Moms: did you avoid the no-nos as you were trying to get pregnant?

My soon-to-be husband and I are very interested in having kids, and I’ve stopped taking birth control.

There are sorts of little things you shouldn’t have while pregnant, and I am fine with the idea of forgoing them while pregnant. That said, I loves me some wine and cheese, especially brie and gorgonzola. And I change the littler box every day.

When you knew pregnancy was possible, when did you start avoiding those things?

I don’t have a cat, but I stopped gardening in our yard because we had loose neighborhood cats. I avoided soft cheeses, but that’s not something that was really hard for me. I didn’t have wine until my third trimester, and then it was maybe 1/2 glass during my first pregnancy and a couple glasses (not at the same time) during my second.

Things I didn’t eliminate: deli meats, caffeine (although I cut back), tuna (limited amounts), and peanut butter (practically lived on it).

Oh, and to answer your question (duh!), I didn’t make attempts to avoid anything until those little lines showed up on the test.

During the first pregnancy we had a cat and I changed the box. The only other thing to avoid was alcohol which was easy for us since we rarely drink anyway. We just didn’t buy it. I’m not aware of any risk related to eating cheese. My wife ate plenty during both of her pregnancies.

OBs often recommend that women avoid soft cheeses during pregnancy because many of them are made from unpasteurized milk, and thus are at higher risk for food-borne infection. But if you can verify that your favorite soft cheese is made from pasteurized milk, you should be fine. Likewise, they say pregnant women should avoid cold cuts, because of the risk of Listeria infection, but if the meat in question is cooked (like in a hot pastrami sandwich or a freshly-boiled hot dog) it should be fine.

My wife gave up gardening because of the wandering neighborhood shit-machines, and has been avoiding cold cuts and soft cheeses. The alcohol wasn’t a huge sacrifice (although a bit of one).

Geez, I’m a gardening feind, and it hadn’t even occurred to me to avoid it. Hmmm. Thank you for bringing that up.

Thanks also for the tip about pasteurized milk in cheese; I’d understood that Listeria was a risk in soft cheeses AND lunch meats, but maybe I was off-base. I’ll ask about that when I see my doctor, too.

The problem isn’t all cheeses- it’s unaged cheeses (aged <6mo) made with unpasteurized milk. In this country, you have to go pretty far out of your way to get those. The FDA doesn’t allow them to be imported or sold interstate. You pretty much have to make your own or get them from another country (either you or a friend brings back some runny cheese from another country).

I would not attempt pregnancy without cheese. Come to think of it, there aren’t many things I would attempt without cheese. Count it as calcium and enjoy.

I drink rarely and in moderation and I kept right on drinking rarely and in moderation in the two days or whatever it was that elapsed between “maybe now is the time to have a baby” and “I sure hope now is the time because I’m pregnant”. After the lines appeared in the window, I cut back to the occasional sip from my husband’s glass.

I have always had cats and my understanding is that the risk of toxoplasmosis-related complications in pregnancy is highest for women who are exposed to toxo for the first time while pregnant. However, it is never too soon to make somebody else clean the catbox.

The main thing I would suggest, now and forever, is to drink plenty of water. Oh yeah, and try not to stress about the heaps and heaps of advice and horror stories and labor stories that everyone you meet will want to tell you. Get sleep, decent food, and clean water and you’ll be way ahead of the obstetrical adventures of millions of women in the world today and plenty in the past, as well.


I didn’t avoid anything in particular during the time I was off the pill and before I found out I was pregnant. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we were trying, more like we weren’t preventing.

Coffee and alcohol were the two things I gave up for the most part. The coffee took care of itself…by week 8, the smell of coffee make me nauseated. My OB recommened half a glass of red wine, several times a week during the last 2 months of my pregnancy, so that was nice.

I didn’t worry about cheese or cold cuts. Suburban Plankton was already in charge of the litter box, so I didn’t have to worry about that.

I gave up Dr. Pepper almost entirely. I did not have soft-cheese, wine, or coffee habits, nor did we own a cat, so I didn’t have much to give up in the first place. I did that as soon as we started trying.

(It is probably totally unnecessary to give up all caffeinated soda, but I had a miscarriage the first time and so was a little tiny bit paranoid afterwards. I don’t remember what I did with that first pregnancy except for how it ended.)

I’ve never heard the cheese thing.

Then again the day glo orange processed cheese slices are not going to cause any problems because they aren’t cheese and they are not food either.

I avoided caffeine and medicines ( with the first.) Cause you do everything right for the first.

With the second, all freakin’ bets were off as 1) my sinuses were inhospitalable for a second pregnancy in a row and breathing like somehting is pinching my nostrils shut is just a drag, man. ( I took doctor okayd Claritin.) I never knew what sinuses were before becoming pregnant. Now, crist…I predict the weather.

And when I got a double ear infection, throat infection and sinus infection from a germ infested London-Detroit flight in my 7.5 month, I thought I was going to cough the baby out with all the non-stop coughing I did for five weeks.

Ever cough and do kegels at the same time?

The OB didn’t want me anywhere near their office because I might make another preggo woman sick. What about meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

The regular doctors could not see anything other my pregnant stomach. fuckers.

I almost kicked a female physician in the privates with anger at the way I was just a farking leper, but I had a terrible coughing spasm that pretty much didn’t stop until I drove home (30 minutes) and took a shot of nyquil.
That bump is now sitting next to me talking to my mom on the phone. She has survived with no apparent side effects other than burping like a sailor and has a propensity for Polly Pockets.

On the plus side, when I gave birth to our daughter, it was the easiest birth evah. My muscles from coughin were in A-1 shape. They have returned to their usual gelatinous flabbiousness state.

Nothing much to add here except that I had never heard of the cheese thing, either.

One thing I would suggest giving up during pregnancy is baked beans. Oh, they don’t affect the fetus as far as I know, but they can irritate the hell out of your husband.

What risk does peanut butter have? The only thing I can think of is that there is a theory that eating it while pregnant may contribute to a peanut allergy in the child, but AFAIK, pretty much every theory as to why some kids do/don’t get allergies is sketchy. Some say don’t expose them to X early in, as it will cause a reaction later, others say do do it, cause a lack of cantact makes a hyperactive immune system.

Just wanted to mention that you should start taking vitamins with folic acid when you are attempting to conceive- it vastly reduces spinal cord defects and it’s important very early on.

I second this…this is by far the most important thing you can do in early pregnancy to ensure the health of the baby.

I didn’t have a cat, but I stopped drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages. I don’t drink (but on a rare occasion) or smoke at all, so I didn’t have any other “no-nos” to avoid.

That’s it. I ate at least one PB&J sandwich almost every day of my second pregnancy, so obviously, I don’t buy into some of those studies.

Relax. Try to, anyway. Get a good multi with folic acid (if you’re diet isn’t great, see if your doctor will give you a prescription for pre-natals while you’re trying to conceive.) I would get someone else to handle the litter box, because - hey - who wants to clean the litter box when your nose is super sensitive and your stomach is extra queasy?

It sounds like you already know the things you should avoid: soft cheeses ('though I didn’t, because I never even found an unpasteurized cheese), lunchmeat (again, I didn’t, because…well, just because I think the risk is overstated and I like honey ham), peanut butter (again, YMMV based on whatever you read this morning), alcohol, cigarettes, etc. I don’t think there’s any reason to avoid any of these until you’re sure you’re pregnant though.

Also, remember that large sea fish are out, due to the risk of mercury poisoning. Chunk light tuna is fine, apparently.

Remember that the first two weeks of pregnancy, before you miss your period, are pretty much a get-out-of-jail free card as far as substances go. The zygote is still free floating and nourished by the egg. It’s not “hooked up” to your body or getting anything out of your bloodstream. So don’t freak out about a few glasses of wine on the conception night. It won’t hurt the baby.

Also remember that often with these things, the quantity makes the poison. There is no evidence that a single glass of wine during pregnancy causes any problems whatsoever. This becomes even more true the later in pregnancy you are. By the fourth or fifth month (after morning sickness has gone away and you’re really craving a Cosmo), even a couple glasses of wine in a night for a special occasion are not going to cause birth defects: the gross anatomy is already formed - the baby’s just growing at this point.

Obviously, talk things over with your doctor and don’t do anything that feels wrong. But I hate to see women freaking out because they forgot and took a sip of champagne at a wedding, or worse, other people getting all judgemental because they see a pregnant woman with a beer. Alcohol has been drunk by pregnant women since pre-historic times without going overboard and harming their babies most of the time.

If you regularly throw back a fifth of Jack Daniels in a night, forget all that and go sober. :wink:

I thought I posted this last night, but we spent years trying to concieve. Since I’m not a completely clean living girl (I drink, but don’t smoke, eat OK, but not great) - I started all excited and did things right. Eventually, the cat box needs to get cleaned when DH is out of town, you have a drink (or two), you garden, you realize that you LIKE medium rare steak…and I never could do prenatal vitamins - made me vomit them right up.

We adopted and plugged ourselves into infertile. Any attempt at staying healthy pre-pregnancy went out the window.

I got a little tipsy on New Years Eve and missed the first trimester of pregancy because “we aren’t fertile” - lived life like normal, and had my daughter.

Both kids - the pregnancy I couldn’t control (and I don’t have any idea what his birthmom did) and the one I didn’t know about to control - turned out “good 'nuf.”

If you’ve had cats, you’ve probably already been exposed to toxioplasmosis (and I think there is a test that can be run to see if that is true). In which case, you can go ahead and clean the cat box. Most things aren’t going to impact until the first tri - so I’d keep having the glass of wine if you enjoy it (but pay attention so you can stop - although it takes a LOT of alcohol to get FAS - which is really rare even for alcoholics in a first pregnancy. Big deal from my point of view is to watch your medications.

For folic acid, one glass of orange juice is 25% of what they recommend for prepregnant and pregnant women. Add two slices of wheat bread and a 1/4 c. of spinich and you are there pretty much there. Folic acid isn’t hard to get in your diet (it does cook out - so you want lightly cooked). Beans, peas, poultry also contain folic acid, and its now supplimented in enriched baked goods and cereals. Even “I don’t eat too well” me gets enough folic acid (maybe if you didn’t drink OJ or were living a carb free lifestyle).

Not necessarily vitamin pills. If you can get a balanced diet, that’s better than pills. Please note that “a balanced diet” doesn’t mean eating the exact recommended dose of everything under the sun every single day (getting that notion out of Mom’s head required several years and the help of a dozen people).