All tradition and all restrictions

25 Nov

Recently I spoke to some friends who have children, and something which I realized was that there are so many restrictions on a new mom by elders, and when we do not know what is right or not, you just follow them blindly. But, on speaking to people from different parts of India, the thing which I realized was that every place has its own list of restricted items, and this is based on the staple diet of that place.

Some of the restrictions and allowances which I found out are:


1. No lentil varieties ( Lentil is bound to give a bout of colic to the baby)

2. Preference for rice over wheat ( Heavier and better for lactation)

3. Mother expected to have asafoetida in sufficient quantities (Relieves Colic)

4. No curd (Cold foods not allowed)

5. Very less oil, nothing fried ( Baby will upset stomach)

6. Garlic and important part of diet for mother ( Increases lactation and prevents colic)

7. Fish is to be had in plenty, for great calcium and iodine.

8. Meat is to restricted.


1. No rice ( Rice is said to be a cold item, and hence will not suit the kid)

2. No spices ( Baby will upset stomach )

3. Less quantities of oil ( Baby will upset stomach )

4. Poppy seeds cooked in milk ( Will increase lactation)


1. No spices (Baby will upset stomach)

2. No curd ( Cold foods not allowed)

3. Lentils allowed

4. No wheat, only rice and rice preparations.


So what I realized was that, apart from a few specific restrictions, the diet as I see it is mostly what the mother should ideally be used to prior to delivery. So, now the question comes, when the mother has her own diet which is different from this, and then this specific diet is enforced, is that needed and does it work? I think its is best to avoid oil and spices, but apart from that the rest I am not sure if it has any real medical sense to it. It seems more like a midwife tale which is followed and like I said its more like sticking to the same diet what you were at prior to delivery even after.

Are you aware of any other such restrictions?

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2 Responses to “All tradition and all restrictions”

  1. Nandini's Niche March 13, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    I am quite certain these are old wives’ tales and nothing more. There is after all an enormous control group: the rest of the world! They don’t eat much rice in France. Ethiopians eat loads of lentils. Pregnant Inuit would surely starve if they were banned from meat and oil and cold food. Don’t they have healthy babies?

    There are very few foods proven dangerous for pregnant women – and they are mostly drugs when consumed regularly in moderate-to-large doses. These restrictions make no sense and in fact sound harmful. I shudder to think of vegetarian Indians cutting out their only significant protein source during pregnancy of all times!

    For both my pregnancies, I ate my same old diet. Well except for a LOT more Hajmola which was the only remedy for my nausea :D. No 5 kilos of ghee packed into sugar-laden laddus, no giving up potatoes and eggplant like my mom wanted me to, no “taking lots of rest” either. I went trekking when I was 7 months pregnant (difficult, but worth it!) And when I went into labor, the first thing I did was scrub both my bathtubs. Then I walked up and down the stairs for an hour. I just wanted to speed up the labor because I was afraid the contractions would just die out LOL!

    If I had listened to my parents and inlaws, I would have been fat and unhealthy and BORED all through pregnancy. Don’t listen to your elders – listen to your doctor and your own research.

    • JustAgirl March 30, 2012 at 7:19 am #

      Completely agree. Eat what you think is right, and a healthy balanced diet is the most important factor to be taken care of.

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