Monday, January 01, 2007

Farewell 2006

Y and I celebrated the end of the 2006 by spending yesterday morning at the banya. I am a walking template for everything you're not supposed to do while pregnant: sushi, sleeping on your back ... oh, I can't even remember the other "rules" I've broken. I can't stand the taste of alcohol these days so I've been keeping that rule. And I don't smoke anyway, pregnant or not.

But I decided Friday over a bowl of steaming water and Vick's that I needed a full body steam experience and luckily PNZ has a real banya ... well, a little more upscale than what I experienced in Russia (but there were plenty of Russians there as it turned out) ... and I wasn't about to let the ever scolding What to Expect, When You're Expecting scare me off. And it was fabulous. I felt better than I'd felt in 4 months after it was all done. The facilities were amazing - very high quality. They have a dry sauna and a wet sauna, cold plunge pool, tepid salt water pool and a hot tub. Y got a massage and I had a salt scrub from a very firm Russian woman. Afterwards we ate cheap but delicious sandwiches from a low-scale deli. I had an appetite for once! Though it disappeared by the evening, unfortunately.

But I'm thinking of joining and going once a week or so - a little luxury in the new year. I was trying to get my hands on the some scientific studies addressing fetal health and the use of saunas but didn't want to pay for them. But I did find some commentary on the American study finding a link between neural tube defects and the use of saunas and hot tubs that said that it was actually hot tubs that seemed to be worse. And some Finnish studies have found no link. I'm not a big fan of hot tubs and, given that the Finns have a low incidence of neural tub defects (and sauna while pregnant), I'm inclined to believe that the matter has been blown out of proportion here.

But even though I feel fairly certain that the U.S. model goes overboard in warning pregnant women off just about everything, it's hard to shake the fear that I'm doing something terrible to my unborn child every time I break a "rule". I spent the afternoon worrying I'd overheated the baby. Plus, the mentality, "better safe than sorry" seems perfectly reasonable and hard to argue with ... until you realize how many basic aspects of your life you are giving up.

Well. Enough of that! I have lots to say on pregnancy and birth in the U.S. but not now.

Tomorrow is the GMAT. I am really looking forward to it actually. I have gotten to the point where I just want it to be over and to move on with my life. I don't want to study any more.

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