Pregnant Woman: Denied

by Jamie Rogers

In the ups and down stories about pregnancy, no one ever mentioned how it could affect your diet. Sure, I heard all about problems from spicy foods and the old wives tale that indigestion means you will have a baby with a full head of hair. I also heard about the pickle and ice cream cravings with the pregnant woman’s significant other heading to the Acme in the middle of the night. And, of course, those imbibers who must refrain from alcohol for the nine month stretch.

But not once, in the stories from pregnant aunts or pregnant sitcom characters did they mention goat cheese. Nor lunch meat, and most importantly, Caesar salads.

As I am rolling through my second trimester, I am starting to question this pregnancy thing as it has limited my menu selections as a foodie.

Goat Cheese, Please

When checking out a menu for the first time, I look for a few key phrases. Top on that list is “sprinkled with goat cheese.” That complex, sweet flavor marries perfectly with salads and citrus-infused poultry. But, pregnant women are denied this delicious treat because cheeses like brie, feta and goat cheese are mostly made with unpasteurized milk, thus increasing the risk that it contains little disease spreading organisms that could get me and baby sick. The availability of pasteurized-milk versions of these cheeses varies by supermarket and I have found that most restaurants use the unpasteurized kinds. So, no Mediterranean munchy plate for me. Goodbye, mixed green salad with sugar-toasted walnuts, craisins and goat cheese. I’ll see you in a few months.

I Actually Want Subway

Five. Five-dollar. Five-dollar footlong. I’ve always been luke-warm to cold cuts, but never has an annoying commercial jingle felt like such a tease. It’s all I want… a spicy Italian from Subway, or, even better, a Sicilian from A Cut Above in Newtown Square. But, cold cuts and even hot dogs are no-nos because of the listeria that could potentially harm you. Pregnant woman are more susceptible to these little critters. Bonus, right?

I Cheated with Caesar

Technically, pregnant woman shouldn’t have Caesar salads either. The raw egg used in the dressing is another no-no (along with other raw things like oysters, sushi and smoked salmon). Caesar salads are one of my favorite go to meals. Especially when the romaine lettuce is really crispy and cold. The Drafting Room in Exton has one of the area’s top versions, and I even like the ones at chains like Carrabba’s and Bonefish Grill. I should be avoiding this tasty, salty pre-dinner favorite. I dare say, however, that I’ve cheated. I’ve snuck a Caesar salad, or seven, since January. If I get cursed with a little boy who comes out with one of those ugly Caesar cuts made popular in the 90s, I’ll take it, for the love of my salad.

The More Obvious: Tuna Fish, Caffeine and Booze

I’m sick of the “all in moderation” advice. Sure, you can have certain tuna fish, but only a few ounces every few weeks, and, while you’re at it, watch the other fish you eat. I understand the dangers of mercury, but these doctors must never have had a delicious tuna melt from Classic Diner before. If they have, they may have modified their advice.

I’m doing well with dropping the caffeine. As a pregnant woman, most doctors and baby blogs advise you that one eight-ounce coffee a day is okay. Eight ounces? That’s like a shot glass of coffee to a girl who gets the 20-ouncer from Wawa. Dropping caffeine altogether is just easier.

And, booze. I’ve never been a big drinker, but when the weather warms up, nothing beats a frothy beer or margarita-on-the-rocks-no-salt-light-on-the-rocks drink. I could almost taste the air this Cinco de Mayo missing my favorite Herradura tequila. How am I going to make it through the summer?

So, as I’m 20 weeks in, with 20 weeks to go in the pregnancy, I am counting the days until I deliver at Paoli Hospital and await a feast of all my missing favorites. Any restaurant out their want to sponsor my post-labor indulgent feast, just let my editors know. Start planning a menu with all of the above for mid-September.