Proper good health is very much necessary before planning to have children. Ayurveda states that one’s state during pregnancy will influence the mind and body of the child. Obviously this knowledge has been lost in today’s fast-paced world. The basic treatment during pregnancy is to strengthen and nourish the whole body. Emphasis should be give to emotional happiness and her contentment because this has a greatest influence on the developing baby.
Diet and lifestyle during Preconception
Couples desirous of healthy offspring should take a healthy diet predominant in sweet taste and include milk and its products, ghee and rice in diet. One should avoid excessive intake of food. The male partner should take herbal aphrodisiacs like Ashwagandha, Gokshur, Kaunch under the guidance of an Ayurvedic physician. The lady should take herbs like Shatavari and should consume food items prepared from black gram and sesame seeds. Both partners should avoid excessive eating, fasting and should have a pleasant state of mind devoid of fear, grief, anger, etc.
Recommendations during pregnancy
Ayurveda has prescribed a special diet and lifestyle regimen for healthy development of fetus during pregnancy and for easy labor. Following Ayurvedic regimen helps in maintenance of maternal and fetal health. Throughout pregnancy, the lady should take anabolic diet and herbs. During first trimester it is advised to take cold, liquid and semisolid food. Light diet, ghee and milk are advised. During second trimester meat soups or lentil soups, milk, ghee, rice, curd and rice gruel medicated with the herb Gokshur is advised. During third trimester rice, milk, ghee, meat soup or lentil soup, different cereals are advised. Also medicated oil enema, vaginal douche and mild laxatives are recommended in third trimester.
Avoid the following during pregnancy
• Strenuous physical exercise, excessive walking, squatting, prolonged sitting especially in uncomfortable postures and riding on vehicles or animals especially in uneven road.
• Avoid psychological dispositions like anger, grief, and fear.
• Tight synthetic clothing
• Suppression of natural urges like urination, thirst, hunger, tears, etc.
• Indulgence in quarrels or fights, bad thoughts and jealousness
• Lying in prone position.
• Excessive refrigerated food items and drinks, spicy, fried food, pungent food, and heavy to digest food, excessive salt, processed foods, junk foods, confectioneries, alcohol and smoking.
• Sleeping in excess
• Staying awake late at night.
Recommendations on lifestyle during pregnancy
• Follow strict personal hygiene.
• Wear clean comfortable cotton clothes preferably light colored.
• Intake of palatable and light to digest diet according to her desire
• Adequate sleep in soft bed
• Sufficient rest
• Pleasant thoughts and state of mind
• Listen to soft music
• Take bath in water treated with aromatic herbs.
• Living place should be fumigated with aromatic and antiseptic herbs.
Month wise regimen of pregnant lady
• First month – Milk with ghee in desired quantity, light and easy to digest food, seasonal fruits and fruit juices.
• Second month – Light, easily digestible food, milk processed with Shatavari herb or sweet herbs, seasonal fruits and fruit juices.
• Third month – Include green leafy vegetables, carrot, beetroot, fruits, pulses, beans and milk with ghee in diet.
• Fourth month – Use of milk in desired quantity, use of yoghurt, naturally extracted butter in diet.
• Fifth month – Light to digest food, use of milk, ghee and other milk products like curd, butter is advised.
• Sixth month – Light to digest food with ghee, rice gruel medicated with Gokshur herb, desired quantity of natural cane sugar is advised.
• Seventh month – Light to digest food with ghee, milk and ghee processed with herbs like Prithakparni, etc is recommended.
• Eighth month – Light to digest food with ghee, use of mild laxatives to prevent constipation.
• Ninth month – Light easily digestible food with ghee is advised.
Tips during pregnancy
For striae gravidarum (itching and striations that occur due to stretching of skin on abdomen, breast and thighs) – Apply the paste of Sandalwood and Ushira (Vetivera zizanoides) or paste of Neem and Basil. Bathing with water boiled with Neem and Basil also helps.
For stretch marks – Jasmine oil application helps.
For cracked nipples – Coconut oil or Castor oil application is good.
Puerperium is the period following childbirth generally lasting 45 days. During this period, special diet and lifestyle regimen should be followed for regaining strength.
Do’s and Don’ts during Postpartum period
• Gentle oil massage especially on lower back and lower abdomen followed by mild fomentation is advised.
• Abdomen and flanks should be tightly wrapped with cotton cloth.
• Spices like ginger, fenugreek and cumin should be used in diet.
• Drink warm water in small quantities throughout the day.
• Light to digest food, which is warm, should be given.
• Avoid anger, excessive physical exercise and mental strain.
• Avoid indulging in sex.
• Rice gruel, ghee and milk can be included in diet.