Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sooner Or Later, We Are All Going To Die

I apologize for the morbid title of this post. This post has been on my mind for some time now and I’ve been trying to find the words to put it together.

I have recently discovered that Nalgene water bottles are dangerous, especially to pregnant women. Now, as I have been using my Nalgene bottle EVERY SINGLE DAY since I’ve been pregnant – filling it up at least twice a day – I was quite ready to dismiss this “warning” and chalk it up to the countless other ridiculous, alarmist warnings that seem to come out of the woodwork during pregnancy.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, the Nalgene scare is real and it is one worth heeding. It has been shown that Nalgene bottles made of #7 plastic do indeed cause harm. A substance called BPA leeches from the plastic and, once in the body, mimics the hormone estrogen and may cause hormone imbalance for the mother and the fetus. Side effects can range from miscarriage, birth defects and genital/sexual problems for the babies, and all sorts of cancers once the children reach puberty and adulthood.

There are numerous factors that can accelerate the leeching of BPA out of the plastic, including letting the water sit in the bottle for long periods of time, exposure to sunlight and washing in the dishwasher (which I have done every week with my bottle). It is also worth mentioning that BPA isn’t limited to Nalgene bottles; you can also find it in a zillion other food packaging-related plastics, almost all “large water cooler bottles”, as well as virtually every canned food in some amount. Studies have shown that something like 93% of every man, woman and child has traces of BPA in their systems.

The reason I post is because I’m finding myself extremely frustrated lately. There are SO MANY foods, activities and items that pregnant women are told to avoid. Some of them are common knowledge, some of them are not. Some of them are truly dangerous, while some warnings are simply overblown, under-researched, alarmist scare-tactics. I learn about a new dangerous “something” I’m supposed to avoid every week it seems and wading through the fact and fiction is tiresome, frustrating and sometimes I just want to cry. All I want to do is take care of this precious life inside me, and it’s proving more challenging that I thought. It isn’t as simple as “eating right” anymore. There are levels of complexity to being pregnant and friends, I am utterly daunted.

Here is a brief list of some of the foods/activities/items I’ve heard or read we’re “supposed” to avoid as pregnant women. Some of these are real, some not so real.

-Soft Cheese (Unpasteurized)
-Deli Meats
-Raw Meats, Raw Eggs, Raw Fish
-Non-Organic Dairy and Meats
-Salad Bars, Packaged Salads
-Soft Serve Ice Cream
-Smoked Fish, Smoked Meat
-Herbal Teas
-Underwire Bras
-Canned Tuna
-Sleeping On Your Back
-Tap Water
-Bottled Water
-Paint Fumes, Chemical Fumes
-Lifting More Than 20 Pounds
-Sitting In The Hot Sun
-Bubble Bath
-Ripe Green Fruit
-Lotions Containing Vitamin A
-Nalgene Bottles
-GMO Soy
-Close Contact With Sheep
-Aspartame and Other Sweeteners
-Kitty Litter
-Ultrasound/Fetal Doppler
-Aspirin and OTC medication
-Hot Tubs/Saunas
-Hair Dye
-Nail Polish/Nail Polish Remover
-MSG (Monosodium Glutimate)

Which ones do YOU believe?
What other pregnancy no-no’s have YOU heard?

I am beyond frustrated to the point of just having to laugh at this whole thing. It seems no matter how hard I try, I am always doing something wrong. I not even 5 months into this parenting thing and I’ve already screwed up more times than I can count. It seems impossible that I could have a normal, healthy baby with all the packaged salad, Doppler sessions and Nalgene water I’ve subjected this poor kid to. It’s overwhelming separating fact from fiction and I just can’t keep up.

I ASK YOU: Are we, as pregnant women, supposed to live in a glass case existing on nothing but organic broccoli and boiled tap water? I certainly don’t know the answers, but I can tell you that in the meantime, I’m ditching my Nalgene bottle and buying a stainless steel one.

I’d love to hear your opinions on this subject, as well as any other real or ridiculous pregnancy no-no’s you’ve heard.


Mel said...

I think about this a lot, too, as I am also constantly beraded the amount of things you are and aren't supposed to do now during ovulation.
WTF, right?
You HAVE to give pause and stop to think about how babies have managed to be born from the beginning of time until now just fine and all these rules and regulations are fairly new, within the past few decades or so. Somehow mankind pushes on, right? I think we, as a society, are overworried, overstressed and underappreciative of the fact that life will persist and the vast majority of babies are conceived, gestated and born perfectly healthy. I know there are exceptions to every rule, don't get me wrong, and I do not mean to belittle the deviations, but numbers don't lie.
Thanks for this post.

Fertilized said...

You forgot to mention the new studied report of caffiene causing m/c's as well.

I think there is a balance to learn from all of this - just Mel says - babies are not a new thing- they have been being born for centuries upon centuries and for the most part- they have it down to a daily routine.

I know that there have been advances in science according to reproduction (thank RE's for my current state) but at some point - you just have to tke it all for print value and move on. Limit, moderate and move on. Or atleast, that is what I do.

*a lil OCD side note about me and my RE- he told me to not drink/eat out of plastic while cycling due to the bpa- gave me a list of items - so we threw out all out plastic and bought all glassware (corning ware) while cycling. It was extreme -my friends still mae fun of me for it - but it's ok. I chose to do it. We are also doing glass and bpa free bottles for Mini - BUT that is because i choose to not because anyone made me. I know it is also extremem my friends are laughing and making fun of me for that as well. But - I stand by my decision and it was MY decision and I just have to be confindent and balanced.

sorry tangent

Alisha said...

All I can say is that I completely understand what you are saying. But, there are soooo many risks--just avoid the ones you KNOW and believe are a serious issue. Chances are, your baby will be fine no matter what you choose. One thing--most defects occur in the first trimester (that seems to help me since I've had an ultrasound showing no problems just a few days ago). I've also been drinking out of plastic bottles and cups almost daily throughout the entire pregnancy--no issues so far (although I will now try to pay more attention). I get highlights and paint my toenails. Just do what you can--I'm sure everything is fine!

Along these "risk" lines--I think I am going to avoid vaccines for little man. I'm not sure the ins and outs of this, but I don't want to risk autism and other issues--even if these aren't technically proven, either. Just doesn't seem right to inject a baby with all kinds of diseases. So, you see, the risks never end--and you have to choose what you think is most important. Like my grandma said: The worries never end; you have to figure out a way to deal with them--and live happily--NOW; because you don't want to look back and see that you ruined your pregnancy with worry!

christina(apronstrings) said...

i think people have gotten so nutty over pregnancy risks. the most dangerous things are getting in a car. period.
remember when we were trying, no caffiene, no alcohol, def. not even one cigarette. well, i took that all as true (which it may be-esp. smoking)for two years. then, i gave up on having kids from my crappy eggs-smoked, drank alcohol (wine and a smoke 2x a day, and TONS of caffiene.) three months later i was pregnant.
dopplers aren't bad for us. period. if so, docs wouldn't use them because some lawyer would have already sued.
they are going to keep banning everything until we are all forced to just give and do whatever, becauss there will be no way to do all that they ask.
also, a lot of things you list, aren't mentioned by the AMA or docotrs-but by people unqulaified to say jack about ti.

THIS ISN'T DIRECTED TO YOU! as you can tell, it just ticks me off. isn't pregnancy stressful enough! that's something worth worrying about, and what they need to beat into our heads!

Barb said...

There are so many things that even non-pg people shouldn't be exposed to that we are exposed to every single day. ugh.

Kristen said...

It definitely weighs on my mind. But, at the end of the day, I think about how the human race has survived up to this point without knowing what we know today. I try not to drink out of a plastic container for too long but I've been guilty of reusing them myself. Not sure if they are BPA free or not.

Yes, if I know something is poisonous to my child, I will take every precautionary measure to avoid it. However, there is something new everyday that comes to light. You can only do what you can do. We obviously eat things that aren't good for us everyday but it doesn't mean it is fatal.

I use my doppler 2-3 times per week and I believe if it caused harm, you wouldn't be allowed by law to rent them or buy them.

I do avoid deli meats, unless heated until steaming. And I never eat anything unpasteurized, pg or not. I heard peanuts should only be avoided if you have a family history of peanut allergies. And soft serve? PLEASE! I need my ice cream and I've never heard of this being an issue for anyone. I've also been told not to have tuna, chicken or egg salad but I still do in moderation. Apparently, the bacteria from the mayo can be an issue if left out too long. But that can hurt you pg or not.

All you can do is use your best judgement. You are doing so well with educating yourself but please try not to stress yourself silly. Moderation is key.

Nurse Lochia said...

I think that while there may be some truth to the pregnancy no-no's, I also think that maybe there was just a problem with a couple pregnancies, so they decided to say "Hey, stay away from this". All I can say is that I see multiple people every day I work that have drank caffeine, had occasional alcoholic drinks, sat in hot tubs, etc and their babies were fine. I personally ate a LOT of cold cuts (husband runs a sandwich shop) and I didn't know you were supposed to avoid them until my third baby, drank an average of 1-2 cans of pop a day, had a rare glass of wine, played with the dopplar and US while at work, took a daily bubble bath, and my babies were okay. A couple docs work with actually said a half glass of wine is okay. While I'm not suggesting doing all these things, I just think moderation is key. Like Christina said, pregnancy is hard to begin with, and then new risks keep popping up for moms to worry about, it makes it even more difficult to enjoy it. Try not to worry about that whole list too much(I know, its hard). :)

Anonymous said...