Experts Bust 8 Food-Related Myths Around Pregnancy

When a woman is pregnant, her friends, cousins, relatives, and well-wishers pour in one advice over another about what she must and must not eat. An expecting mother is often bombarded with so much food-related information, of which a lot is just misinformation passed from one generation to the next. 

To burst these myths and bring you facts, Slurrp spoke to Dr Deepa Dewan, senior director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Gurugram, and Dr Latha Sashi, chief nutritionist and head of the Department of Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, Fernandez Hospital, Hyderabad. Expecting women must take note and decide what is best for them and their unborn children.

Saffron Is Good For Pregnancy Diet

Dr Deepa Dewan says that it is a myth that a pregnant woman must consume saffron. “There's no evidence to suggest that it's a necessary or beneficial addition to a pregnant woman's diet,” she added. The gynaecologist clarified that excessive consumption of the ingredient can be harmful.

Papaya Can Affect Pregnancy

While Dr Deepa Dewan says that papain in papaya can induce contractions and potentially be the reason for miscarriage or preterm labour, Dr Latha Sashi suggested adding only ripe fruit to the pregnancy diet but only in moderation. She advised pregnant women to stay away from semi-ripe and unripe papayas.

Pregnant Women Must Not Consume Caffeine

Dr Latha Sashi and Dr Deepa Dewan say that if a woman consumes between 200 mg - 300 mg caffeine a day, equivalent to only two cups of coffee or tea, it is safe. Experts suggest avoiding excessive consumption during pregnancy.

Cheese Is Off-Limit For Pregnant Women

Both doctors dismissed this as a myth saying that pregnant women can consume cheese, especially pasteurised cream and cottage cheese. They advised avoiding soft cheese varieties like blue-veined cheese and mould-ripened cheese as they can contain bacteria, which can pose a risk during pregnancy.

Expecting Women Must Avoid Seafood

Dr Latha Sashi and Dr Deepa Dewan said it is safe for expecting women to eat seafood. They should avoid ones that have high mercury content, but fish like salmon, at most three times a week can add omega-3 fatty acids to the body and promote the development of the baby. However, you should avoid raw fish in dishes like sushi because it can cause foodborne illnesses.

Pregnant Women Should Not Eat Chinese Food

Dr Deepa Dewan said, “There's no blanket recommendation to avoid Chinese food during pregnancy.” Dr Latha Sashi added, “Chinese food can contain high levels of salt, sugar, and saturated fat.” Both the experts said that if the food is made in hygienic conditions without the use of MSG (monosodium glutamate), it is safe for expecting mothers and their unborn children.

Eating Dairy Products During Pregnancy Can Make The Baby Allergic

The gynaecologist said that eating dairy products during pregnancy is often encouraged by doctors because they are good sources of calcium and other essential nutrients. But if the mother is lactose-intolerant, she must explore other options after consulting with her doctor. 

Consumption Of Ghee During Pregnancy Can Relieve Pregnancy Pain

Dr Deepa Dewan said that there are no studies that prove consuming ghee during pregnancy can reduce pain during delivery. Similarly, both doctors burst the myth that eating peanuts during three trimesters can affect the unborn baby. However, if a mother is allergic to any food, she should refrain from eating it.