The Art of Eating & Being Pregnant
As a first time mother, I was elated to be carrying this tiny life inside me because I believe all babies are God-send miracles. I remembered the first time I went to my gynecologist appointment and was immediately given folic acid, calcium, vitamins, and iron. All these minerals are vital to the fetus’ healthy growth. They are indeed what we eat!
As much as I would love to believe I ate wholesome, healthy, good foods all the time, it is absolutely untrue. I indulged in chips, coke and fried foods until my shameful self told me to stop. Fortunately for me, I was still staying with my mother then and every single day, I would return home to a spread of good home-cooked Chinese food. This was pretty much how I loaded on a whopping 20kg throughout my pregnancy.
Dealing with the first trimester blues and feeding a baby inside you wasn't as easy as I hoped it would be (although it was much easier as compared to when they are born). In my first trimester, nothing could perk me up more than Nissin’s Tom Yum noodles did. I felt an overwhelming guilt eating them; I kept thinking about the wax and MSG I was feeding to my unborn child and how it would affect important organ developments.
Guilty feelings or not, this first-time mom needed quick relief from the nagging and persistent nausea in the evenings. Thankfully, this sinful indulgence did not last. Once I got past my first trimester, I started to dislike processed food and preferred eating more wholesome food.
Many women suffered morning sickness but I was quite fortunate. My appetite wasn't too bad during the first trimester. What I did experience, however, ranged from moments of swearing to God that I will never get pregnant again to very unbecoming moments of me avalanching my char kway teow lunch into the toilet bowl. Ewww. Not a pretty sight at all. But at the same time, I did realise how strong an organ the stomach was, being able to projectile the vomit with so much gusto and speed.
In my second trimester, seafood was the order of the day. Give me seafood anytime. That's when my husband and I spent a lot of money at Jumbo Seafood. Apart from the copious amounts we shelled out (pun intended), I treasured the memories from those times when I could stuff myself silly without a hint of much-dreaded nausea. The food would sit beautifully in my stomach, all settled and content.
Though I craved seafood all the way into my third trimester, I knew better than to eat too much of it. Old folks back home said not to eat crab because it might lead to babies being overactive when born, which I didn't believe in of course. But I suppose there's some merit behind the wisdom since my son is quite a runner now.
There was some research suggesting that the higher mercury content in crab may potentially be hazardous to the fetus, so I kept off that in the third trimester as much as I could. It wasn't too difficult because I had a great time being distracted by durians and coconut drinks. Again, some old wives tale suggests that coconuts will keep the baby's skin fair and soft. Totally untrue. My boy came out beautifully tanned, just like his dad.
Some foods were an obvious no-no but most really depended on my appetite that day. Generally, oily foods are more likely to give you an upset stomach as compared to cleaner, lighter foods. Food that is unclean is highly likely to be ejected from your digestive system in the most vulgar manner. Throughout my pregnancy, I had the highest instances of severe stomach aches. I believe it's the body's way of ejecting any harmful food that may, in turn, harm the baby.
The worst episode happened in my first trimester. I drank a can of chrysanthemum tea and within half an hour, I was puking uncontrollably in public - I couldn't even hold it in till I reached the washroom! Even after several purging, the acute abdominal pain did not subside. I still remember the pain abating while I laid on the sofa, drifting off into a sweet slumber, only to be jolted by an avalanche of pain. I kept wondering if this would be the end of my pregnancy and my little baby.
Pregnant mothers need to very careful about what they eat. If you doubt the hygiene of the food, stay off it completely. The stomach is a lot more sensitive now, so do not take the risk. Stay off alcohol as well, no matter the craving.
It's true when research suggests that a pregnant woman's senses are heightened during the pregnancy. Sometimes before I could even put food in my mouth, my stomach would sense it and would have given its tacit approval or disapproval. It's as if I have subconsciously eaten the food and predicted the outcome of whether it's tasty or nasty. Even foods I previously loved became a huge turn off while I was pregnant. It's rather remarkable .
I was worried about how this pregnancy would affect my choices of food in the future. Am I going to hate fishball noodles forever? Would I ever be able to eat char kway teow again? Fortunately, all positive or negative feelings towards food were somehow completely erased now that my son is 1 year old.
However, I'm sure I'll remember it vividly if and when I get pregnant a second time, and the cycle of nausea, food cravings, and hating on myself for getting pregnant starts all over again.