Pregnancy (Garbhini) In Ayurveda


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“Evam kurvati hi arogya- bala- varna- samvahana-sampadam upetam jnatinam shreshtam apatyam janayati.” - Charaka Samhita

If a pregnant woman is taken care as advised, she will give birth to a child who does not have any diseases – a healthy, physically strong, radiant and well-nourished baby. Superior to all races.

From three thousand years ago, ayurveda has flourished by following all the important guidelines required for the healthy formation of a foetus. Ayurveda also focuses on the health of the mother to be by providing the required nutrition and care for a comfortable full term delivery.

Pregnancy and childbirth is a significant phase in a woman’s life. During this time the mom- to-be needs special attention and care from her family. According to ayurveda, a pregnant woman needs to be mentally and emotionally prepared to enjoy and accept all the changes that accompany pregnancy.

Modern society and the current health field view pregnancy as an illness. Therefore, the needs and desires of the mother to be are not fulfilled. Ayurveda, however, gives special attention to the pregnant woman and her health.

Garbha samskar in ayurveda includes prayers and chanting for a pleasant initiation into this natural phase of a woman’s life. Both the man and the woman are advised to watch their diet well before conception. In Ashtanga Ayurveda, prasuti tantra is a part which includes guidelines on diet, lifestyle changes, seasonal eating for mothers, postpartum care and essential tips for having a great experience throughout the journey into motherhood. It also imparts knowledge about treating the imbalances which may arise during this important period.

Ayurveda gives special emphasis to everything a woman tastes, sees, smells, hears and touches. There are specific recommendations to bring about a well-balanced state of consciousness to the mind, body and the atmosphere surrounding the pregnant woman. How a woman is pampered and nurtured by all those near to her, keeping in mind about aahara (food), vihara (comfort and sleep), achara (routine) and vichara (thoughts and state of balance in mind) plays an important role.

Ayurveda uses traditional and herbal medicines. Pre-pregnancy treatment is limited to controlling stress and making lifestyle changes. There are specific medications to control hormonal imbalances, and promote nutrition and health. Discomforts linked to pregnancy like nausea, anorexia, vomiting, fever, anemia, diarrhea and retention of urine are called garbho-upadravas. These upadravas can be treated by using herbs without resorting to modern day medicines.

According to ayurveda, going through a surgical delivery affects the body with more than 64 ailments which is listed in garbhini vyakarna. It is thus best to follow strict routine and guidelines to deliver a healthy, physically strong and radiant baby without compromising on personal health. In Garbhavakranti a pregnant woman is considered to be almost at the gates of death to give birth. Garbhini paricharya shows dietary guidelines for every month of pregnancy.

For mothers to enjoy ideal health, Vedic texts suggest eating fresh, well-cooked satvik diet since it is easy to digest and provides nourishment to the dhatus (tissues) of both the mother and the growing baby. Satvic food is easily absorbed by the body and does not cause constipation, indigestion or acid reflux which is common during pregnancy. When the body is comfortable, the mind is automatically free from worries.

Staying hydrated and eating at regular intervals is also important. Avoid eating processed, stale and leftover food. Include juicy fruits, milk, honey and nuts in your diet. Avoid refined sugar completely as it takes away half the discomfort. It is natural for many women to start eating healthy during pregnancy, but also make sure to sit and enjoy your meal in a peaceful place without hurrying. Keep in mind that all that is eaten reaches the precious little one.

Do not harbor any negative thoughts such as sorrow, grief, anger, fear or doubt as these can hinder the natural growth of the foetus. Stay happy and indulge in activities which make you happy. Surround yourself with close friends and relatives who support and care for you during this special time of your life. Refrain from sitting on hard surfaces, sitting for long hours, travelling, lifting heavy weights, walking long distances and tedious activities.

Modern working conditions contribute to agitation and depression. All these unwanted feelings fade away when a woman prioritizes her physical and emotional needs. When the mother is not happy or settled, the newborn baby experiences dry skin, colic crying and sleep problems. Hence avoid any events which can trigger sadness or grief. Ayurveda stresses that prevention is better than cure. Therefore, it is easier to avoid such problems than to run after cures.

Avoid staying up too late or sleeping during daytime. You must be in touch with your own body and learn to monitor even minor changes. Meditation techniques and prenatal yoga help to fight stress, provide deep sleep, balance doshas and calm the nervous system.

Abhyanga or oil massage is recommended for pampering your changing body. Mothers who do this once a day, in the early morning, find more balance and energy throughout the day as it balances vata dosha.

Focus on giving importance to your needs and necessities. A childbirth can activate ancestral memories and a rush of overwhelming feeling on a cellular level. These changes imprint not just on the physical and emotional level; it is imprinted on unexplainable deeper levels of your existence. For all these reasons ayurveda honors the entire experience of this divine journey. Ultimately your life style, habits and perception towards how motherhood should be are in your hands. Just as you enjoy capturing all the moments of life, enjoy the big step into motherhood with care and healthier choices.