Sexist Indian Government Sets A Whole Wishlist For Pregnant Women

Apart from avoiding eating meat or eggs, the book stated, “Pregnant women should detach themselves from desire, anger, attachment, hatred and lust.”

India’s government wants all pregnant women to forget the things that will actually keep them health, like nutritional food, and basically turn into robots.

A booklet, titled “Mother and Child Care,” issued by the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy — a section of the government’s ministry for the promotion of traditional and alternative medicine — disregarded widely accepted medical research that pregnant women need to eat protein- and iron-rich rich food like meats and can safely engage in sexual intercourse.

“Pregnant women should detach themselves from desire, anger, attachment, hatred and lust,” read the booklet. It also claimed that expecting mothers should look at pictures of beautiful babies to “benefit the fetus” and should shun “impure thoughts.”

Minister Shripad Naik argued the book contains “wisdom accumulated over many centuries” and does not just call on women to eschew sex but all thoughts of desire and lust.

However, medical practitioners disagree.

Doctors say the “advice” is ridiculous bordering on dangerous if you consider India’s already poor maternal health record.

“The government is doling out unscientific and irrational advice, instead of ensuring that poor pregnant women get to eat a nutritious, high-protein diet,” said gynecologist Arun Gadre.

In India, malnutrition and iron deficiency are the most common causes for the high rate of maternal death. The country experienced 174 of 100,000 pregnancies resulting in the death of the mother in 2015 as compared to 14 per 100,000 in the United States, according to UNICEF.

About one-third of India’s 1.3 billion people live below the poverty line and often times women are forced to give up their meal portions for their husbands or children. Malnourished women give birth to underweight babies; an astounding 48 percent of all Indian children under the age of 5 are considered “stunted,” according to the 2015 UNICEF report.

This latest misogynistic stunt by the Indian ministry has created a furor in the medical community.

“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,” Gadre said. “This is absurd advice to be giving to pregnant women in a country like India.”



Amit Sengupta, a health care activist with the Delhi Science Forum, said coupled with the fact that many Indian women are married while still in their teens, the “advisory” booklet can cause irreversible harm.

“This kind of advice is detrimental to women’s health,” he said.

Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters 

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