Life & Style

Govt to would-be mothers: Avoid sex, meat, look at beautiful pics

June 14, 2017 07:33 PM

Chandigarh: Avoid meat, fish and eggs, hang beautiful photographs in the bedroom, and “detach from desire and lust”— that’s the Ayush ministry’s advice to pregnant women.

Practitioners of allopathic medicine said the advice was dubious. “There is no restriction on non-vegetarian food during pregnancy. We advise patients to avoid mutton to avoid gaining weight, but there is no problem with chicken, eggs and fish,” said Mala Srivastava, senior consultant gynaecologist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi.


A booklet prepared by the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, which comes under the ministry, offers guidelines that has left many incredulous. 

Ayush is an acronym for ayurveda, unani, siddha and homoeopathy, and the ministry administers the country’s alternative systems of medicine. The booklet also advises pregnant women to eat a sattvic diet (deemed calming on the body and mind), read books about great people, and think spiritual thoughts.

“Hang some good and beautiful pictures in the bedroom, which will give effect on the child also (sic),” says the booklet, printed in February 2017.

Shripad Yasso Naik, Minister for Ayush, released it last week ahead of International Yoga Day on June 21.

Practitioners of allopathic medicine said the advice was dubious. “There is no restriction on non-vegetarian food during pregnancy. We advise patients to avoid mutton to avoid gaining weight, but there is no problem with chicken, eggs and fish,” said Mala Srivastava, senior consultant gynaecologist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi.

“There are no dietary restrictions for pregnancy. Expectant mothers can eat whatever suits their culture,” said Narayanan Palaniappan, professor of obstetrics at Sri Ramachandra Medical University, Chennai.

Pregnant mothers should be not be told to suppress their sexual desire either, said Palaniappan, who also serves as chairman of the safe motherhood committee of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India.

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