In many cultures, particularly in some Asian societies, high fat consumption in form of ghee and butter-laden foods is considered healthy during pregnancy. Is it good to have Ghee During Pregnancy? This belief stems from the fact that mother-to-be needs extra calories for the developing baby and her changing body. While some swear by the nourishing properties of ghee, others also believe that consuming extra ghee may help lubricate the insides of the vagina, making it easier for the baby to slip out during vaginal delivery. Is there any truth in these theories and is butter/ghee the magic ingredient in healthy pregnancy diet? Of course not!
While moderate amounts of unsaturated fat is needed in pregnancy for the development of placenta and baby’s eyes and brains, Ghee/Butter is high in saturated fat which in turns increases the cholesterol level in body. This is not suitable for a healthy heart and may adversely affect the maternal health if consumed regularly or in excess. The other important point to note is that the body processes ghee in the digestion system and the nutrients are finally absorbed by the blood. The smooth texture of ghee/butter never reach the reproductive organs and thus, they not capable of lubricating the insides of the body and don’t make the baby’s delivery passage smoother.
During the first trimester of pregnancy, the mother-to-be needs NO extra calories. As her pregnancy progresses she needs 300-450 extra calories each day (assuming she started with a healthy pre-conception weight and has a single fetus). These extra calories must not be consumed only in the form of high fat foods. A healthy and well balanced diet is a must for healthy pregnancy and healthy baby. Consuming one or two extra potions of any of the food products like lean meats, fish, low fat dairy products, nuts, poultry, whole grains, fruits and vegetables are a great way of consuming the extra calories while benefitting the health of both mother and baby.
Foods cooked using ghee/butter definitely appeal to the taste buds of many pregnant women and they can enjoy them as a “treat” once in a while. For regular use, moms-to-be should prefer using healthier cooking fats like olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, sesame and soya bean oil etc. Not consuming excess fat will not only result in a healthier pregnancy, it will also keep a lot of post delivery health complications at bay. After all, pregnancy is not a license to unhealthy binging.
The author is a CAPPA certified childbirth educator.
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