The advice and concern evoked from others when you are pregnant is always interesting. But I think being pregnant away from the country you grew up in makes it all the more fun!
I've gotten in trouble with students, friends, and other teachers for everything from bending over to pick up a dropped pencil, to moving a small classroom desk, to standing instead of taking a seat offered to me, and more. The most interesting lately though has been the concern over what I drink/don't drink.
Eric and I were with a group of 6 other Brasilians the other day at a gathering we were invited to. Not knowing what all would be available to drink and knowing that it would be a several hour affair, I took two large water bottles with a Crystal Light type of drink that I had mixed up. I usually just drink water at home, but water has to be ice cold for me to drink it. I do much better consuming liquids I carry with me if it has some sort of flavor.
Throughout the day I was repeatedly offered beer and wine and each time I declined the offer (mind you now that everyone here knows I prego.) Several times someone would go to grab the beer sitting somewhere in my vicinity, but first check to make sure it wasn't mine therefore ensuring that it was indeed their glass.
A little later on, they made some coffee. I was offered a cup and politely declined. The hostess then asked if I liked coffee or not. I told her that I enjoy coffee, but now that I was pregnant I had stopped drinking it. She gave me the most dumbfounded look and asked what pregnancy had to do with it. I mentioned that I had tried to cut out all the caffeine from what I drink, since there is some caffeine in plenty of the foods that I occasionally consume, like chocolate. She was still confused and asked everyone else there if they had ever heard of a pregnant woman not drinking coffee. Everyone agreed that was the strangest thing they had ever heard and then requested an explanation as to why I would want to cut out caffeine. As I explained that caffeine increases your heart rate and sometimes your blood pressure and would have the same effect on an unborn baby, everyone just looked at me like I was crazy and said that it must be an 'American thing'.
A bit later someone inquired into what I was drinking from my water bottle. Eric fielded that question for me and as he explained what it was everyone freaked out and couldn't believe that I was drinking "chemical water" while pregnant. And a lecture on how I should only drink natural stuff followed. These were the same people that had offered me Coca-Cola and Guaraná all day (not exactly all-natural, you know?), and not to mention the beer and wine (which I guess is natural, but still, um, alcohol!)
More than anything, it made Eric and I giggle that they called it "chemical water". And despite all the conversation being in Portuguese, they actually used the English term "chemical water". I thought it was the strangest thing. But then as I was teaching an English class to one of my individual students, I pulled a bottle of H2OH! out of my bag and took a sip. My student, a guy probably in his upper 40's, totally freaked out and asked what I was doing drinking "chemical water" while pregnant. Common terminology, apparently.
With the controversy I've read about the safety of saccharin, and especially the fact that it crosses the placenta and collects in fetal tissue, I do avoid it like the plague - which is hard sometimes in Brasil since that is generally the sweetener of choice. I'll admit though that I occasionally have something with aspartame in it. But apparently I need to take my "chemical water" habit underground before I really start showing or else I risk giving all the Brasilians I encounter on a daily basis heart attacks!