In my Ayurveda practice, I often get questions from my clients asking if there are any tips from Ayurveda during pregnancy. I would say, Ayurveda is a life science. Its not just tips for pregnancy, but it has some real advice which can do wonders for mom and child.
Ayurveda says, "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."
Pregnancy is not merely a physiological process, it is a great responsibility to father and mother. The mental and physical status of the mother is important for a healthy pregnancy. There are certain general rules from inception to delivery which include regimen and diet.
Photo courtesy _ Marcos Moraes
Ayurveda Pregnancy Tips
• Always try to be in a happy mood
• Be clean, neat and well dressed, always wear simple comfortable clothes
• Have proper sleep, go to bed early and avoid sleep during morning hours
• Engage in peaceful and benedictory activities like listening to music, reading, craft works etc
• Not indulge in anger, fright, or agitating emotions
• Travelling in rough roads, long distances should be avoided
• Oil bath is advised
• Beholding natural urges should be avoided
Ayurveda Diet for Pregnancy
Ayurveda gives a detailed explanation of the diet that should be followed in each trimester. As a general rule, greater care should be taken during the first three months of pregnancy and after the completion of seventh month.
During the first trimester, stress is laid on stabilizing the pregnancy and nurturing the uterine bed through rasa and raktha dhatus (blood tissues). The embryo gets nourishment directly by percolation, hence more liquid substances like juicy fruits, coconut water, and milk should be advocated.
In first month sipping cold milk and maintaining a light diet is good, whereas during the second month the intake of milk is indicated with certain herbs like pueraria, asparagus, liquorice (sweet wood), Bacopa, etc.
By the end of third month, the body parts of the fetus become differentiated, sensory perceptions and motor reactions start developing. The heart starts beating and is said to express the desires through the mother's blood. This the period when women crave certain foods/flavors. The needs of the mother and developing baby are identical. Therefore, Ayurveda recommends that her cravings be fulfilled as far as possible. If not contraindicated, Bacopa helps in calming the nerves and sustaining the pregnancy.
From the fourth to seventh month, drugs which strengthen the uterine muscles and nourish the embryo are advised like winter cherry (withania somnifera) or Indian tinospora should be used. Also fruits like oranges, mangoes, apples, carrots, Indian gooseberry, and leafy vegetables help in providing nourishment to the uterine tissues.
During the seventh month, there is a chance of itching and irritation in the abdominal region due to stretching of abdominal muscles. This should be treated with taking sips of an infusion of berries or butter medicated with Indian madder. External application of neem and basil oil are also effective.
From the seventh month on wards there should be less fat and salt in the diet. It is advisable to take thin gruel, green gram, etc.
In short, fully cooked, easily digestible food with proteins and vitamins are ideal throughout the pregnancy period. A proper diet and regimen will help the mother to have a happy pregnancy and the baby to lead a healthy life in future.