By Dr. Puja Sharma, Gynaecology
The moment a woman is known to be pregnant, there is a whole list she needs to follow in terms of food what is good vs what is bad, what to eat vs what to avoid, how much to eat and so on. Almost every member in the family and friend circle would have suggestions to provide, and the woman is left completely confused. Read on to get some of this clarified.
Myth #1: Eat for two people during pregnancy: While it is definitely true that a person needs to eat more during pregnancy, it is not essential to eat for two people. The growing baby does not need a full meal. What it needs are important nutrients to develop fully including iron, calcium, folic acid, etc. The mother needs to increase her food consumption, but only by about 250 to 300 calories. There is absolutely no need to eat for two people.
Myth #2: Eating papaya can lead to miscarriage: The green or raw papaya does have latex, which has properties similar to the miscarriage-inducing drugs. They increase the amount of oxytocin and prostaglandin, which induces miscarriage. However, a fully ripe papaya eases heartburn and constipation, which are common during pregnancy.
Myth #3: Consuming saffron throughout pregnancy makes the developing baby fair-skinned: This is another myth that is deep-rooted, and the obsession with fair skin is even more deep-rooted. Most mothers would be gifted small boxes of saffron and told to add it to milk and consume, so that the baby grows up fair. This is a complete myth with no truth to it at all. The baby’s skin colour is completely determined by genetics and is not influenced by the food consumed during pregnancy.
Myth #4: Ghee during pregnancy helps in normal delivery: Ghee is believed to bring about a lot of miracles during pregnancy. Some vouch for the fact that consuming ghee aids in normal delivery and passage of the baby through the uterus. Consuming ghee also is believed to improve uterine healing post-delivery. The truth is that ghee is loaded with saturated fats and may lead to unnecessary weight gain and hence is best avoided. A small amount is definitely advisable, but it will not help in either delivery or post-partum.
Myth #5: Eating fish during pregnancy is harmful: The only reason for avoiding fish is the increased level of mercury in some of them. While fish with higher levels of mercury are to be avoided, fish with low mercury levels are okay and are in fact useful for the baby’s brain and eye development. Since this differentiation requires knowledge about fish, they are usually avoided. Talk to your nutritionist to identify what is safe and what is not.