Can consuming mulethi during pregnancy harm your baby? Here's the truth!
Study says a component in mulethi can impair the placenta, but experts reveal the actual truth about its consumption during pregnancy
Pregnancy is a beautiful phase in a woman’s life, but it also beings about many changes. These include priorities, lifestyle, health and even attitude. One of the most poignant changes during this time is perhaps the food habits.
Some women crave something sweet, others crave for something spicy and you may even become averse to certain tastes altogether. And if you have been craving for something as sweet as mulethi, researches say you should be vary of it.
What the study says
In a recent study conducted by international researchers including those from the University of Helsinki in Finland, reported that consuming large amounts of mulethi can be harmful for an infant.
The study that was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology was conducted over a period of 13 years and took into account the psychological responses of youths whose mothers had been exposed to either a "large amounts of mulethi" or "no mulethi at all."
The experts found that those youths whose mothers had no or little mulethi reportedly performed better. The reason is glycyrrhizin, which is a sweet-tasting constituent of mulethi. It reportedly had harmful effects on the foetus.
Just as any other herb or spice, Indians use mulethi in many ways including in chai. But what do Indian doctors and experts have to say about consuming mulethi during pregnancy?
Should you consume mulethi during pregnancy?
The Indusparent spoke to Dr Sushmita K, Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Bengaluru, who explained
"Pregnant woman may consume mulethi as an additional supplement. Usually the gynaecologists don’t recommend them to consume any homemade medications. Pregnant woman should report to her doctor if she has any complaints. She should restrict herself to medication that has been proved of not having any harmful effects on the growing foetus. In addition, she should also continue medication under medical supervision of doctor and avoid self-medication," advises Dr Sushmita.
We also spoke to Shalini Arvind, chief dietitian, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru, who explained how exactly mulethi can harm the foetus.
"The component is thought to impair the placenta. This allows stress hormones to cross over from the mother to her baby. High levels of these hormones, which are also known as glucocorticoids, are thought to affect foetal brain development and they have been linked to behavioral disorders in children," explained Arvind.
She also added, "In all stages of life, moderation is the key. One must be more careful during pregnancy. It is a common belief that a pregnant women craves for something that she is deficient of, however, this belief is not true. All that one has to remember during pregnancy is to have a balanced diet which fulfills the increased needs of certain nutrients and not to overdo on any one food item."
Arvind also recommends certain foods that expecting mums must always include in their diet.
Foods to be consumed during pregnancy
- A good intake of protein in regular diet aids in cell growth and blood production.
- Pulses like rajma, channa, sprouts, peanut, tofu, fish, lean meat, poultry, egg whites, nuts, skimmed milk and its products are all rich in proteins
- Food with carbohydrates helps to produce energy that is necessary for the body.
- Rice, ragi, wheat, barley, jowar, potatoes, cereals, fruits and vegetables are good sources of carbohydrates.
- Food rich in calcium is a must during pregnancy to aid the development of strong bones and teeth.
- It also helps in muscle contraction and proper nerve functioning.
- Ragi, milk, cheese, curd, egg, fish, green leafy vegetables, nuts, sesame, rajma and channa are rich sources of calcium.
Iron, vitamin A, C, B6, B12, Folic Acid
- Food rich in these nutrients are required for production of red blood cells, healthy skin, good eye sight, healthy nervous system and overall development of the foetus.
- Dark green leafy vegetables, Carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, tomatoes, mangoes, papaya, citrus fruits, nuts, peanuts, whole grain cereals, bananas, milk, eggs, and fish provides these nutrients.
Fibre and fluids
- Constipation is a commonly encountered by many pregnant women. The reason being, an increase in the hormone progesterone, which relaxes smooth muscles throughout the body, including the digestive tract. This means that food passes through the intestines more slowly and the problem may be compounded later in pregnancy by the pressure of growing uterus on the rectum.
- Iron supplements, particularly in high doses, can make constipation worse. To combat this, a diet consisting of fibre rich foods must be incorporated on daily basis. Examples include whole grain products, green leafy vegetables, fruits and vegetables with edible skin, sprouted legumes, dry fruit and nuts.
- One must not forget to take fluids in required quantity, lack of which also can lead to constipation.
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