The health conditions of the mother and the baby are crucial during childbirth. Hence, Ayurveda prescribes the following practices to that assure the well-being of the woman and her baby.
The pregnant woman's regime
Garbhini Paricharya or the ‘regimen of a pregnant woman’ refers to the monthly check-ups and instructions given by the medical expert.
Dietary patterns, medication as well as the behaviour of pregnant women are a part of the regime.
The regime can be followed upon confirmation of the pregnancy. It helps in softening the placenta (apara), pelvis, waist, sides of the chest and the back.
Diet and pregnancy
A major aspect of the regime is the diet followed by pregnant women. This is called the Masanumasika pathya. This routine makes the mother healthier, enabling her to deliver a healthy, strong and energetic child.
What do the experts recommend?
Many women experience nausea and vomiting during their pregnancy. This results in dehydration and malnourishment. A liquid diet during the first trimester can help tackle these issues. It can be cold yet sweet.
Additionally, a few drugs can also be taken to assure the well-being of the mother and the foetus.
Ayurveda baby care – Miracles of milk
Milk is an important component of the pregnant woman's diet. It is a source of calcium, lactose and fat. Milk moderates the quantum of protein required for the body and strengthens the body.
Moreover, it helps pregnant women to cope with health concerns surrounding constipation.
Experts say that drinking pasteurized and non-homogenized milk with ghee can strengthen the body of the pregnant woman.
In fact, she can have a cup of warm milk with a teaspoon of ghee as a part of their dietary regimen.
Diet regime – the second trimester
At this stage, some women have swollen feet and health problems caused due to water retention.
The use of gokshura (Tribulus Terrestris), a diuretic, during the sixth month can prevent retention of water. It also helps to cure pregnancy-induced hypertension.
Basti or enema, during the eighth month, can help to tackle constipation. It also regulates the functions of the uterine wall during labour.
Playing it safe – diet and activities
Ayurvedic texts state pregnant women can avoid certain practices to ensure the birth of a healthy child.
These activities are termed as Garbhopaghathakara bhavas. They are further divided into ahara (aspects surrounding the woman’s diet) and vihara (the behavioural patterns of a woman).
An expecting mother should consume less:
- Cold water - lest she experiences indigestion
- Papayas and Pineapples - for a smooth childbirth
- Garlic - so as to avoid miscarriages
She can consume Garbhasthapaka dravyas, a set of 10 herbs that help prevent cases of abortion. The list includes Sida cordifolia.
These elements will help prevent abortions. The herbs should be taken orally in the form of decoctions made with milk and ghee.
Thoughts and Lifestyle of a pregnant woman
A healthy diet, lifestyle and positive thoughts are crucial during pregnancy.
Hence, pregnant women are advised to could go-easy on:
- Intensive exercises or work-routines
- Travelling by bus
- Sleeping in supine position
- Staring at a sunset
- Staring a solar or lunar eclipse
- Wearing tight garments
To foster positivity they can:
- Watch inspirational movies or videos
- Listen to light instrumental music
- Touch their baby bump
An interesting fact: The Ayurveda scholar, Acharya Kasyapa, stated that the amulet of trivrit (Operculina tharpethum) should be also tied on the waist of a pregnant woman for the proper development of the embryo.
This article has been written by Dr. Elizabeth John. She has been working as an Ayurveda doctor for over 25 years and holds an MD and a PhD in Ayurveda.