One major initial question that came up for me when I was pregnant was a common one: What could I get away with ingesting and still be regarded as a person growing a healthy baby? Deli turkey? Occasional glass of wine? How many cheese cubes make you a bad mother?
After that is was probably how much weight I would gain/could gain and then how hard would it be to lose it. What do you want? I'm a product of my culture. It was hard to find out because no one really knows anything, I don't care how smart we think we are.
And of course, the Internet says different things. Doctors say different things. And different cultures say different things. And people are different. Those contradictions can be maddening, but the different cultural approaches to pregnancy can be a particularly fascinating and extra-maddening revelation for mothers-to-be, because how can it be bad for you to eat sushi when Japanese women do so throughout their pregnancy? How can it be that big a deal to have a glass of wine when French pregos drink up? How can it be so risky to eat spicy foods when some cultures' entire cuisines are built around peppers?
If you're like me and you find intense satisfaction in upending such assumptions, then you will enjoy this roundup of the different Google searches by country from pregnant women and the men associated with them (here in handy visual form). In it you learn that some aspects of pregnancy are universal, but many are totally random/cultural/hilarious.
It turns out pregnant women everywhere pretty much crave the same types of flavor experiences, even if from different foods: In the U.S., the top search is about craving ice. Following that, it's " salt, sweets, fruit and spicy food." Australian preggers wanted salt, sweets, chocolate, ice, and fruit. India preferred spicy foods first, then sweets, chocolate, salt, ice cream.
Where we differ more comes down to basically culturally driven expectations of pregnant women. Search constructs examined were "How to ______ during pregnancy" and "Can pregnant women _________?"
American ladies wanted to know can they still eat shrimp, drink wine, drink coffee, or take Tylenol. In Mexico, it's can they have coffee, sex, tea, beer, and whether it's ok or not to still wear heels. However, Canada, Australia, and Britain's ladies-with-child weren't as concerned about alcohol consumption, either because they already have a satisfactory answer or are constitutionally transcendent. British breeders most wanted to know if they could eat prawns, smoked salmon, cheesecake, mozzarella or mayo. Australia: cream cheese, prawns, bacon, sour cream, feta. Nigeria: Cold water, wine, coffee, sex, moringa, which is a plant you can eat. India: pizza, mango, banana, sex, papaya. Yes. Papaya.