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When You're Pregnant, Everyone Is Suddenly an 'Expert' on Your Health

When You're Pregnant, Everyone Is Suddenly an 'Expert' on Your Health
From TIME - October 19, 2017

For 30-odd weeks, my barista and I have had roughly the same routine. I order my morning coffee and he pretends he has not heard me, filling in the blank with a joke. "Mocha double-shot no-fat soy latte?" I laugh every time. I like the line. I like that we can agree that that's a terrible coffee order. And I like these small moments that can make life in a big city feel a little more intimate. Only this time, he leaves me hanging.

"You are allowed to have espresso?"

He's looking at my belly, which, at 7 months pregnant, is well outside of the "Is she or is not she?" arena that tends to make people nervous. Allowed?

I start babbling. "Oh, that's not really true anymore, the thing about coffee. When you are this far along, and even earlier too, the studies say it's ..." I trail off, grab my drink, smile apologetically and then kick myself for smiling apologetically.

When you are pregnant in public, you learn quickly that everyone's an expert. They are an expert about what you put in your body--coffee, cabernet, smoked turkey, stinky cheese. They are an expert about how much weight you ought to gain, and how if you are not careful, you will give yourself diabetes and have to get a C-section. They even have strong feelings about your footwear. It does not matter how old you are, or how well-informed: at 38, I am of what doctors like to call "advanced maternal age," and because of my vocation as a health editor and my pastime as a science nerd, I read scientific studies for sport.

But none of that matters. People, well-meaning though they may be, are going to tell you what they think is best, not for you so much, but for your fetus. And even when you know they are wrong--and trust me, they are almost always wrong--it wo not matter: you are going to feel bad about it.

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