Eating Ghee During Pregnancy – Benefits, Risks & Myths
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Ghee is one of the main ingredients used for cooking in India. When a woman is pregnant, she is often told to consume ghee, especially by the elders of the family, as it is believed to assist vaginal delivery (though there is no scientific study to prove the same). But is it good to eat ghee during pregnancy? Read on to discover all you need to know about consuming ghee during pregnancy.
Is It Safe to Eat Ghee During Pregnancy?
It is a known fact that a balanced diet and nutrition is of utmost importance for a pregnant woman. During pregnancy, a woman also needs to consume healthy fats. Ghee is a source of fats and thus can be included in the diet of a pregnant woman. However, one should include it only after consulting with a doctor.
Benefits of Eating Ghee During Pregnancy
Ghee is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega 9 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Ghee has many health benefits but its benefits in pregnancy are not scientifically proven. However, in Indian culture ghee is believed to benefit a pregnant woman in the following ways.
- It may provide relief from constipation during pregnancy.
- It may help in the development of baby’s brain.
- It helps in improving the digestion of a woman.
- It helps nourish the baby.
- It helps ease the labour.
Homemade ghee is a better and healthier option as compared to ghee or clarified butter that is procured from the market. You may begin consuming desi ghee in the first trimester but if you are concerned that you will gain too much weight or if you are already overweight, then it is recommended to include desi ghee in your diet only after consulting with your doctor.
Is Ghee Really Necessary for Pregnant Women?
Diet plays an important role in pregnancy. It is important for an expecting mother to eat a well-balanced diet to provide good nutrition to her growing foetus. It is believed that ghee lubricates the vagina and helps in normal delivery. It is also believed that it eases labour pain and is also effective in stimulating contractions. However, these beliefs are not supported by any scientific evidence. A pregnant woman only requires 350 extra calories to cater to the nutritional needs of the growing foetus. These extra calories can be obtained by eating a good diet that may include ghee also. However, consumption of ghee in large quantities may lead to weight gain. If weight gain is a concern then you should refrain from excess consumption of ghee.
Why Consuming Ghee During Pregnancy Might Not Be Safe?
Consuming ghee in pregnancy does not have any ill effects on the health of the mother or her unborn child. You may include ghee in your diet during pregnancy as it is a healthy source of fats. However, it is important to include it in moderate amounts, as consuming it in large amounts could lead to weight gain and obesity. As physical activity also reduces in the last months of pregnancy, so if you eat more ghee in the last months of your pregnancy, it can make you and your baby gain more weight. Normal or vaginal delivery too can become difficult in case your baby gains more weight. Adding ghee to your diet may also lead to excess weight gain in case you are on a high-calorie diet. And excess weight and obesity may cause complications in your pregnancy and it may become very difficult to get rid of excess fat after childbirth.
Therefore, if you are already overweight or have concerns about gaining excess weight in your pregnancy, it is advisable to consult your doctor before including ghee in your diet.
Myths Associated With Eating Ghee While Pregnant
There are a number of myths associated with eating desi ghee during pregnancy. It is tasty and healthy, no doubt, but many people believe that drinking milk with ghee added to it can provide for extra nutrition and calories to the pregnant woman and her unborn child. It is also believed that it aids the birthing process by lubricating the vagina. Many people think that including ghee in the pregnancy diet in the ninth month helps in normal delivery. However, these are just myths so don’t add ghee in your diet just because you like the taste. If you wish to eat ghee during pregnancy, you can but only after consulting with your doctor.
Are There Any Risks and Complications?
There are no known risks or complications of consuming ghee other than the possibility of putting on extra weight (which is a consequence). A balanced diet is of utmost importance in pregnancy as it nourishes you and your baby. It is advisable that you have small frequent meals instead of having 3 big meals at a single time. Including more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet is a healthy option. If you are enjoying good health and you do not have any weight gain issues, then you may include a moderate amount of desi ghee in your diet. Ghee has been in use since ages in almost all Indian homes and it is also a good source of dietary fat.
It is recommended that you seek expert medical advice whenever you plan to make any dietary changes in pregnancy. Your doctor may recommend the best food options for you in pregnancy.