Ante and Post Natal Pregnancy Care with Ayurveda
Ayurveda prescribes specific nutritional measures for the growth and protection of the woman to keep her vital and pure.
In one of its most famous teaching analogies, Ayurveda compares human conception to the germination and sprouting of a seed and its transformation into a sapling.
When the male and female seeds unite and the soul enters the union, an embryo (garbha) is created. Ayurveda gives great importance to the quality of the seed (ovum). In addition to the female seed, the mother also provides the ‘ideal terrain’ (i.e. the uterus) into which the seed is to be planted.
Similar to its strategy to promote longevity, the Ayurvedic approach towards motherhood, that is pregnancy and childbirth, is indeed a holistic one. Ayurvedic recommendations touch upon the diet, behaviour, activities and even the spiritual actions of not only for the mother but for the father as well.
Charak samhita states:
‘Evam kurvati hi arogya-bala-varna-samvahana-sampadam upetam jnatinam shreshtam apatyam janayati’
If a pregnant woman is taken care of as advised, she will give birth to a child who does not have any diseases – a healthy, physically strong, radiant and well nourished baby. He will be superior to all in the race.
Ante Natal Pregnancy Care
Adding to her already stressful life as wife and executive has now come the most beautiful time in a woman’s life. Giving Life. In this time of nuclear families, there is often no one to give the mother proper guidance and help during early motherhood.
We have been practicing in the ayurvedic field for many years; so we can offer you the advice of sages that goes back thousands of years.
Correct behavioural patterns
Simple exercises, proper diet and a healthy lifestyle help give birth to a beautiful, strong baby and these things will help both mother and baby in the years to come.
A balanced diet and correct herbal drinks consumed during the different stages of pregnancy can give strength and health to the growing foetus. During the last pregnancy stage, there are certain procedures that help the delivery passage to be lubricated naturally thereby facilitating an easy delivery. This makes labour pains much easier to bear.
If a couple desires to have good progeny, both the partners should be careful about their diet, activities, behaviour and emotional status before as well as after conception. One has to keep this in mind throughout the pregnancy.
General Rules from Inception of Pregnancy to Delivery
The mother-to-be should:
- Always try to be in a happy mood
- Be clean, neat and well dressed
- Wear simple clothes
- Sleep under a roof in a clean environment (not infested with insects such as mosquito’s etc)
The food she eats should be tasty, more of it should be in a liquid form, moist, nourishing, enriched with all the six rasas (tastes) and treated by deepan drugs which are known to increase appetite and digestive power.
The mother to be should always avoid:
- Excessive sex particularly during early and late pregnancy
- Overeating or fasting
- Sleeping during the day time and staying up late at night
- Tight clothes and tight belts
- Witnessing or listening to things which give rise to feelings of sorrow, anger, horror or agony
- Travelling in a vehicle on rough roads
- Squatting for a long time or sitting in an uncomfortable position or on a hard surface
- Lifting heavy things or remaining in a bending position for a long time
- Oleation massage etc. unless positively indicated
- Behold natural urges unless in an emergency
- Dry, stale, fermented, heavy, hot or strong food, alcohol and meat (fish is allowed)
- Visiting abandoned and remote places
- Leaning into a deep well.
Ayurveda also describes nine diseases, which are caused because of the pregnant status of the woman. These diseases are peculiar to pregnancy and are called garbhopadravas. They are: nausea, anorexia, vomiting, dryness of mouth, fever, oedema, anaemia, diarrhoea and retention of urine. Their specific treatments are also elaborately described.
As far as possible, medication should be avoided during the first three months of pregnancy. Even five thousand years ago, Ayurveda had stressed the importance of safe motherhood. It aims at excellence in the formation of the foetus, its development without anomalies, a comfortable full term delivery and maintenance of the health of the mother.
Post Natal Mother and Baby Care
After delivery the mother and baby should get proper massages with medicated oils, herbal drinks, medicines for proper lactation and get back the physical fitness she had and then, most importantly, stay fit.
This phase is called the Sutika period – a term derived from the word prasuta or the mother after delivery. There are different opinions about the duration of this period, which ranges from six weeks to six months and some believe that it lasts until the restoration of the menstrual cycle.
A special diet plan for the prasuta is recommended for this period to make good the loss of the reproductive fluids, dhatus and blood during the pregnancy and delivery. The prasuta should consume light yet nourishing food during the sutika kaal.
Proper adherence to this regimen results in faster recuperation and restoration of the health of the mother. Adequate care and precautions along with the prescribed regimen ensures that the mother regains her physical charm and maintains a beautiful figure and retains health akin to that of her pre pregnancy days.
Ayurveda says that after delivery, the mothers Agni will be low and Vata is vitiated immediately after delivery.
Aims of Post Natal Care
- To restore the agni.
- Normalize the vata.
- Optimize the quality of breast milk.
- To avoid exertion.
- Diet should be very light.
To calm the vata, vitiated oil massages are recommended.
Dietetics for the lactating mother
- Regular intake of canned foods, hot, pungent, and spicy food recipes should be avoided, as these decrease milk secretion. The best diet for a nursing mother is a simple, bland vegetarian menu.
- Also, Ghee and oils should be taken in adequate amounts to improve digestion, facilitate the evacuation of bowels, nourish the traumatized tissues, and subdue the vitiated Vata Dosha, which gets aggravated during the process of childbirth.
- Exposure to pollution and infectious climatic conditions should be avoided, since any infection to the mother during lactation period can easily be transferred to the child.
- Care should be taken while taking drugs during lactation, since many drugs are excreted through milk and might exert an adverse effect on the baby.
- Breast-feeding should be stopped in cases of breast abscess, when milk is infected. It should be squeezed out and discarded to avoid further congestion.
- Even when there is profuse milk secretion, semi solid food should be started from the age of four months. Gradually, breast-feeding should be stopped and the child should be given solid food from the age of one year.
- The first food item given to the child should be semi solid paste of well-cooked rice with sugar and cardamom. Initially, only ½ to 1 tsp of the food should be given. Gradually, over months, the quantity should be increased and by 10-12 months, regular solid diet should be started.
- If milk secretion is more than what is required by the baby, extra milk should be squeezed and discarded; otherwise it can cause congestion and result in the formation of a breast abscess.
- If your breast milk is scanty, try this mixture of almond milk and herbs, soak ten almonds in water overnight. Then peel them, put them in a blender, add a cup of hot milk and puree them. Pour the almond milk into a glass and stir in a pinch each of ginger powder, cardamom and saffron and a teaspoon of date sugar (available in most health food stores) or honey. Drink this twice a day, morning and evening, to help strengthen the quality and quantity of your breast milk.
- Women with pitta or kapha doshas drink three to four cups of pomegranate juice daily to regulate lactation. Vata women should avoid pomegranate juice since it can aggravate Vata dosha.
- Powder of Asparagus recemosus (Shatavari) should be taken in the dose of 1 GM daily along with milk to maintain the quality of lactation.
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We hope that you have found the above information useful.
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