Thankfully, Jeremy Hunt hasn’t been delivering pearls of wisdom to the women of Britain. Yet. Pregnant ladies in India, however, are receiving some incredibly dubious advice from the government on certain foods – and even thoughts – to avoid while they are expecting.
The controversial advice, which has been criticised by doctors, was given out to mums-to-be in a pamphlet called ‘Mother And Child Care’, which was created by the Central Council For Research In Yoga And Naturopathy.
Inside, the Council not only recommends that women avoid high-protein foods like meat and eggs, but also that they stop thinking about sex for the time being, too.
“Pregnant women should detach themselves from desire, anger, attachment, hatred and lust,” it reads.
Instead, women should avert their eyes to images of babies in order to oddly charm the foetus into eventually being one. Not weird at all.
Of course, as physicians have already pointed out, there is absolutely no evidence that sex, and certainly not thoughts of sex, are harmful to an unborn foetus.
The advice is made even worse when we consider India’s maternal mortality rates, which are particularly high due to malnutrition and anaemia. Eating eggs and meat, in these incidents, could be essential. Although its worth noting the rich-poor divide that leaves millions of women below the poverty line and unable to afford the luxury of the food items the government is asking them to avoid anyway.
“The government is doling out unscientific and irrational advice, instead of ensuring that poor pregnant women get to eat a nutritious, high-protein diet,” Indian gynaecologist Arun Gadre said of the government’s new pamphlet in an interview with the Guardian.
“This is a national shame. If the calories of expectant mothers are further reduced by asking them to shun meat and eggs, this situation will only worsen.
“This is absurd advice to be giving to pregnant women in a country like India.”
The pamphlet has further been criticised for being overtly religious in tone, rather than medical, and has been linked to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for national vegetarianism in line with his Hindu beliefs.
“The booklet puts together relevant facts culled out from clinical practice in the fields of yoga and naturopathy,” Modi responded.