Just before going to France I did some research into the recommended guidelines for pregnant French women: I was curious to find out if their rules were more relaxed regarding their beloved Camembert and wine, not to mention cigarettes.
I came across a fascinating article in The Guardian – actually, the most interesting part is the comments below the piece itself. It is dated 2008 which means the advice has probably changed somewhat since then, but nonetheless, I picked up such gems as the following:
– Italian doctors apparently encourage red wine and moderate smoking.
– The Japanese are advised to eat sushi and raw eggs while avoiding carbs.
And most worryingly:
– The Portuguese Health Ministry recommends avoiding sweets and cakes.
Unhelpfully, the more up to date NHS page informed me that the Department of Health does not advise pregnant women on what to eat if they go abroad.
Boringly, the only guidelines I could find for French women were pretty much the same as ours – limited alcohol, caffeine and smoking as well as all the usual food no-nos. I therefore embarked on the Eurostar reasonably confident that I wouldn’t be mocked for asking about unpasteurised cheese, or requesting a decaf. In the event I only had one experience where the waiter didn’t seem to know what I was talking about.
To round off my investigation into international guidelines for pregnant women I asked my Italian friend Larisa what she had been advised. She sent me this link which outlines what women are recommended to do in Italy: alas, no encouragement of Parma ham!
The only thing that jumped out at me was the advice to avoid artificially sweetened drinks, specifically those containing aspartame. Now what the hell is that when it’s at home, and more crucially, have I been ingesting it via copious amounts of Orangina while in Paris?
La delicious Orangina
I don’t want to know.