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
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
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
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)
Recently a well-known obstetrician succinctly summed it
up this way:
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
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
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