’d rather play it safe.

    I’m so over people offering their advice. I’ve been hearing it as soon as I announced I was pregnant.

  • Julia H. @ The Petite Spiel November 15, 2011, 8:08 pm

    Very interesting! I actually want to be a registered dietitian, and one of the areas I’m interested in is prenatal nutrition–I think it’s fascinating that there is so much controversy about it sometimes!

  • Victoria March 9, 2012, 9:09 pm

    it’s funny b/c when you are pregnant everyone has advice and wnats to help you out – hold the doors for you, pick things up that you drop etc. then you have the baby……..and you become the stroller pushing women with a crying infant that everyone wants to avoid – well except for the older ladies who will need to tell you exactly what that crying baby needs! LOL! insanity

  • Joanna January 30, 2014, 3:54 pm

    Well then I must be the worst prego ever because I eat soft cheeses, all kinds of fish, sushi, steaks cooked medium, raw honey, and drink a fair share of caffeine. And some days I forget to take my prenatals. I think stress is more harmful to our developing babies than some of the foods we eat so I don’t stress about it.

  • Kristen May 16, 2014, 8:22 pm

    Love your logic. On a side note – Do you have any recommendations or thoughts on prenatal vitamins? How did you pick the one you took?

    • Caitlin May 17, 2014, 10:41 am

      I used perfect prenatal. It’s a whole food and organic supplement.

  • Carrie René January 4, 2016, 12:02 am

    The reason they say to avoid raw sprouts more than spinich and other veg is because theyre literally impossible to clean.

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