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MEDICAL CARE OF PREGNANT WOMEN: SENSIBLE EATING PAYS OFF

What should the pregnant mother eat?

Much has been written and spoken about this. A tremendous volume of ridiculous advice has been offered, and no doubt will continue to be offered. For some strange reason, the pregnant woman has always been the target of all kinds of well-meant advice given her by everyone who thinks that their information is "special."

Of course, as so many mothers-to-be are young, and without yardsticks with which to compare, they are vulnerable to the verbal missiles of every so-called expert in the land.

Pregnant women are a fine target for commerce, too. Not only is their own health involved, but they are responsible for that of their developing offspring. For this reason, many feel a moral obligation to seek out the very best, and cost what it may, give this to baby-to-be. So the advertising experts aim their propaganda at the unfortunate expectant mother.

Give baby this; take that; eat something else; regularly imbibe this vitamin compound, or else you are depriving your poor little baby of the ' 'best." So the story goes on and on. Every day mothers across the land are bombarded with slick advertising and dubious promotion, essentially in the name of commerce, but dished up so that it appears to be in the name of better health, life and vitality for mother and baby.

As a general rule, pregnant women would be far better off completely ignoring this barrage of "advice." It is far better to stick to simple, well-established principles as far as dietetic intake is concerned. Ignore the fad routine so often advised. Ignore the smart advertising and glossy folders from pharmaceutical houses.

Many of these firms certainly give advice, much of which is reasonable, but they are essentially out to separate you from your money.

The baby business is big business in every country in the Western world. So, read the mass of material that is thrown your way. But treat it all with a rather critical eye.

Your doctor will outline the general principles that matter. Use these as the basis for your food patterns. Don't be duped into spending a fortune on fancy products. Neither you nor your baby will measurably benefit.

In general terms, a pregnant woman will eat much the same type of food she ate before she became pregnant. It will not change much. The old notion that she ''must eat for two" is an idea of a bygone era. There is quite sufficient in her normal daily food intake to take care of herself plus the needs of her growing infant, provided she is careful and sensible in her food selection.

A person's normal food intake varies. It will depend on the country in which she lives, and the local cultural habits. It is related to her normal routine, and this in turn is related to her socio-economic standard.

When money is no object, families tend to consume more protein products, as they are usually more expensive, and perhaps more desirable. Poorer people tend to eat more carbohydrate (starchy) products.

Recently a well-known obstetrician succinctly summed it up this way: ''In affluent societies the advice should be, Buy all you can afford from the butcher, the greengrocer and the dairy, and spend only little at the confectioner's, the grocer's and the chemist's."

This is an excellent precise of what is best for the pregnant woman. It may be used as a constant guide throughout the full term of her prenatal months.

These days, there is an increasing emphasis on the value of a vegetarian dietetic routine, not only for pregnant women, but for the community in general. It is now well established that meat substitutes are perfectly safe, and quite adequate. So, women desiring to follow a vegetarian diet can certainly omit meat products. However, it is essential that this be replaced by adequate amounts of protein replacement items.

Many protein replacement foods are easy to make, and frequently involve the use of soy beans, soy products, gluten flour and the many items that are readily prepared from these, and many other bean products. These include Lima, broad, butter, navy and other bean varieties. Most nuts are high in protein values, and these include cashews, almonds, peanuts, etc.

Today, many of these items are available ready for use, and precooked in commercial form (tinned). As a flow-on from this, a wide range of "health food" products incorporating the use of most of these products is now widely available commercially. So, for those desiring this excellent form of protein intake, there is no shortage of products from which to choose.

For women not conversant with vegetarian eating and cooking, today there are plenty of recipe books which clearly set out methods of preparing nutritious and attractive meals, using these non-meat products.

 

*87/76/5*

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Discrimination Law Today 2006