Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pregnancy and Food

No, this blog is not about what you think. Yes, many pregnant women are obsessed with food (either because they want it all the time or because they never want to see it again), but this obsession isn’t with food that you’re eating, it’s with the comparison of the size of a developing fetus and various food items.

One of the things that isn’t much different between when I was expecting Ryan and this pregnancy is that I love to look on the internet each week to see what stage the baby is at. And my favorite part is finding out how big Rutabaga is now – specifically, which food item the fetus is compared to every week. The majority of the items are fruits, but there is quite a variety of food products used, from seeds to fruits to vegetables to seafood. I’m not sure who decided that food should be the standard of comparison, but dozens of websites use the same standard. This week being week 12, I am told that Rutabaga is now the size of a lime. Last week s/he was the size of a fig. In fact, for your reading pleasure, here is the progression of fetal-food comparisons week by week, starting at 4 weeks: poppy seed, sesame seed, lentil, blueberry, kidney bean, grape, kumquat, fig, lime, shrimp, lemon, apple, avocado, turnip, bell pepper, “large heirloom tomato” (apparently just “tomato” would have been too vague), banana, carrot, spaghetti squash, mango, ear of corn, rutabaga (!!!! Really!!), English hothouse cucumber (again, “cucumber” would be too vague?), head of cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, butternut squash, head of cabbage, four navel oranges (apparently they ran out of appropriate vegetables – also, at this point they begin comparing weight rather than length), jicama, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, Crenshaw melon, stalk of Swiss chard (and we’re back to length again, for some unknown reason), leek, mini watermelon (many expectant mothers would disagree with the word “mini” by this stage), pumpkin, and finally, baby. Whew!

I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry after reading that list! The only problem is that now I can’t bring myself to eat a butternut squash or a pumpkin or a jicama without thinking, “Hey, this reminds me of an X-week-old fetus!” and then promptly losing my appetite.

But I’ll admit that it is a lot more fun to picture a tiny baby as being the size of a grape rather than the dry “3/4 inches” or the even drier “1.6 cm”. I can’t picture a length without physically spreading my fingers that distance apart and looking at them, but tell me “apple” and I know exactly how big you mean. Any woman who’s ever asked a hairdresser to take off half an inch and ended up scalped understands that everyone’s concept of a measured length is different. But a kumquat is a kumquat is a kumquat. I suppose that food items are universal enough that everyone understands them and can easily picture them.

So I’ll just have to avoid eating bananas, carrots, mangos, and Chinese cabbage for a few months. I just hope that no-one ever compares the size of my baby to the size of a bowl of ice cream!

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