In this series, we explore common pregnancy myths, where they come from and whether there’s any truth in them. While we offer the scientific answers to all these myths, we’ll also look them from a cultural perspective and offer practical tips.
Pregnancy myth: Eating ghee will help for an easy delivery
Ghee is an integral part of traditional Indian cuisine and culture. This traditional cooking fat is made from heating unsalted butter on the stove and sieving out all the milk solids or foam to produce a rich and golden oil.
When you enter into your ninth month of pregnancy, you may be advised to eat more ghee with all your food. You might even find your mother or other relatives adding it into a cup of warm milk and asking you to drink it every day.
Where it comes from
Now if you listen to nutritionists, ghee sounds like a terrible idea as it is considered a saturated fat that’s bad for health. But according to ancient Ayurvedic medicine, ghee is fantastic. It is not only considered more stable for cooking than other fats, it is also more easily digested than butter and stimulates the digestive fire in the body, and thus the metabolism.
The effects of ghee on pregnant women are not proven, but it is believed to:
- Help in brain development of the baby
- Warm and nourish the body
- Improve digestion and relieve constipation
- Induce labour by acting as a laxative
- Lubricate the vagina, helping with a smooth delivery
Should I follow this myth?
Well, there’s no harm in eating a bit of ghee with your food as everyone needs a little saturated fat in their diet. After all, who doesn’t want a smooth delivery? And while it’s not proven by science, some women do swear by it.
However, if you’re being asked to take copious amounts every day by eating it in your food and drinking it in your milk, you might want to ask if it’s too much. Just remember that in the old days, people didn’t have as many resources. They seldom got to eat meat, and butter was a source of animal protein and fat they weren’t getting otherwise.
Today, most people enjoy a diet rich in proteins and other fats, so if you think about it, they don’t need the benefits of ghee. There can be some side effects to having too much as it can cause diarrhea. Also, if you put on too much weight in terms of body fat, you may have a harder time shedding it after the birth of your child.
What if your relatives insist? Strike a compromise. Either enjoy meals cooked with ghee since they’re sure to taste delicious. Or follow a low fat diet and supplement with the ghee-milk drink to make them happy.
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