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The Effects of the Mothers Nutrition on the Foetus

During pregnancy the type of food taken by the mother has a marked effect on the nature, intelligence and capability of the child. This is because the brain of the child responds to the quality of nutrition provided to the foetus by the mother during its growth. Islam has clearly defined that the mother’s food intake during the pregnancy has a definite effect on the character of the child. Here some traditions on the subject are sited:

The Holy Prophet says:

“The mothers must ensure that during the final phase of pregnancy they must eat dates that their children grow to be gentle and sober." (Mustadrak al-wasail, v 3, p. 113)

“Ensure that your expectant wives eat behdana seeds (Seeds of Quince, a Central Asiatic tree of the rose family the fruit of which resembles a hard fleshed yellow apple). Such wives bear children with good health and character.’ (Mustadrak al-wasail, v 3, p. 116)

Imam Reda said:

“When pregnant women eat behdana seed it enhances intelligence and wisdom of the child." (Makarim al akhlaq, v 1, p. 196)

The prophet of Islam said: “The pregnant woman who eats melons will give birth to pretty and polite children." (Mustadrak al-wasail, v 3, p. 635)

The Mothers Nutrition

Research on the different types of food materials is not in the scope of this book nor can we enumerate the qualities of each because it is a subject that requires consideration at length. Nor is the author an expert on the subject of nutrition. Luckily many useful books have been published on the subject and the readers interested in a more detailed study may refer to such books. But it will not be out of place if we have a cursory look on the subject.

Although the nutrition intake requirement of pregnant women increases, it is a matter of worry that their appetite generally reduces in this condition. Many of them feel listless and dull. In such a state they need to plan to consume concentrates which are foods with lesser bulk and more nutritive value. The nutrients required by the human body are contained in different types of food materials. Therefore keeping variety in the ration of a pregnant woman gives scope for designing ideal feeding programme for her.

The experts in this field write:

“To keep the body fit not only food intake is necessary but also it should be a planned mix of food materials taken at planned intervals.” (Ilm o zindagi, p 462)

The mother should ensure that she takes supplemental vitamins and minerals with the morning and evening meals that will help the foetus in the seventh month. This will not only help in the proper growth of the teeth and the gums but also some other important bones of the body. (Biography Pesh uz tawallud, p. 80)

Dr. Giasuddin Jazairi writes:

“Consumption of yoghurt and cheese during pregnancy provides vitamins and fats to the woman and prevents her from consuming many other unnecessary things which she might otherwise be inclined to eat. She should however avoid taking sour yoghurt. Stale cheese may also not taste well. At breakfast she should take a glass of milk and a broth of oats. Vitamin B is present plentifully in liver, kidneys, intestines that are useful foods and should form a part of the pregnant woman’s diet. (Aijaz khurakia, p.223)

It is better that the pregnant women should take milk at regular intervals. This is a complete food and the Prophets in the past were very fond of this food.

Imam Jafer al Sadiq says:

“Milk is the food of the Prophets." (Bihar al-anwar, no vol/page)

Dr. Giasuddin Jazairi writes:

“Most women feel pain in the limbs and the back due to deficiency of calcium during pregnancy. They also find their nails breaking during this period. They are therefore advised to consume fruits and vegetables that are rich in calcium. They have also to be particular to regularly take soup made from bones of sheep and lemon juice. " (Aijaz khurakia)

Generally for people and in particular for the pregnant women the raw and cooked vegetables and fruits are considered good food. The plants derive the nutrients from the soil, water, air and sunlight and store the food for us. All the fruits have good nutritive value but particularly apples, quince, pears, dates are very useful. Likewise every vegetable has its own nutritive value.

Different vitamins and minerals are provided to the body by different food grains, fruits and vegetables. A person who wants to take good care of his nutrition should take a mix of fruits and vegetables and try to eat all the seasons fruits, even if occasionally. Particularly, the pregnant women should make a careful mix of different food materials in their diet. Islam exhorts its people and the pregnant womenfolk to eat fruits and vegetables. A few quotations are given here to prove our point:

Imam Sadiq says:

‘“Everything adorns some place or other and similarly the vegetables adorn the dining area." (Mustadrak al-wasail, v 3, p. 148)

One day when Imam Rida sat for his meal he found the vegetable salad missing from the fare. He told to his servant, “You know that I don’t eat food without the salads. Please bring the salads for me.” vWhen the salads were brought the Imam commenced his meal.

The Holy Prophet is on record saying,

“Eat quince because it enhances your intelligence, removes worries and makes the child gentle." (Makarim al akhlaq, v 1, p. 196)

The Prophet also said:

“Eat quinces and present it’s good fruits to your friends because it improves the eyesight and makes the hearts mellow. The pregnant women too draw lots of benefit from this fruit and their new born children are pretty and healthy." (Makarim al akhlaq, v 2, p. 116)

“During the last months of pregnancy the women should eat the dates that their children have forbearing natures." (Makarim al akhlaq, v 3, p. 113)

Ali, The Commander of the Faithful, says:

“Eat the dates that they are the cure of all pains." (Makarim al akhlaq, v 3, p. 112)

There are innumerable traditions of the Prophet and his Infallible Descendants that throw light on the high nutritive value of different fruits and vegetables. Nutritionists can devise ideal diet schedule including appropriate quantities of these fruits and vegetables for various requirements. Consulting a nutritionist or a specialist medical practitionerWill be very useful.

Adapted from the book: "Principles of Upbringing Children" by: "Sheikh Ibrahim Amini"

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