It’s Like Playing Telephone….

but with health advice, and always in the same direction!

K, first pregnancy: spent time worrying because I became pregnant shortly before Lent, but didn’t know about it until afterwards.  Pretty much lived off of tuna sandwiches every Friday of that Lent, as well as eating it during the week because I was trying to lose weight and it’s cheap protein, and the baby books (and doctor) told me that I should NOT have more than a can of tuna a MONTH.  And be sure to take omega-3 pills.  (I did.  Don’t try the gummies, they’re being VERY strictly true when they say “better tasting” instead of “good tasting.”)

Kit turns out fine.

Fast-forward to now, after a Lent where I knew I was pregnant and minimized my tuna intake, avoiding all other sea food, taking my blanking omega-3s.  (Lots of grilled cheese!)

A friend of my sister’s is freaking out, because one of her friends went ballistic that sister’s friend was eating some stream caught trout at all while pregnant.  (The ballistic one seems to have been under the impression that pregnant women need to avoid fish entirely.)  I try to be reassuring and mention that I’m pretty sure the gov’t advice didn’t say that, and that I was also pretty sure it was based on older data and some shaky assumptions.

To calm them both, I go looking and find… the FDA’s advise is a bit over a can and a half of tuna.  A WEEK.  For pregnant women.  About ten times what I’d been told was my maximum.

Picture me growling, shaking my head, mildly annoyed…but one decimal point, that’s a pretty standard calibration rule of thumb for accuracy.  And the baby doctors all seem to assume that they’re dealing with people who need help to tie their shoes, or who think that “maximum daily dose” means “start with this amount.”  I learned this lesson last time, with the freaking tonic water, add fish to the list and move on….

Well, I looked around a bit more, to try to find out why I had this vague idea that they’d made bad assumptions.  And run into the little gem that the FDA guidelines are also ten times stricter than they had evidence for, to be on the safe side, assuming the worst.

I really hate the government mindset.

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One thought on “It’s Like Playing Telephone….”

  1. I found the same problem when I went looking for actual science regarding blankets causing suffocation problems for infants; the only actual data involved heavy comforters for babies who are face-down on soft mattresses (ie not the blanket's fault) but suddenly blankets are the verboten item. Grrrr.

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