Ayurveda, the age-old Indian medicine deals with the area of women’s health extensively. During pregnancy, it is generally advised in alternative medical practice to minimize the impact of harmful external factors and indulge and concentrate on more natural practices or natural ways of dealing with daily activities.
The ayurvedic concept of pregnancy care, otherwise called the ‘garbini vyakaran’ focuses on physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of both the mother and the child.
While in the present day healthcare the genetic makeup of the father and the mother are given more emphasis than psychological or mental status, Ayurveda gives equal weightage to both physical and mental statuses of both the parents before planning to conceive.
Ayurvedic text has suggested various instructions for a pregnant woman. The following are the very significant among them:
Pregnancy should be more of preference than chance.
The relationship between the couple during pregnancy is important as relationship problems between the couple tend to affect the development of the foetus.
The diet, physical activity, thoughts and the environment of the mother exercise great influence on the development of the foetus.
The stimulus taken through the sense organs of the mother affects the development of the sense organs of that of the child.
Ayurvedic health care system offers a detailed account of holistic practices during pregnancy care emphasizing on the diet (Ahar), lifestyle activities (Vihar), behavior (Achar) and thoughts (Vichar) of the mother during the different stages of pregnancy.
The first trimester is the most critical one when proper nourishment and mental status should be maintained. Since it is the time for the stabilization of the pregnancy, care should be taken to minimize vigorous physical activities, lifting heavy objects or long distance travel. Massage is not generally advised at this stage of pregnancy.
The second trimester is the period where the organs begin to develop and appropriate care should be taken to ensure the optimal development of these vital organs. Since the baby is beginning to develop it is necessary to provide all the vital nutrients that are key to the proper development of the organs. It is suggested to include lots of cereals such as wheat, oats, rye, barley, peas, soybeans and chick peas.
Mild physical activities and yoga for improving flexibility are recommended for this stage. Listening to pleasant music, looking at beautiful things, smell fragrant aroma, experience soft things and talk good things. It is proved that the fetus responds to music and it has a calming effect on the baby especially string instruments like violin and even certain mantras help is providing a positive stimulus to fetal development.
The unexpressed thought in the mothers mind has the maximum energy and affects the fetus to a great extent. Thus it is very important to have a positive attitude and good mental health to bear a physically and mentally healthy child. Positive thoughts concentrated towards the child can also be expressed vocally and the child will quickly grasp the information provided.
The last trimester is focused on the positioning of the baby and preparing the mother for delivery.
Warm semi-solid foods are highly recommended as it is easy to digest. Further the nutritional requirement of the child would have increased and it is necessary to accommodate the requirement both qualitatively and quantitatively. Ayurveda therefore covers all the details with regard to pregnancy care in a holistic manner, leading to a naturally healthy pregnancy.