Pregnancy Advice: Avoid Sex, Impure Thoughts and Meat, Says Indian Government

Pregnant women in India are being encouraged to avoid meat, eggs and impure thoughts in order to ensure the health of their baby.

A government-issued booklet called Mother and Child Care made the recommendations, as well as offering the advice that women should consider hanging some beautiful pictures in their bedroom to improve the ambience, according to the Hindustan Times.

The booklet, put together by the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, which researches traditional Indian healing practices, said "women should detach themselves from desire, anger, attachment, hatredness, and lust" during pregnancy.

"Avoid bad company and be with the good people in stable and peaceful conditions always," the booklet added.

However, experts in India have responded to the "unscientific" advice in the booklet, saying that eating meat can be beneficial during pregnancy, and that having sex is rarely a problem during pregnancy.

Suneeta Mittal, director of the obstetrics and gynaecology at Fortis Gurgaon, told the Hindustan Times that sex was unlikely to be a problem, saying "Caution is advised during the first trimester when the placenta is low-lying and for complicated pregnancies, where there is a miscarriage risk."

The minister for traditional health, Shripad Naik said that the booklet contained advice gleaned from "wisdom of centuries" and suggested that it advised only against lustful thoughts, not sex, according to The Chicago Tribune.

India has some of the world's highest rates of maternal mortality, due to malnutrition and anaemia, or iron deficiency. UNICEF data shows 174 out of every 100,000 women die in childbirth in India, compared to 14 per 100,000 in the United States.

According to the figures, India's rate has improved in the five years till 2015, when the maternal mortality rate was 205 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.