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Holiday Parties While Pregnant? Really!? Can I Eat or Drink ANYTHING GOOD? (Spoiler Alert: Yes, You Can!)

November 21, 2014 thanksgiving-dinner-spread

Holiday parties while pregnant? Argh!!

This can be one of the challenging parts of pregnancy. Not only is Great Aunt Millie going to pet your belly while regaling you with her graphic birthing stories from decades past, but you’re worried that you’re not going to be able to eat and drink all the fun stuff you usually do!  Sometimes it feels a little bit lonely to not be consuming what everyone else is…but take heart!

You can still eat most delicious holiday foods and you can drink *some* *modified* holiday drinks!

You’re going to hear a lot “everything in moderation.” We’ll amend that to “most things in moderation. Some things you just have to wait.”

We do take these restrictions very seriously. The food limitations are because certain toxins in foods (like mercury) can cause signficant damage to your baby and food-borne viral and bacterial illnesses can be deadly to developing babies. Nasty bugs (Salmonella, Listeria, etc) that, when not pregnant, might just make you miserable with the symptoms of food poisoning, can actually cause fetal death, miscarriage, or other serious harm to your baby. So please, strictly follow the below guidelines on foods to avoid.

Alcohol, when consumed during pregnancy, can cause longterm physical and cognitive birth defects, and  there is no known safe amount of alcohol to consume while you’re pregnant, so AVOID ALL ALCOHOL WHILE PREGNANT.

If it doesn’t sound fun, remember how important that little person is you’re growing inside you.

And, really your restrictions only FEEL like they’ll last forever. After you deliver, you can go back to eating and drinking all the things you’re missing…probably while standing up and simultaneously folding laundry and washing bottle supplies…but you’ll be free to enjoy them!

(We’ll discuss restrictions while breast feeding in a later post- they’re an improvement to pregnancy restrictions, I promise!)

So what CAN I drink at holiday parties?

This might seem like it’s going to make holiday festivities less festive, but there are ways to still enjoy some liquid merriment without the alcohol!

You can even drink them in fun cocktail glasses to feel like you’re having the full experience! (You might be caught explaining yourself to nosey relatives, though. We can’t help you there).

Try eggnog (virgin and pasteurized and NOT made with raw eggs), “mocktails” check the web for recipes, but an easy one is cranberry juice and Sprite or soda water with a lime wedge. They taste great and feel fancy! You can also enjoy juices (pasteurized), pop- (1-2 small glasses/day is OK), non-alcoholic sparkling juices,  and some coffee drinks.

Tell us about caffeine- you can consume 200mg of caffeine daily (about 2 small cups of reg coffee)- so as long as you’re within that limit- enjoy a beautiful coffee drink! A little coffee with steamed milk and (pasteurized) whipped cream and sprinkles on it and, ta-da! Very fancy.

If you usually have an alcoholic drink or two to help you get through the holidays with your in-laws and you’re pregnant this year….well, we can’t help you there. But maybe you CAN use your pregnancy as an excuse to go off for a while and take a nap?! 🙂

So what CAN I eat at holiday parties?

We KNOW you’re eating well and making good healthy choices and gaining only the weight you were advised, so we’re not even talking about pregnancy weight gain in this post….SO…

*You can eat the cookies! Just wait until they’re cooked and don’t eat the cookie dough.

*Go to fancy brunch with the girls! Just get eggs over hard instead of Eggs Benedict and make sure your mimosa is just pasteurized orange juice without the champagne.

This is a great guideline put together by the Mayo Clinic. This is another great pregnancy food guidelines by the March of Dimes. It also includes info on some vegetables, herbals, etc.

SEAFOOD

  •  AVOID any uncooked or undercooked fish or seafood (sorry, sushi!) What we’re concerned about? Bacteria!
  • Mind how it’s been handled, how long it’s been out of refrigeration, etc
  • Cooked fish- what we’re concerned about? Mercury!
  • AVOID: swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish
  • LIMIT: (6 oz/week): albacore tuna, tuna steak
  • ENJOY (2 meals/wk): salmon, polluck, catfish, anchovies, trout, cooked shrimp and other seafood

MEAT, POULTRY, EGGS

  • AVOID any uncooked or undercooked meats
  • What are we worried about? Bacteria!
  • This means cook all hot dogs and lunch meats until they are steaming or avoid all together
  • Cook all meat until it is well done by thermometer
  • Mind how it’s been handled, how long it’s been out of refrigeration, etc
  • Avoid pates and meat spreads
  • Cook all eggs (yolk and eggwhite) until they are firm
  • Avoid raw dough and batter

DAIRY PRODUCTS AND JUICES

  • Avoid any unpasteurized cheeses, milks, and juices
  • Check labels to confirm pasteurization, if no label (at a restaurant, potluck, family gathering without packages available)- AVOID
  • What are we worried about? Bacteria that doesn’t get killed off (and would, in the pasteurization process)
  • GUILTY CULPRITS: soft cheeses like Brie, feta, blue, etc, apple cider (especially from the local cider mill) and other fruits juices
  • Always be sure to check the label yourself

Quiz: WHAT THANKSGIVING FOODS AND DRINKS CAN YOU ENJOY?

-Turkey (cooked all the way through)- yes!

-Turkey sandwiches the next day, made from leftover baked/grilled turkey- yes!

-Cranberry sauce (pasteurized)- yes!

-Mashed potatoes- yes!

-Gravy (cooked through, not containing raw meat/juice)- yes!

-Macaroni and cheese- yes!

-Green bean casserole- yes!

-Pumpkin or sweet potato pie (with pasteurized whipped cream)- yes!

– Stuffing (made separately from the turkey)- yes!

-Rolls- yes!

-Mocktails- yes!

-Sparkling grapejuice- yes!

-Brussel sprouts, carrots, corn, relishes- yes, yes, yes, yes!!

-Stuffing (that was stuffed inside the turkey)- no!

-Smoked salmon- no!

-Questionable looking cocktail shrimp that’s been out for ‘a while’- no!

-Wine, beer, cocktails- no!

-Brie cheese that just showed up without a package- no!

So, you see how many more “yes’s” there are than “no’s?” See all the delicious foods and drinks you can have?? With a little creativity, you do not have to let your pregnancy restrictions restrict your fun!

We are thankful for you, our patients. Please remember always to consult your MD or midwife with any questions specific to you or your pregnancy. Some of the information supplied above may not apply to you or your baby. Please honor any specific instructions or restrictions you have received from your provider.

If you have any general topics or questions you would like to see addressed on this blog, please contact us here or on the facebook page!

 SZ, PA-C