Common Food Myths During Pregnancy

Hey y'all. So this post is just on some misconceptions some people have concerning foods that shouldn't be eaten during pregnancy. I hope you have an interesting read. It's a bit long, but it's worth the read.

Hey everyone! So today, I’m writing about some myths common among most people on certain foods a pregnant woman should desist from eating. Well, I got the idea to work on this from The Holy Spirit during the period of my Industrial Training in a hospital. I had the opportunity to work at the antenatal part of the hospital, where we usually give health talks, answer their questions, and clarify their doubts. So, a particular lady asked a question after the health talk, and she said her friend told her drinking cold water would affect the baby’s skin, something like that, but she loves drinking cold water. She was asking what she would do in this case. First of all, lol. Seriously! I’m not laughing at the lady for asking her question. In fact, I encourage them to ask questions concerning whatever might be bothering them. And if I can’t answer it, I’d relay it to my seniors. But you have to admit, it was hilarious, lol. This also made me see the need to educate women, and even men (yes, men. After all, they are husbands and fathers to be) on some common misconceptions and ideas that are wrong and could actually affect the mother and even the child’s health in some cases. Yes, I’ll let you know how very soon.

A myth, according to Wiktionary, is a commonly held but false belief, a common misconception. I love the first definition of it being a “commonly- held but false belief.” A myth is a school of thought, permit me to say, that is held by most people is wrong. Now, I know due to religious beliefs, most people don’t eat certain things. But this case is different. They have a false view of certain foods for some weird but funny reasons. So, without much ado, get your popcorn, and let’s get to it! Lol.

1. Snails: yes! If you’re a Nigerian, I’m sure you’ve heard most people say it’s wrong for a pregnant woman to eat snails because the child, in turn, would be sluggish and salivate a lot. I just can’t! Lol. Snails are delicious and super nutritious. If you’ve eaten it inside Banga soup, vegetable soup, or as finger food, i.e., peppered snail, you know what I’m saying. Some benefits of snails include; they have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities, they have anti-cancer capabilities, strengthened immune system. An average snail is composed of 80% water, 15% protein, and 2.4 percent fat. They are high in vitamins E, A, K, and B12 and vital fatty acids, calcium, iron, Selenium, and magnesium; they contain the ideal form of protein, are effective against certain forms of cancer and cough, improve blood count, low level of cholesterol, etc. The benefits are numerous; I think I’ll need to take time out to write an article on snails. So please, mothers, eat snails if you can.

2. Milk and eggs: most people believe if a pregnant woman consumes eggs or milk, wait for it, the child will be a thief! A THIEF!!! LOL! They feel since eggs and milk are very tasty, the child will want to eat more of them when he/she is born, and that will make them steal. I can’t even deal right now, lol. Please, dear mothers, be, as much as possible, eat eggs, and take enough milk in your tea, pap, cereals, oats, etc. I didn’t mention coffee because you’re not supposed to consume anything containing caffeine. It’s harmful to your unborn baby. If you must, add enough milk and don’t take it frequently. I’m sorry for deviating, but that was necessary. Eggs are powerhouses of protein; they are very good for brain development. It also contains numerous vitamins and minerals. Milk, on the hand, is also a very good source of protein and calcium, the calcium of which is very good for the development of bones and teeth. So, consume enough milk, and if you’re like me that like to lick milk, lick it o, lol. But be careful not to consume too much, not just milk but anything containing fat and sugar, as it could also lead to obesity not just for you but your child as well, exposing you both to other health conditions. So, moderation!

3. Grasscutter: so I found out that some places in the Eastern part of Nigeria believe that if a pregnant woman eats grasscutter, it could result in difficult and prolonged labor. People of GOD, it’s not true. Grasscutter actually has some amazing benefits. It has low fat and cholesterol and is proteinous; it is also a source of various minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, etc., compared to other types of meat such as beef, Chevron, etc. It’s also recommended by The Heart Foundation as its alternative meat for people with heart conditions. This is because it’s ‘white meat,’ which is actually referred to as lean meat, i.e., it has less fat. For example, chicken and turkey. So eat o, it’s a good source of protein. But please, cook it properly.

Fun fact: do you know that the grass cutter is also known as the cane rat?

4. Crabs: in China, I found out most people believe that if a pregnant woman eats crab, it could make the child mischievous, and also, the child would develop eleven fingers. Well, that’s not true, obviously. Eating crabs actually improve heart health. The omega-3 fatty acids in crabs provide many benefits related to heart health. These important nutrients may help lower triglycerides, reduce blood clotting, and make it less likely that you’ll develop an irregular heartbeat. It also contains vitamin B12, folate, iron, niacin, selenium, zinc, calcium, iodine, etc. So enjoy your meals with crabs. I personally love it in okra soup with other sea foods. Having 11 fingers is due to some genetic malfunction and not eating crabs. So eat on mama; your baby won’t have 11 fingers, lol.

5. Meat: yep, meat! Lol. Most proteinous foods are on this list. I mean, where on Earth is the mother going to get protein from, only legumes (e.g., beans)? I’m surprised that I’ve not come across anyone saying eating beans might make the child fart uncontrollably after birth, lol. This might actually be one of the causes of malnutrition amongst pregnant women leading to the delivery of underweight children, which end up being severely malnourished. In Tanzania, it’s believed that if a pregnant woman consumes meat, the unborn child will have the characteristics of the animal consumed. I can’t even, lol. Okay, I’m not about to tell you the importance of eating meat, well, proteins, as a pregnant woman. That’s an assignment for you, in case you don’t know. But I doubt it.

Fun fact: do you know we have first-class and second-class protein? First-class proteins are obtained from animal sources, while second-class proteins are plant-based. First-class protein has all the essential amino acids, but second-class protein might lack one, two, or more amino acids.

6. Eating light-colored foods will give the baby fair skin: first, ha! Seriously, how they come up with such ideas is surprising. Even if you eat only boiled eggs or any other light-colored food throughout the period of your pregnancy, if it’s in your baby’s genetic makeup, they’re still gonna have dark skin. I don’t know why most people are fussing over their skin color; for crying out loud, the color of your skin doesn’t determine who you are or aren’t. All shades are beautiful. So please, don’t let your confidence or self-love be based on the color of your skin; you’re worth so much more.

Fun fact: do you know that the pigment responsible for our skin color is known as melanin?

The more melanin you have, the darker your skin color and vice versa. Melanin also protects our skin from UV rays, i.e., ultraviolet rays.

7. Spicy foods: In Japan, it is believed that if a pregnant woman eats spicy foods, it will make the child have a short temper. hehehehehehehe, meaning I would have had a terrible temper because the love my mum has for spicy foods is not of this world, lol. I mean, something I’ll eat and complain of how spicy it was; she would say it wasn’t even spicy enough, ha!!! Mummy!!! Lol. Dear mama, please eat spicy foods if you want to. It won’t give your child a bad temper, and just so we know, because I feel I need to say this, dear mama, the food you eat doesn’t go to your unborn child in that form. Okay?? Thank you, lol.

8. Vegetables: A few people in Ethiopia believe if a pregnant woman eats some kinds of vegetables, they would pass directly to the womb and attach themselves to the baby’s head and body. E shock you bah? Lol. Please, dear mama, you need a lot of vegetables during this period to supply you with the needed nutrients for yourself and your baby to function adequately. It’s not a question of ‘should I eat it?’ It’s a question of ‘how frequently do I need to eat it?’ There are a lot of ways to incorporate vegetables into your diet if you’re not a fan of vegetables usually. You could prepare vegetable soup, or vegetable stew, add it to beans, or even rice, add it to your porridge, or add it to almost anything. I add it to my eggs to fry even, but not too much o, lol. The goal is for you to give birth to a healthy and strong baby and for you to be healthy too.

9. Eggs, peanuts, and dairy products: dairy here means milk and milk products such as butter, cheese, etc. Most people believe that if a pregnant woman eats such foods, it could make the baby allergic to them when they are eventually born. I believe they have this ideology because a lot of people are allergic to eggs, nuts, and dairy products. You know what? Studies have shown that when the mother consumes any such foods, so far she’s not allergic to them, it will actually reduce the chances of the child being allergic to such foods since you ate them well during your period of pregnancy. So dear mama, if you’re not allergic to eggs, peanuts, or dairy foods, please do well to eat them because these foods have a lot of benefits for yourself and your baby.

In conclusion, these are a few food myths surrounding pregnancy I could get my hands on. I know there would be tons out there, so if you know of any, let me know in the comment section. And dear mama, please, if you have any complaints, confusion, or anything at all, let your doctor know. Don’t assume or take advice from just anyone, no matter how well-meaning the person may be; please, we’re talking about yourself and your baby here, don’t play with your life or that of your child. Make sure you register for your antenatal clinic on time too. I’ve seen most women wait till they complete 8 or 9 months before registering or when there’s a complication, which is really bad and risky. That’s just formality to me o. Else, what’s the purpose of registering so late? Register early, eat well, and take care of yourself, mama, so we’ll come and rub powder and celebrate that mother and child are alive, lol.

I would love to hear from you, you know, questions, contributions, suggestions, corrections, or anything at all. If probably there’s something you would want me to write about or if you have any questions as regards the article, leave me a message in the comments section below. I’d really love to hear from you.😊

From your favorite health educator, Ebi Pere.😊

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