India's government via its Ayush ministry, which promotes traditional and alternative medicine, re-released an advice booklet for pregnant women called "Mother and Child Care." It should have received commendation for the effort. After all, according to UNICEF, the country has one of the world’s highest rates of maternal mortality with 174 of every 100,000 pregnancies resulting in the mother’s death in 2015.
Unfortunately, the 16-page booklet has pieces of advice that got even us scratching our heads. We weren't surprised about the advice for pregnant women to shun meat -- the Ayush ministry advocates for vegetarian food. Besides, with proper supervision, a vegetarian diet can be safe for pregnant women as long as she gets an adequate amount of protein, among other nutrients.
And one easy source of good protein: eggs. Unfortunately, the booklet had eggs on its must-not-eat list, confounding doctors who point out that this food ban isn't helping the malnutrition problem in India.
An ABC News report quotes gynecologist Arun Gadre, who is based in the western Indian city of Pune but works in rural areas. "The government is doling out unscientific and irrational advice, instead of ensuring that poor pregnant women get to eat a nutritious, high-protein diet."
However, the no-meat-and-eggs isn't the head scratcher. It's this part of the booklet taken from a screencap made by BBC of the booklet:
"Pregnant women should detach themselves from desire, anger, attachment, hateredness [sic], and lust. Avoid bad company, and be with the good people in stable and peaceful condition always."
We can get behind the part where preggos should stay away from people who will just cause them further stress. But shun impure thoughts? Detach from lust? Do they mean no sex for pregnant women? But why?
Many women actually experience an increase in desire to have sex when they're pregnant (another perk of pregnancy, if you ask us). While doctors advise caution during the first trimester, there is no need for abstinence if a pregnancy is proceeding healthily. In fact, you can do it as many times as you want up until your water breaks!
The ministry of Ayush has defended the booklet, saying it only contained general guidelines based on the concepts of yoga and naturopathy. The diet plans are "based on clinical experience, simple naturopathy treatments and tips for remaining stress-free during pregnancy," it said in a statement.
If you want preggos to be stress free, maybe you shouldn't deprive them of something they probably want to do a lot.