Diet For Women During Post - Natal Care & Herbal Formulations To Get Back in Shape
The most blissful moment for a woman is pregnancy. The anticipation… fear… caution… restraint… a thrilling ride on the emotional roller coaster…!!The anticipation of what is to come, the unknown gender, constant fear of the fetal well being, caution to make it through full term without any trauma, restraining her desires, be it her favorite coffee or the stress relieving cigarette…the list is endless. Motherhood is a symbol of selfless sacrifice which is endeavoured amidst unbearable pain, yet endured with a smile, without a grudge. Parenthood as a whole, brings changes to one's behavior.
A father is no less important. He adapts to a completely different life for the little unborn child. Although he often feels helpless, he takes care of his pregnant wife day and night foregoing sleep, comforts her when she gets morning sickness, pays special attention to her nutrition and what not. Since this is a precarious period of bonding and recuperating from the trial of pregnancy and childbearing, we really should be working more assiduously to lay out solid fundamentals for proper postpartum care. Hence, it should be managed in a careful and apt manner. It is also necessary to maintain a healthy regime to stay in good shape.
What Does Ayurveda Say About Post Natal Care?
Ayurveda has put great prominence on caring for the mother preceding, during and succeeding pregnancy. She is considered the foremost guide of a child & every aspect of his /her development is directly linked with the physical & mental health of the mother.
Since the mother is the only source of nutrition for the child, she has to be looked after with utmost care, especially soon after delivery. As the fetus procures its nutrients from the mother, the 7 dhatus of the mother gets diminished and exhausted as opposed to its usual state. It is attributed to the depletion of fluid & blood and the void generated in the body after the ejection of the fetus from the uterus. This stage is known as 'sutika period'- a term obtained from the word 'prasuta' (mother succeeding delivery). An exceptional regime is suggested for the mother soon after delivery to make up for the depletion of the fluids, dhatus and blood throughout the pregnancy and delivery. The appropriate commitment to this regimen culminates in a speedy recovery.
- (S.Sha. 10:16)
Why is Postnatal Care Important?
According to Ayurvedic literature, soon after the delivery, the digestive power (agni) of the mother weakens and vata dosha vitiates. The 'sutika paricharya' aims at enhancing the digestive fire (agni deepanam), cleaning of yoni, decreasing the vitiated vata and improving lactation (stanya janana).
Proper intake of light and balanced food is encouraged, since deficiency of essential nutrients would lead to excessive fatigue. Thus, to alleviate the aggravated vata, warm oil massages (abhyanga) of the whole body is advised, especially in postnatal care. The perfect duration to attain maximum results is 40 days.
What Do You Know About The Ayurvedic Diet in Postpartum Care?
The obligation of reinstating the mother's diminished nutrient reservoir, falls on the family members, the caregiver and her husband aside from the mother herself. Let's take a glance at Ayurvedic traditional secrets in healing mothers at both physical and psychological levels…!!
The first seven days after delivery, light food and intake of medicated ghee is instructed based on the strength of agni. Ayurvedic herbs which have madhura rasa (sweet in taste), alleviate vata & are jeevaniya (strengthening), are advised from the eighth day onwards. The diet should include cooked rice with meat soup. Take note to include liberal amounts of ghee, milk, grains, fruits and nuts in your food daily. Refrain from consuming radishes, turnips, bitter melon, eggplant, and all kinds of beans for at least 2-3 months after delivery.
Lactating mothers often face the problem of sparse milk formation. It may be caused due to hormonal variance, nutritional deficiencies or anxiety. Shunthi (Zingiber officinale) , garlic (Allium sativum), fenugreek (Trigonella foenumgraecum), chavya (Piper chaba) and pippali moola (root of Piper longum) have been commended in the scriptures as a solution to this. Here's an easy Ayurvedic formula to induce lactation :
Take 1 teaspoon powdered jaggery and add 2 pinches each of ginger (Zingiber officinale ) & turmeric (Curcuma longa) to it. Mix everything well along with 1 teaspoon of ghee (Panchkula ghee is preferred). Make small balls of about 1cm and consume it 2-3 times a day.
Another ailment that is frequently seen in postpartum women is constipation. Its origin can be accredited to increased vata, which commences during pregnancy and may persist long after delivery. Replacing caffeine-based drinks with Ayurvedic recipes like 'Triphala tea' made of 3 fruits, namely Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica) and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) can help cure obstructed bowels.
How Can Ayurvedic Herbal Formulations Help You Get Back in Shape After Child Birth?
Basically, the world expects mothers to get back to normal as soon as possible; do daily chores, welcome lots of visitors and what not! All these factors vitiate vata which is most probably already imbalanced. Hence, Ayurveda encourages mothers to shut out the outside world for about 6-8 weeks; the time taken by the uterus to regain its original shape.
The perineum is generally sore and inflated for about a week or two following delivery, during which period vata is still vitiated. Ayurvedic scriptures have mentioned Ashwagandha-Cardamom Tea, which on drinking twice or thrice a day, can help alleviate vata. Other herbal formulations to help uterus reclaim its shape comprises Dhanwantharam gulika & kashayam, Vidaryadi kashayam, Sukumaram kashayam, Puli kuzhambu, Pancha jeera gulam, Dasamoolarishtam, Jeerakarishtam, Aswagandharishtam, Balarishtam, Dhanwantaram tailam (used externally to balance vata and pitta), Bala thailam (to balance vata and pitta) . All the above mentioned Ayurvedic medications help either in appeasing the aggravated vata due to the void created by expulsion of the fetus, or in reducing the pain after delivery or in strengthening one's body. No matter which function they perform, the ultimate result brings your tummy back to normal !!
Thus the practice of abhyanga (warm oil massage), snana (bathing twice a day in warm water) and yoga helps postnatal women recover faster. Particular attention is to be given to the abdomen and lower back region while executing any of the above, as they bore the brunt force of labor. Belly binding (udarveshtana) is a method which can ensure the repositioning of the organs and muscles. It has proved to be very fruitful in postpartum recovery.
The period of pregnancy and childbirth is that of amelioration, adjustment and one that requires the most tenderness. Postpartum care is risky as it needs you to be selfish, courageous and also to tend to a vulnerable little thing while undergoing an immense modification yourself. It can be fervent and staggering. It can also be a blessing if you handle it well, while maintaining frontiers and rational expectations.
Now cuddle your newborn without a care in the world and happy snuggling!!