Indian Pregnant women should abstain from sex, meat and bad thoughts: Ayush ministry

The Ayush ministry released these guidelines for Indian pregnant women as a part of a booklet called the Mother and Child care.

If you're a pregnant woman in India, the Ayush ministry has a couple of recommendations for you that will totally blow your mind-- don't have sex, stay away from meat and also bad company! Yes, that's right!

The Ayush ministry released these guidelines for Indian pregnant women as a part of a booklet called the Mother and Child care that has been put together by the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy (CCRYN) to promote ancient Indian healing practices.

But what has caught the media's attention is page number 14 of the booklet, which says that in order to have healthy babies and a successful pregnancy, “Pregnant women should detach themselves from desire, anger, attachment, hatredness, and lust…(sic).”

The recommendations also include having spiritual thoughts and hanging pictures of beautiful cherubic babies in your room to have a bonny baby. The booklet was released by Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik in the run-up to International Day for Yoga on June 21.

However, as expected the recommendations have received a lot of flak from all quarters especially experts and rationalists.

“The advice is unscientific. Protein-deficiency malnutrition and anemia are health concerns for pregnant women and meats are a great source of both protein and iron, which is better absorbed from animal sources than plant sources,” says Dr Malavika Sabharwal from Apollo Healthcare Group.

The ministry later issued clarifications saying that they were mere suggestions and not guidelines.

"This was just a suggestion or an advisory, it's not a prescription for pregnant women in India to not have sex, meat or be in bad company if you want to have healthy babies," said Dr. Ishwara Acharya from the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy.

Common pregnancy myths in India

The guidelines are completely appalling and being a mother of a six-year-old all I can say is that I had sex (lots of it), ate meat and had numerous arguments with my husband (blame the hormones for it) throughout my pregnancy and not only did my pregnancy turn out to be a smooth affair, I also had a super healthy baby.

The fact is that there are quite a few myths associated with pregnancy which are still followed blindly in India. It goes without saying that there is no scientific evidence that validates any of them:

  1. Eating lots of ghee during your third trimester or labour will help the baby come out faster 
  2. If you eat a lot of white food (like curd and paneer), you will have a fair child.
  3. If you have a slow foetal heart rate, it means a boy; a fast heart rate means a girl.
  4. Eating pineapple during pregnancy will bring on labour.
  5. If you look at pictures of cute, cherubic babies, your baby will look like them.
  6. Now that you're pregnant, you need to feed two mouths. So eat for two.
  7. You must refrain from having sex during pregnancy. It will hurt the baby.

It goes without saying that you should use your sound judgement before following any of the above!

Also Read: 4 traditional pregnancy and babycare myths I ignored ( and I am happy about it)

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