Pregnancy and childbirth have a great significance in the life of a woman. During this period, a woman needs great care and attention from her family members, especially her mother and husband. Ayurveda brings to a pregnant woman and a new mother the warmth and security of Mother Nature. The Ayurvedic texts like Garbhini Vyakaran discuss the possible diseases during pregnancy with appropriate treatments, the dietary principles to be followed, rules regarding the activities and the mental behaviour and so on.
Ayurveda lays down the 4 stages of pregnancy as
- Prajayini (1st Stage)
- Upasthita Prasava (2nd Stage)
- Prajayi Syamana (3rd Stage)
- Apara Patana (4th Stage)
There is a suggested protocol for every pregnant woman in Garbhini Paricharya (pregnancy care). It draws out a plan for ahar (nutrition), vihar (life style) and vi char (thought process) to be followed during the different stages of labor. This plan is devised for the well being of the mother as well as the child. In fact, in Ayurveda the child care starts before its conception. Great care is advised during the first three months and after the seventh month. While doing this, Ayurveda pronounces the use of any medicine which is recommended only if there is a medical condition. Ayurveda also warns against smoking and drinking and any sexual activity after the fifth or the sixth month as it can lead to fetal abnormalities.
She should follow a nutritional and wholesome diet enriched with all the six rasas (tastes). She may a eat little but often. She should eat six times if she generally eats four times. She may not fast or bloat the stomach. Food should be tasty, natural and without chemicals or preservatives. It should not be very solid but moist and easy to digest. Home made food is always recommended. Constipation and indigestion during pregnancy are common and to be foreseen. An early and mild dinner is advocated. The use of fluids like milk, juices and coconut water is highly recommended.
- A pregnant woman should always be happy and not listen to or witness unhappy events.
- She should always be neat, clean and well-dressed. She should wear loose and comfortable garments.
- Needless to mention that she needs to be in a clean and hygienic environment.
- She should get good sleep in the night and avoid sleeping in the day time.
- A mother-to-be should not remain bending for a long time or lift heavy things.
- She is warned against bumpy rides and wandering alone and into remote areas.
- Panchakarma during pregnancy is forbidden.
If a garbhini (pregnant woman) suffers from constipation mild laxatives can be taken. Otherwise, may use oil enema. In most cases, a cup of warm milk before going to bed may solve the problem. Ayurveda foresees a few medical conditions as a part of pregnancy: nausea, anorexia, vomiting, dryness of mouth, fever, o edema, anemia, diarrhea and retention of urine. However, Ayurveda does not support any kind of medicines other than mild herbal ones.
Ayurvedic care is religiously followed in many parts of India during pregnancy and puerperal period for a healthy posterity.