Myth: Eating Dairy Products during Pregnancy Makes Babies Allergic to them.
Fact: Dairy Products are the richest source of Calcium, Protein, and are much needed during pregnancy. The moment you find out that you are pregnant, you instantly want to do only what is best for you and your baby. So does your health care team including your doctor, nutritionist, physiotherapist, etc.
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With that said there are often old wives tales, and rumors always floating around telling what you should and shouldn’t be doing, especially with regard to your pregnancy; however most of these are mostly non scientific information and should stay as such as they have been proven to have no scientific validity to it.
Let’s understand milk in its entirety here.
Milk is complex mixture of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and several other organic and inorganic compounds dissolved in water. It can be considered as God’s gift to mankind, as it is the first food that nourishes you from the moment that you are born and through the entire lifetime.
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Milk has one of the richest sources of fats and proteins, calcium and Vitamin B12; In fact for several vegetarian mothers it is the only source of vitamin B12 in their diet. All these components of milk are required to nourish both you and your baby, and meet both your requirements.
During pregnancy you are advised to consume at least 400 to 500ml of Milk and Milk products every day, to meet the additional requirement of your body and ensure that you do not end up with any deficiencies.
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Toned and pasteurized cow’s milk is the best form of milk for you to consume, as it does not contain an excess of fat, as found in direct cow’s milk. Other animal milks like buffalo, goat, donkey, and yak’s milk can be restricted as they have a much higher fat content than what is recommended for you, the choice and decision depends a lot on your weight gain pattern and BMI too. The reason that cow’s milk is recommended for you in the toned and homogenized variety is that it has the most ideal composition, to meet the needs of your nourishment a Organic nd your growing baby’s. If you have access to Organic milk and milk products, that would be wise to use too in today’s world, to reduce hormone and antibiotic load on our bodies from regular milks.
Milk can be consumed in any form, so long as it is boiled once after you bring it home (to kill any lingering bacteria). It can be consumed hot or cold, or even in the form of beverages like porridges, milkshakes tea or coffee, though the latter two are not advisable due to the negative effects of the high caffeine content and its ability to leach calcium from your bones and from your baby.
It can even be consumed as curd or products made of Curd –buttermilk/chaas, lassi, homemade chena/paneer, kheers, healthy puddings , etc.
Milk is only contraindicated during pregnancy if you have a severe form of lactose intolerance and are not able to digest the cow’s milk protein in any form, though several ladies might have a mild form of lactose intolerance, in such cases milk or milk products can be consumed in the form that they are best tolerated, most mothers tolerate curd very well. Other substitute forms of milk do exist (vegan milks), however they are recommended only in specific cases.
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Only if someone is totally a known vegan or has a known cause of severe milk protein intolerance, then they can opt for almond milk, coconut milk, soya milk etc to meet their needs, However if there is no history of allergy in the mother, there is no reason to avoid cow’s milk entirely. There is very limited scientific proof and data that describe how often pregnant women deliberately stop eating a specific food item in order to prevent future food allergies in their newborns.
Advanced studies are still needed to prove the same. As mentioned only in cases of known strong history of familial allergies there can be a choice made to restrict or limit amounts- that too as part of research, otherwise it is not needed.
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If you feel that there is a problem and you are unsure regarding whether milk suits you, or is causing a problem, it is important that you meet your nutritionist, so that she can help you get the right fit for you when it comes to your diet, keeping in mind the Calcium, Vitamin-D, B12 requirements.
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