By Megan McChesney
Want to make a pregnant woman paranoid? It’s easy! Here’s how:
Step 1: Say “I thought you weren’t supposed to eat hot dogs” right after I have enjoyed a hot dog.
Note: Health Canada says pregnant women can eat hot dogs so long as the middle is cooked to steaming.
Step 2: Tell me about the people who were killed by brain-eating amoebas from tap water used in their neti pots right after I tell you that I’ve been using a neti pot to treat my miserable cold.
Note: Not only are these amoebas only found in warm fresh water (not much of that in Canada), using boiled or distilled water eliminates any risk.
Step 3: Repeatedly ask me if I should be eating peanut butter or peanuts, while I am eating peanut butter or peanuts.
Note: While there have been some studies that suggest there is a correlation between eating peanuts during pregnancy and having a child with a peanut allergy, the consensus is that more study is required before any conclusions can be drawn (correlation does not prove causation, after all). The American Pregnancy Association recommends peanuts as a good source of vitamin B6 during pregnancy, and the Food Standards Agency in the UK revised its stance on peanuts in 2009, stating that it’s safe to eat peanuts and peanut products while pregnant, unless your health-care provider says otherwise.
Step 4: Send me Belly Armor. This is a product that you use to shield your belly while using cell phones, laptops or around wireless towers (?!).
Note: The World Health Organization currently states that cell phone use causes no adverse health problems, and have committed to reviewing available data at some point this year. They also explain that regular daily exposure to the electromagnetic fields from microwaves, laptops, cell towers is not currently shown to be dangerous. Some studies have emerged that indicate a link between cell phone use during pregnancy and kids with behavioural problems, but results were inconclusive, at best. And I say again: correlation does not prove causation.
Step 5: Show me this diagram, at right (which was truly sent to me as part of a package of “helpful pregnancy information”—it was an info sheet about play yard safety).
There seems to be so much (SO MUCH) that I could be worried about that it’s at the point where I have to laugh about it. I take my health and the health of my baby very seriously, as any expectant mamma does, but honestly. A guard to shield my belly from wireless towers? A deadly brain ameoba in my neti pot? Danger lurking in my peanut butter jar?
I’m pretty sure that with most scary things, a little common sense goes a long way (i.e. don’t let your kids hang out in play yards that have loose, noose-like strings in them), but I’m going take the calculated risk to NOT wear a t-shirt that protects my belly from cell phone radiation, and I’m going to trust that my neti pot is safe for me to use (I do boil the water, after all) and I’m going to trust my health-care practitioner when she tells me it’s okay to eat peanut butter. And I’m going to hope, at every turn, that I’ve made the right decision.