According to Ayurveda, pregnancy and delivery can be a rejuvenating experience and a positive highlight of a women’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.
Conception is the union of male and female seeds that creates an embryo. Ayurvedic science compares human conception to the germination and sprouting of plant seeds which eventually turn into a seedling that grows. High importance is given to the quality of seeds. The condition of the mother’s uterus, like the earth where the seed grows, also plays an important role in the growth and development of a healthy baby.
Pregnant women can use the principles of Ayurveda to care for themselves during pregnancy, and support their recovery period after their baby is born. Ayurvedic recommendations focus on diet, behaviour, activities, herbs and therapies.
Ayurveda describes nine conditions that can accompany pregnancy – calledgarbhopadravas: 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 energy of the nervous system. Caring for vata is best done with a diet of fresh, plant-based, whole or sprouted grains and non-processed foods. Warm, freshly cooked foods with healthy oils of olive, 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, vat-pasteurised (heated under 135 degrees F), non-homogenised milk with ghee made from grass-fed cows. One cup of warm milk with a teaspoon of ghee twice a day is said to boost immunity and the complexion and vitality (ojas) of the baby.
3. Experience ayurvedic massage
Calm mother helps calm baby. Daily massage with an ayurvedic herbalised massage oil feeds the microbiology on the skin, as well as calms the skin-based sensory nervous system of the mother. Self-massage, or massage from a loving partner is very beneficial. Gently massage the abdomen and in the 8th and 9th months, spend extra time on the nipples to prepare for breastfeeding.
4. Sexual engagement
Enjoy sexual intercourse, however be sure to keep it in moderation, during early and late pregnancy. A lot of sex can aggravate vata.
Things to Avoid
- Overeating or fasting
- Dry, stale, fermented, heavy, hot or strong food, alcohol and meat (fish is OK)
- Sleeping during the day time 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, elimination etc), unless in an emergency
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 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.
Ayurvedic consultation with the specialists
Ayurveda can provide holistic care throughout your pregnancy. For professional and personalised health advice, please 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. Vibrant Ayurveda’s experienced doctors can suggest the right herbal preparations and home remedies which are safe and effective for ante-natal and post-natal care.