Friday, May 27, 2011

Flying in the Face of the APA

I've officially decided to do something that flies in the face of an American Pregnancy Association recommendation.

I'm going to eat cold cuts and deli meat.  And I'm not going to heat them all until steaming first.

Right now, the majority of you are having one of two reactions:

1. Most of you are saying, "Uhhhh, what's wrong with cold cuts and deli meat?"
2. A few of you are thinking, "Ohhh, but there could be bacteria, and that could be bad for the baby!"

It's not that widely known (you'd be amazed by how many blank stares I've gotten when turning down cold-cuts in the past few months!), but yes folks, pregnant women are advised by the APA to avoid eating deli meat (any cold meat that hasn't recently been heated to at least a "steaming" temperature).  The theory is that there is a slightly higher chance of food poisoning with meat that's stored and eaten cold, and if that food poisoning were caused by listeria, it might also cross the placenta and make the baby sick (sometimes dangerously so).

Is it that listeria infection is rampantly common?  Nope.  About 2,500 Americans get it a year, which is 0.0008027371616142571% of the population.  Then, is it because pregnant women are more susceptible to listeria?  A little bit, due to weakened immune systems.  27% (about 6750 people) of those 25,00 Americans who get listeriosis each year are pregnant and, since there are about 6 million pregnancies a year in the States (and just assuming that means roughly 6 million women are pregnant a year), then about 0.11249999999999999% of all pregnant American women get listeriosis.  I know that looks like a big number with all those digits, but it's actually tiny.  It would round to 0.1%.

Holy crap, I did math!!!  And I'm reasonably sure I did it correctly!

Anyway, my point is that there's a pretty slim chance of contracting listeria, and then it might not even cross the placenta to my baby.

But during the work week, what have the chances been that I would forget or neglect to pack a lunch and end up buying fast food which raises my blood sugar way out of the pregnancy target range?  I'd say those fast-food high numbers have been happening about 80% of the time, lately.  I've tried a dozen different methods to get myself to pack a reasonable lunch, and I beat myself up over every high number, but to no avail.

But before pregnancy, and before my resulting (self-imposed) deli meat ban?  I'd say I made my lunch about 75% of the time, which generally meant throwing simple, pre-made foods into my little lunch cooler with a baggie of veggies and/or fruit.  There were always some sort of deli meats in there, often as part of one of those little lunch combos I call "lunchables for grownups."

So I've made the decision based on the statistics around a possible danger for my baby vs. a verified, daily danger for my baby.  My OB harps on about my blood sugars at every single appointment, but she has never once, either in person or on the dos-and-don'ts list I was given, said that I shouldn't eat deli meat.  No, not all OBs are as concerned about listeria as the APA.  My OB is pretty chill about "restrictions" in general.  Tylenol in indicated doses, up to two servings of caffeine a day, up to two servings of nutrisweet a day, hair dying is allowed in a well-ventilated area, etc.  And what she always emphasises with me is: good blood sugar levels, above all else!

If throwing a lunchable-for-grownups in my lunch bag every day keeps me away from Sonic and therefore keeps my blood sugar down, so be it.

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