Pregnancy and subsequent delivery are a life-changing experience for every woman. She goes through a lot of changes – emotional, psychological and physical. Her body takes the most impact, and while the physical changes are visible to the naked eye, there is significant transformation going on within her, which cannot be seen.
A woman loses a lot of fluid and blood and goes through tremendous physical pain and stress during delivery, especially when it is natural birth. At this stage, the body is weak and delicate and requires rest and healing. Ayurveda understands the need for specialised care both during pregnancy and post-delivery, and recommends special postnatal care/ postpartum care, for recovery.
Effective postnatal care in Ayurveda involves unique treatments that help in the restoration of fluids and blood loss during delivery, with a focus on quicker recovery and healing. Postnatal care in Ayurveda also aims to boost metabolism and digestion and create a Vata balance and support lactation.
Ayurveda for Postnatal care
The first forty-two days post-delivery are crucial for a new mother. This is a period wherein she and her new-born bond together. It is a period where she needs rest, to allow her body to heal and rejuvenate. Things don’t always go as planned; some women go into depression and experience physical and emotional upheavals postpartum. After-delivery care in Ayurveda with health care tips from an expert is an effective mechanism to cope with all these issues.
Childbirth creates an imbalance in Vata, which can be rectified through the recovery therapies prescribed in Ayurveda. Hindusthan Ayurveda, one of the best after delivery Ayurvedic treatment centre in Trivandrum offers postnatal care packages designed after ancient Ayurvedic wisdom. The treatments involved gives women time to rest and recover.
Ayurvedic postnatal care focuses on three prime issues:
- Balancing the Vata dosha
- Healing and revitalizing Shukra Dhatu (reproductive tissues)
- Encouraging lactation channels to function properly (stanya vaha srota)
Ayurveda recommends that women follow specific routines and therapies for postpartum healing:
- Dinacharya: The Sanskrit term Dinacharya translates to ‘daily routine’. Ayurveda suggests that new mothers adopt certain practices as part of their routines. Simple measures such as a few minutes of meditation, pranayama or breathing exercise and energetic imagery can go a long way in healing.
While short, slow walks are recommended, after the second week of childbirth, excessive exertion or physical activity and yoga should be avoided for the first 42 days, post-delivery. This practice helps in balancing Vata.
Other routines recommended in Ayurveda include wearing an eye mask and covering the head and ears while sleeping. And the application of a little Brahmi oil on the crown of the head, every morning to boost recovery. Practising Prana and Apana hand mudras are highly beneficial.
Ayurveda treatments recommend massages (Abhyanga). These warm oil massages have therapeutic benefits for the new mom. The postnatal herbal oil massages are invigorating – they relax the body, soothe tired muscles and support healing, and prevent stretch marks.
Herbal massages are followed by special baths, where herb-infused water is used for bathing. The bath relaxes and rejuvenates the body and boosts physical strength.
Consuming blends of herbal tea helps in the recovery of muscle tissues and the reproductive system. Intake of Dashamula tea, twice a day, forms part of the Ayurveda postnatal care. The potent herbal concoction stimulates Apana Vayu, which controls bodily waste (urine flow and feces).
Herbal powder (churana) is to be taken three times a day, with some lukewarm water. The medicinal powder is a mixture of various herbs, namely, Shatavari, ashwagandha, Guduchi, bhringraj, and saunf. The mix of herbs offers multiple benefits. It stimulates Ojas and invigorates the reproductive system. It helps with the reduction of stress, boosts energy levels, helps build tissues and induces sleep. The churana balances the Pitta, and Vata doshas and improves digestion and enhances milk production.
Ayurveda postnatal programs are incomplete without support and guidance on breastfeeding. According to Ayurveda a decoction of saunf (fennel) and methi (fenugreek) seeds taken regularly improves the production of milk, in lactating mothers. Ayurveda practitioners prescribe herbal tablets and powders that boost lactation. Besides, breast massage, using herbal ointments enhance the functioning of mammary glands (stanyavaha srota).
Diet plays a significant role in postnatal care, as it nourishes the body and heals it from within. The postpartum diet must be simple, consisting of nutritious, easy to digest foods.
Here is a lowdown on a postnatal diet, as recommended in Ayurveda:
- A wholesome meal for new mothers would include yellow moong beans, prepared in cow ghee, using mild spices, served with white basmati rice and cooked vegetables on the side.
- In a few days, when the digestive health and metabolism (Agni) improve, the new mother can introduce other legumes and grains to her diet. However, care should be taken to this slowly.
- It is best to avoid foods that increase Vata. Dry and crunchy foods and raw fruits and vegetables are to be avoided or consumed in limited quantities.
- Ayurvedic diet for new mothers, especially those nursing their new-borns, suggests eating more healthy food categorised as having a sweet quality. Roughly 60 – 70 % of the food on the plate, of the new mom, must comprise of foods having the sweet property. Rice, grains, legumes and sweet vegetables are to be eaten.
- Eating dry dates (chuara) soaked in cow ghee or turned into a nourishing drink using raw cow milk is an excellent way for boosting milk production.
- Finally, staying hydrated is essential. Drinking water(saunf infused) is good.
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