I think its obviously important to be careful when pregnant but I strongly object to what I see as the infantilizing of pregnant women in our culture.
These lists of forbidden foods are exactly the sort of thing that get my blood boiling because in most cases they are presented as commandments without the benefit of explanations that would permit women to make informed decisions. The assumption seems to be that women are incapable of discretion or moderation so better to just forbid everything.
There has been some (contradictory and difficult to determine) evidence that women who drink over 300mg of caffeine a day have an increased risk of miscarriage or small babies. However this could be due in part or full to other factors. Like a stressful lifestyle that depends on high levels of caffeine to function. Or the observed correlation between women with more morning sickness seeming to have fewer miscarriages overall. It could be that those with morning sickness can't stomach coffee and so drink less of it, giving the impression that the lower caffeine is protective when actually its a side effect of the nausea. Because it would be unethical to assign some women to drink 5 cups of coffee a day while others must abstain, there is no way to get a definitive answer. But it does appear reasonable and moderate to suggest that if a single cup of coffee in the morning gives you pleasure there is no good reason to deny yourself.
Soft cheese is only forbidden when unpasteurized and all cheese in US supermarkets is pasteurized or aged over 60 days, so you're cool there. Farmer's markets might sell cheese from unpasteurized milk, technically it would be illegal cheese (beware the dangerous cheese pushers, lurking in every sunny park) so you would need to ask.
I honestly believe that the culture of anxiety that surrounds pregnancy and childbirth in this country is far more damaging to the majority of women than a little brie or a nice cheerful cup of coffee in the morning. Not to mention the constant self policing and deprivation that amounts to a crash course in maternal martyrdom. It's not good for us or our babies.
You want to protect your baby, wear your seatbelt. Its the most important thing you can do every day to keep yourself safe.
I know I get kind of ranty on this one, sorry
. My first pregnancy I was overwhelmed by all the RULES and it freaked me out. I finally realized that being freaked out was way worse for my health than coffee, or even, dare I say it, sushi. I felt much better afterward.
This time around I'm relaxing and I'm already doing better. No cold sores, no acne, no nosebleeds, no sleepless nights (saving up for those later). Anxiety has dangerous side effects all on its own and shouldn't be ignored when questions of how much we SHOULD be doing are discussed.