4 July 2016, by Siau Jiahui

To Eat Or Not To Eat

After confirming my pregnancy, it was time to get into pregnancy mode!

The first thing I did was to google “Dos and Don’ts of a Pregnant Woman”.

  • No smoking. Checked. (Well, I’ve never smoked all my life.)
  • No drinking. Checked. (Well, I haven’t touched even a teeny weeny bit of alcohol in the last two years.)

A self-proclaimed health freak (compared to my other friends who have a lot of unhealthy indulgences), I deeply believe that I won’t have much adjusting to do during pregnancy… But wait… *scrolls down to the bottom of the list* there are so many things that I can’t eat?!

After talking to my mum who have had three wonderful and healthy children, I’ve struck (almost) all the “cooling” food off my list! First of all, no pineapples and watermelons. And according to the information online, papaya shouldn’t be consumed too, especially in the first trimester, because it increases the risk of a miscarriage. Of course, it’s up to an individual to deem such information as myths or facts, but being a first-time mum-to-be with no certified medical knowledge, 我真的是宁可信其有。It doesn’t hurt to eat less. 小心为妙!

But how about cravings? What if I crave for some other kinds of (non-cooling) food?

“As long as it’s not too凉,just eat whatever you feel like having! You are the queen! Just succumb to it (in moderate amounts)!”

Nope, that wasn’t the devil speaking. That was what some of my friends advised. Which made sense to a gluttonous me. *wide grin*

Eating whatever I want!

Eating whatever I want!

Only that I neglected the portion about “M-O-D-E-R-A-T-E”.

After elevating myself to a “queen” status, I have completely lost the sense of moderation and balance.

Because I have a naturally “heaty” body system, I’ve refrained from deep fried food for a long long time~~

But I didn’t know what overcame me during a family gathering in the beginning of my second trimester, I fed myself with fried beehoon, fishballs, nuggets, satays, and something that I had not eaten in the last decade – chicken wings! Not only that, I ate not one or two, but FIVE deep-fried chicken wings!

I DEEPLY REGRETTED IT.

What followed was intense throat pain, fever, cold and cough. I had no choice but to visit my family doctor for antibiotics, anti-inflammation pills, paracetamol, and whatever medicine that would cure me of the illness.

But just when I thought I was slowly getting better after several weeks of discomfort, I was down again with acid reflux. The acid was burning my throat so much that I couldn’t talk or work without any pain. This only meant consuming MORE medicine if I wanted to get well soon and work in my optimal state.

Guilt, helplessness, and depression engulfed me.

Firstly, I had been consuming different types of medicine for weeks. When could I get well? Secondly, I did not want to consume so much medicine. What if it affected the foetus? Thirdly, I had lost substantial weight that I weighed even lighter than during my wedding period. What if the foetus did not get enough nutrition? Fourthly, I wanted to recover as soon as possible. What would my management think of me if my work performance was indeed affected?

I blamed myself for falling ill.

And cried several times because I felt so awful emotionally and physically.

Medicine – to eat or not to eat?

I wasn’t even sure if I should allow myself to be haunted by this question relentlessly…

It took me almost a month to recover, and never did I think that I would fall ill again in the subsequent month.

Depressed once again, I headed to a general practitioner and the gynaecologist, who comforted me that the immunity level in pregnant women was bound to be lower, and what I should do was to be positive and keep my spirits high.

And so, for the question whether medicine could or should be consumed during pregnancy, what I have learnt was that firstly, do not self-medicate (which I never did), and secondly, there are several categories of medicine – namely 1) medicine which are unsafe for pregnant women, 2) medicine which are generally safe for pregnant women, and 3) medicine which are very safe for pregnant women.

Some general practitioners prescribe the second category of medicine for pregnant ladies, which are already generally safe. However, to be on the safe side, it is always better to opt for the third category because these are the types of medicine that have been used for decades, and have not be known to cause any adverse effects on the foetus.

Given a choice, who would like to fall ill, much less a pregnant woman? It definitely was unsettling for a mum-to-be to be overwhelmed by so much negative emotions.

After the experience, I’ve learnt to suppress the cravings. Succumb even though I’m the queen? No way man! And no more chicken wings for the rest of my life!

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