Pregnancy period is a very beautiful journey in a woman’s life. The whole feeling of having a life developing inside the body is indeed special. Along with the happiness arise some major concerns and doubts on pregnancy. With the changes in body and emotions, some alterations in lifestyle and diet is essential during this period.
Here we are introducing a series of blogs on the complete aspect of pregnancy in Ayurveda, which will help you take right decisions for yourself and baby.
How to eat healthy during pregnancy as per Ayurveda guidelines?
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 who is superior to all the race.
Pregnancy is not merely a physiological process, it is a great responsibility as well to father and mother. The mental and physical status of mother is important for a healthy pregnancy.
Ancient classic ‘Charaka Samhita’ says, “The life of all living things is food; the entire world seeks food, Complexion, clarity, good voice, long life, understanding, happiness, Satisfaction, growth, intelligence etc. are all because of food.”
Also, the food eaten by a pregnant woman:
- Nourishes and helps the growth of the foetus.
- Nourishes the mother’s own body.
- Nourishes the breasts by which the breast milk formed maintains newborn baby
Ayurveda gives detailed explanation of diet that should be followed in each trimester. As a general rule, greater care should be taken during the first 3 months of pregnancy and after the completion of 7th month.
During first trimester, stress is laid on stabilizing the pregnancy and nurturing the uterine bed through rasa and Rakta 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 where in 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 mother’s blood. This the period when woman craves for certain foods/flavors. The needs of the mother and developing baby is identical. Hence Ayurveda recommends that her cravings be fulfilled as far as possible. If not contraindicated Bacopa helps in calming the nerves and sustaining the pregnancy.
Ayurveda concepts on craving during pregnancy
Ayurveda believes that when the sense organs or mind of the child becomes active, it expresses its feelings through the mother. Mana or mind becomes promptly active during fifth month. All ‘Hridya’ (wholesome to Mind and heart) are to be provided to develop mental faculties in proper manner.
Also, fetal heart is formed from maternal components as per Ayurveda and is attached to the mother’s heart through the minute channels called as ‘Rasavaha srotas’. These channels exhibit fetal desires.
As it is the expression of the fetus, Ayurveda believes it should be fulfilled unless it’s hazardous to the mother or fetus.
If these urges or desires are suppressed in the mother, there are chances of Vata aggravation which can result in physical or mental abnormality in the child.
From fourth to seventh month, drugs which strengthens the uterine muscles and nourishes the embryo are advised like winter cherry (Withania somnifera), Indian tinospora should be used. Also fruits like oranges, Mangoes, Apples, carrots. Indian gooseberry and leafy vegetables helps in providing nourishment to uterine tissues.
From seventh month on wards there should be less fat and salt in diet. It is advisable to take thin gruel, green gram etc. in diet.
In short fully cooked, easily digestible food with proteins and vitamins are ideal during pregnancy period.
Ayurveda also advises to reduce the intake of fish during pregnancy. Predominant use of one taste in large quantity is also contraindicated.
What happens if a single taste is taken in predominance?
- Sweet – Baby will be fat and may develop diabetes.
- Sour – Skin diseases, diseases of eyes and allergies.
- Salty – Hair become white early, graying hairs, wrinkles on the skin.
- Pungent – Weak and may cause infertility
- Bitter – Weak and dry.
A proper diet and regimen will help mother to have a happy pregnancy and baby to lead a healthy life in future.
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Article prepared by Dr. Arya Krishna, BAMS
Image Courtesy : Marcos Moraes in Unsplash