Health Experts have dispelled the notion that eating okra or drinking okra water, especially in the last trimester of pregnancy, could make labor and delivery easier for a woman.
According to experts, the idea that okra can help a woman have an easy delivery is a myth, as there has been no documented scientific evidence of its benefits for childbirth.
Speaking to PUNCH HealthWise in separate exclusive interviews, the experts, Consultant OB/GYN Dr. Stanley Egbogu and Registered Nutritionist Ms. Yemisi Solanke-Lawal, said it is a false belief that okra can make the job of Birth.
However, okra is among the vegetables that have numerous health benefits.
According to birthingbalance.com, a maternal health site, okra is high in folate (the natural, water-soluble form of vitamin B9, found naturally in many foods), but does not contain folic acid.
He stated that a serving of okra provides 15 percent of a woman’s daily folate needs, and with other folate-rich foods and the required prenatal vitamin, a woman should have adequate concentrations of this vitamin.
Speaking to our correspondent, Egbogu, who works with Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi said that this belief, that okra facilitates childbirth, is common, especially in rural areas, noting that it is one of several myths and beliefs superstitious claims that people cling to despite a lack of supporting evidence.
“There are so many superstitious beliefs that people have. This is one of the myths that people believe, but there is no documented evidence that eating okra during the last trimester can help ease labor.
“I know that people believe it and this is usually in the towns. It’s not documented, but some people believe it.”
However, he noted that as a vegetable, okra has many nutritional benefits.
The gynecologist urged pregnant women not to trust the unverified claim of okra’s ability to aid labor and instead resort to mild exercises that have been found to ease labor.
Egbogu said that light exercises like walking help make labor easier. Although not practiced in Nigeria, he added that giving birth in water has also been documented to decrease labor pain.
For her part, diet expert Solanke-Lawal said she is not aware of the effect of eating okra during labor.
However, he noted that okra is known to help keep blood sugar in check in people living with diabetes.
The nutritionist claimed that having lived in China if such claims were true, it would have been seen all over the Asian country as China is seen to be highly dependent on herbal and natural remedies.