The list of things women are meant to abstain from both while attempting to get pregnant and while they spend 40 grueling weeks playing host to another human is as long as your arm — and so convoluted it’s hard to keep it all straight.
Coffee, alcohol, lunch meat, sushi, cigarettes — they all go on the huge, scary list of pregnancy no-nos, sometimes disappearing or reappearing as a new study reevaluates how mothers begin screwing their children up long before they even bring them into the world. Most everyone has a dirty little pregnancy secret, whether they had one last wild weekend of drinking in Vegas before they knew they were pregnant, or just couldn’t go one more day without a little coffee jolt.
Eight women were brave enough to dish about theirs with SheKnows, and chances are, their answers won’t surprise you.
1. Laura had serious, severe morning sickness, and as a result couldn’t follow the rules too closely: “I was so sick that all ‘rules’ had to be tossed out the window,” she said. “My only rule I followed was to eat whatever would stay down. Therefore I ate an Arby’s melt and curly fries every day for three months!”
2. Rebekah got some great advice about how to stay on the straight and narrow, saying: “The best advice I got was, if you think you’re going to regret it just say no. The only regret I had was giving into a Twinkie craving once… they are not the same, y’all. My daughter did not end up with three heads.” Still, there were a few times she made a concession or two: “I had caffeine… I ate lunch meat, I had the occasional sushi roll, and I was too lazy to avoid walking in via the door by the smoking area. I never did booze, but that was more due to potential migraines than potential baby harming.”
3. Kristy had her own reasons for not wanting to break the pregnancy rules, saying, “I was really hard on myself when I was pregnant with my oldest — and I think a lot of that was because I’d had a miscarriage prior to that pregnancy — I never gave up lunch meat or soft-serve ice cream, though. With my youngest I wasn’t able to give up caffeine.”
4. Robin, an athlete, told us that “I was taking karate class not knowing I was pregnant, so straight up gut-kicking sparring until 14 weeks, After that I exercised until I was ‘out of breath’ which is a ‘no-no.'”
5. Lara really dodged a bullet, eating some potentially listeria-laced ice cream just before the Great Blue Bell Famine of 2015.
6. Jane went a more controversial route, she confessed: “Wine and weed! I’d often stay out til 4 a.m. dancing with my big old belly. I never had more than two glasses of wine but I smoked ganja up until my 34th week.” She definitely wasn’t the only one; no less than four other women also talked candidly about smoking marijuana while pregnant, but didn’t want to be named.
7. Gabriela confessed, simply: “I did it all, and you can use your imagination. No crack.”
8. Estee’s “pregnancy sins” were less about food and more about her dark sense of humor: “I called my future child ‘a parasite’ and ‘it’ even though she was totally planned and we knew she would be a girl. The nicest thing I called her was ‘tummy monkey.’ Maternal instincts didn’t kick in until long after she was born!”
We’re all human, even when we’re pregnant. Our cravings, habits, and interests don’t just disappear, despite all of the pressure to be absolutely perfect and chaste for what amounts to the better part of the year.
So if you “cheat” from occasion to occasion, and you start to feel like you’re a shoo-in for the title of World’s Worst Pregnant Person, you should know that you aren’t alone — we all slip up from time to time. And, for what it’s worth, the children of all of these women are happy, healthy and perfect, despite all of the ice cream, sushi and wine their mothers indulged in from time to time.