Tuesday, October 04, 2011

If the fried chicken doesn't get you

Don't mind me. I'm just sitting here trying to get some work done (namely writing an essay for this reading I'm giving on October 20 (how did it get to be October already?/thank God it's October already, which is that much closer to my mid/late April due date) while simultaneously Googling "how likely am I to miscarry if I eat a few slices of deli meat"?
Normally, I don't even like deli meat, but there's this cafe near where I teach that makes delicious turkey-and-avocado sandwiches. I think the slightly spicy spread contains trace elements of magic pixie dust—how else to explain their irresistible splendor? As I drove toward my one-and-only fried chicken joint (the fetus made me do it!) I remembered said sandwiches and thought…Hmmm…Roasted turkey breast or barbecue beans and Oprah’s favorite fried chicken? Surprisingly, Oprah didn’t win.

The only problem: according to my O.B. and many others, pregnant ladies aren’t supposed to eat deli meat. Or raw cheese. Or, recently, cantaloupe, Or soil. Apparently listeria bacteria can make bad, bad things to happen to a fetus.

Obviously I don’t want to do anything to harm my baby-in-the-making, but at the same time, really? I can’t eat a slice of turkey?

In classic ambivalent fashion, I ate the sandwich and then began my research. So now I am full on turkey and terrified that I’ve just killed my child-in-the-making. Because apparently the news media doesn’t just hand out information like, “This is how likely you are to miscarry if you eat a turkey sandwich, and here’s how that number compares with other activities with potentially lethal consequences, such as flying in an airplane, riding in a car, studying abroad in Italy, or being an extremely wealthy international pop super-sensation.”

If your Google skills are better than mine (very likely) and you are able to put your hands on this information, I’d be much obliged. Otherwise the fried chicken is certain to be my downfall. And how sad will it be when I give birth to a perfectly healthy baby and then keel right over from a stroke?

(VERY sad, people. Very sad.)


  1. I did a quick PubMed Search, and according to this article (http://www.reference-global.com/doi/pdf/10.1515/JPM.2011.035), your risk of getting listeriosis in pregnancy is 12 in 100,000. To put that in perspective, the risk of dying in a car crash is 1 in 6,700 (http://www.hcra.harvard.edu/quiz.html). So, the risk is small, and probably not worth worrying about.

    But I say this as someone who contacted her midwife last week to ask if I should be tested for listeriosis because I ate a lot of canteloupe in my first trimester, even though I had no symptoms, so I understand the worry!

  2. Carrie--you are my hero. PubMed, indeed. (Of course, now I can't ever drive my car again...)

  3. Somehow billions of women have carried billions of fetuses for millenia and there might have been melons and turkey and soil involved. Might have been. No, there definitely was.

    Roll the dice on that sandwich baby. You know you want to.

    xoxo. JC (see you soon!)