New Delhi, June 14: Doctors have rubbished the advice of Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) of not having non-vegetarian food during pregnancy. They said a pregnant woman needs to have a protein-rich diet and non-vegetarian food has high protein content and is therefore recommended. A pregnant woman can have anything of her choice until and unless she is not allergic to it.

“There is no scientific basis to it. Why does ministry come up with such a thing. It is not written anywhere. Non-vegetarian food is high in protein content as compared to vegetarian food. A pregnant woman can have eggs, fish, meat, chicken,” said Dr Manju Khemani, Director, obstetrics and gynecology at Max Smart Super Specialty Hospital.

Backing Dr Khemani is Dr Radha Jain of Genesis Centre For Mother And Child Health Care who said, “A pregnant woman can have non-vegetarian food. Meat should be properly cooked. Chicken should be avoided during avian flu otherwise there is no issue.”

The diet is regularised on the basis of a patient’s  medical history or if there is any complication.

Professor Alka Kriplani, Gynaecology Department head at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, said unless there is a specific reason, a pregnant woman should continue with all activities she routinely indulges in, including sex, “unless there is a high-risk factor”.

“But there is no such thing that one should avoid meat during pregnancy. It is a good source of protein and those who consume it can continue to do so,” she said.

“Also, protein intake should be higher during pregnancy. While I’m not saying that those who are vegetarians should start consuming non-vegetarian protein, but those who usually consume it should continue to do so to fulfil their protein intake,” Dr Kriplani added.

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Even a mother said she had a lot of eggs during pregnancy. “Doctors recommend protein-rich diet. I had a lot of eggs and dals. I had chicken once a week,” said Kriti Malhotra who had a child in 2015.

AYUSH Ministry has advised pregnant women to abstain from sex, not to eat non-vegetarian food and harbour spiritual thoughts. The ministry advised that pregnant women should read life histories of great personalities, stay calm, and avoid anger or lust.

The booklet was released by Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Yesso Naik during the National Health Editors’ Conference on Yoga on June 9 in the run-up to the International Yoga Day.

“Pregnant women should detach themselves from desire, anger, attachment, hatred, and lust,” the booklet published by AYUSH Ministry-funded Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy said.

“Hang some good and beautiful pictures in bedroom, which will have an effect on the (unborn) child also… during pregnancy, women have to do self-study, should have spiritual thoughts, should read the life histories of great personalities and should keep themselves in peace,” it added.

With inputs from IANS