A little rant I've been saving up--can we talk about the pregnancy food and drug "rules"?
Here's the deal, I do actually trust my midwives--I really, really do--but they've also been very clear from the get go that they are not all-knowing gods, and I should feel free to educate myself and come to them with questions. And the more you read about taking medication during pregnancy, the more I feel like no one has a clue.
Just so you know where I'm coming from, I haven't been a martyr for the past seven months. Although I did abstain for the first trimester, I have indulged in the very occasional glass of wine since then. I've also eaten sushi, lunch meat, soft cheeses, undercooked eggs, coffee...oh, and, yes, we're still drinking raw milk.
I've done these things, not because I'm a weak-willed ninny who can't stand to go nine months without a drink and will probably dangle my baby over balconies and let him ride in open truck beds, but because I've looked at the risks and I find them unconvincing. In short, a McDonald's cheeseburger scares me more than the immaculately prepared sushi at our local sushi spot. Driving to work on the interstate every morning is riskier than the pristine milk coming from our favorite local farmer. I make no judgements on people who view those risks differently, but that's been my conclusion for myself.
But the medication thing has been a hang up. As the pregnancy books will tell you, the FDA rates drugs (for pregnancy purposes) on a scale of A, B, C, D, or X. A is more or less safe, D and X are bad-bad-no-nos, B and C are the fuzzy area.
For B: "Either animal-reproduction studies have not demonstrated a fetal risk but there are no controlled studies in pregnant women, or animal-reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect (other than a decrease in fertility) that was not confirmed in controlled studies in women in the first trimester (and there is no evidence of a risk in later trimesters)."
For C: "Either studies in animals have revealed adverse effects on the fetus (teratogenic or embryocidal or other) and there are no controlled studies in women, or studies in women and animals are not available. Drugs should be given only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus."
To paraphrase, this might be OK...or it might not. We really just don't know!
I understand the difficulty testing this stuff--no pregnant woman wants her child to be a guinea pig--but it makes it hard to decide what to take drugs for and what to suffer through. The Zyrtec I take for allergies (a B)? Is OK...as far as we know. The Sudafed I'm currently on for this monster head cold (a C)? Dicier, but (after consultation with the midwives) probably better for the baby than me being miserable for days on end, or letting things go and ending up really, really sick.
But even the darned Sudafed is not helping me sleep much, which--scientifically provable or not--I'm willing to bet is the real cause of my ranty-ness.