Pregnancy can be the most beautiful yet stressful time in a woman’s life. Prenatal care of a pregnant woman based on ayurvedic principles is non invasive, natural, effective and absolutely safe. According to Ayurveda, pregnancy and delivery can be a rejuvenating experience and a positive highlight in every woman’s life. Among the branches of ayurvedic science, there is a separate department called Strirog-Prasuti Tantra (Gynaecology and Obstetrics) devoted to women and children’s health, including pregnancy care. Ayurvedic prenatal care aims to achieve the proper growth of the foetus, an uncomplicated pregnancy, normal delivery of the baby and the wellbeing of both.
In fact, garbhini paricharya is essential for safe motherhood and healthy progeny. Garbhini Paricharya refers to antenatal care or prenatal which recommends Ahara (specific dietary regimen) and Vihara (activity for physical, mental and emotional well being). In Ayurveda, Garbhini paricharya is divided in three categories -
Masanumasik Pathya ahara and Vihara (monthly dietary regimen and lifestyle)
Garbhasthapak karma (diet and activities for maintenance of pregnancy and better progeny) Avoidance of Garbhopaghatakar Bhavas (diet and activities which are harmful to foetus)
Pregnant women can greatly benefit from the principles of Ayurveda both during pregnancy, and even after their baby is born. Ayurvedic recommendations focus on diet, behaviour, activities, herbs and therapies.
Ayurvedic Prenatal Care
Ayurveda describes nine conditions that can accompany pregnancy – called garbhopadravas: nausea, anorexia, vomiting, dryness of mouth, fever, oedema, anaemia, diarrhoea and fluid retention. Following ayurvedic advice for diet and lifestyle can avoid these complications and keep the pregnancy healthy.
1. Favour your cravings
Remember you are eating for two bodies and two body types. Honour your cravings in moderation, especially after four months of gestation when cravings are most likely. The important advice is to eat when you desire, and eat adequate amounts of protein, healthy carbohydrates and vegetables.
2. Balance your vata
The vata dosha needs more attention during pregnancy, as it affects the nervous system. A diet of fresh, plant-based, whole or sprouted grains and non-processed foods is recommended. Warm, freshly cooked foods with healthy oils like ghee and coconut are good. The three tastes that balance vata are sweet, sour and salty.
During pregnancy the sweet taste should be emphasised, because it is the most sattvic or wholesome for the baby. Drink warm, non-homogenised cow’s milk with ghee. One cup of warm milk with a teaspoon of ghee twice a day is said to boost immunity and the vitality (ojas) of the baby.
3. Indulge in ayurvedic massage
Daily massage with an ayurvedic herbalised massage oil feeds the microbiology on the skin, as well as calms the mother.
What Not To Do During Pregnancy
Overeating or fasting
Dry, stale, fermented, heavy, hot or strong food, alcohol and meat
Sleeping during the day and staying up late at night
Witnessing or listening to things which give rise to feelings of sorrow, anger, horror or agony
Travelling for long periods in an aircraft or vehicle, or on rough roads
Sitting for a long time, sitting in uncomfortable positions, or on hard surfaces
Lifting heavy things or lifting things from a position that strain your back and abdomen
Do not hold back with natural urges (things like sleep, hunger, yawning, crying, urination, excrement expulsion etc)
Simple Ayurvedic Tips for Morning Sickness
Roast cardamom seeds, powder them and eat small pinches through the day.
Sip tea made of 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder and/or fennel seeds and hot water.
Abhyanga (ayurvedic therapeutic massage) followed by a bath in luke-warm water is an excellent treatment during pregnancy for both the mother and baby. Regular abhyanga from the sixth month onwards is also believed to promote easy labour. Other therapies like head massage, belly massage, foot massage and Shirodhara are also effective for relaxing the nervous system. Other major internal and external therapies need the proper guidelines of a specialist.
Consultation with Ayurvedic Practitioners
Ayurveda can provide holistic care throughout your pregnancy. For professional and personalised health advice, book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors. As far as possible, medication should be avoided during the first three months of pregnancy, and even later. SKK Ayurveda’s experienced doctors can suggest the right herbal preparations and home remedies which are safe and effective for prenatal and postnatal care.