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Food Avoidances of Pregnant Women in Tamilnad

WithG. Eichinger Ferro-Luzzi

Over a period of six months, 1200 Tamilnad women were interviewed about food avoidances during pregnancy. Practically all types of food were avoided but the most important were those of fruits and grains. The main reason for abstaining from certain foods during pregnancy was fear of abortion caused by heating the body or by inducing uterine hemorrhage. The latter property was most frequently ascribed to foods like pawpaw and sesame grains which were supposed to have a positive as well as a negative stimulating effect on the female organism. High protein foods may be avoided because they were thought to cause exaggerated growth of the baby which would be undesirable for an easy delivery. The author attempted to find psychological explanations for the major avoidances.