Pregnancy is the most important part of a woman’s life. According to WHO, Antenatal care is the routine health control of presumed healthy pregnant women without symptoms (screening) in order to diagnose diseases or complicating obstetric conditions without symptoms and to provide information about lifestyle, pregnancy and delivery.
Ayurveda literature has described about Garbhiniparicharya including month-wise dietary regimen for pregnant women and its effects, Deities and mode of life to be avoided during pregnancy, the effect of the use of contraindicated things by pregnant women. Garbhastapaka drugs i.e., drugs beneficial for the maintenance of pregnancy and so on.
Antenatal care helps to reduce the risk during pregnancy and increase the chance of safe normal delivery. Garbhiniparicharya provides the need for the growing foetus, the maintenance of maternal health, the strength and vitality required for labour and for successful lactation. Inadequate care during this time breaks a critical link in the continuum of care and affects both women and babies.
Acharyas had described dietary regimens to meet increased calorie requirements of pregnant women, Behaviour alteration helps to enhance spirituality, medications and procedures to avoid complications during pregnancy and delivery.
According to Acharya Susrutha, Women from the very first day of pregnancy should remain in the high spirit, pious, decorated with ornaments, wear clean white garments and perform religious rites, do auspicious deeds, worship deities, Brahmanas and priests. Her sleeping and sitting should cover with a soft cushion or mattress, not be very high, possess an elevated upper portion for headrest and should be perfect and very comfortable. She should use palatable liquid sweet and unctuous substances treated with appetizing things. This mode of life should be continued till delivery.
For bathing purposes, the cold decoction of the pulp of bilva, karpasa, petals of a rose, agnimandha, jatamansi. Pounded leaves of eranda should be used or water prepared with sarvagandhadurgs can be used.
Also, it is advised to wear an amulet made of trivrit in her waist.
MONTHWISE DIETARY REGIMEN
Month wise dietary regimen according to different acharyas are compiled here.
Cold milk or processed milk, wholesome food with sweet, cold and liquid nature. Yastimadhu( Glycyrrhiza glabra ) or Parushaka ( Grevia Alssiatica ) with navaneeta ( Butter ) with sweet milk as an adjuvant.
Milk processed with sweet drugs, food which is sweet cold and liquid in nature or milk processed with kakoli ( Roscoe purpura)
Milk processed with honey and ghee, milk processed with madhuraoushadha and sweet, liquid cold food is advised.
Use of Krishara(something like khichadi i.e. rice – 1 part, green pea / black gram/sesame 4 parts water, salt ginger hing etc to taste ) is advised.
Use of milk and butter, processed rice, rice processed with curd and milk. Meat processed with butter which is delicious can be used.
Use of milk and ghee, Shashtika rice cooked with milk. Meat processed with milk and ghee which is delicious can be used.
Milk and ghee are processed with sweet drugs. Ghee is processed with gokshura (tribulus terrestris ) as well as curd with sweet drugs.
Milk and ghee processed with sweet drugs. Ghee processed with vidarigandadi group of drugs use of ghrithakhanda( solid portion of ghee) is advisable.
Rice processed with milk and water and ghee. Do astapanavasti( decoction enema ) followed by anuvasanaVasti ( oil enema ) can also be done.
Unctuous yavagus ( preparation with rice and water) meat of jangala desa animals can be advised till delivery.
AnuvasanaVasti with madhuraoushadhasiddha thaila and the use of pichus in yoni can be done for easy delivery.
By analysing these month-wise dietetics, it is clear that this has been explained to meet the time to time need of pregnant women for maintaining her health, contributing to foetal development according to its need and helping her for uncomplicated timely labour. The mother’s food habits and nutritional status before conception as well as during pregnancy influence the outcome of pregnancy.
In short, the diet for a pregnant lady should be sweet potency, cold, nourishing, wholesome and laxative. When drugs with sweet potency are used it is whole, it increases all the dhatus nourishing, gives stability, good for sense organs, energy-giving etc.
Milk is advised from the first month onwards, it is having a sweet taste, it is unctuous, it reduces vata and pitta, it is aphrodisiac, heavy improves the production of breast milk etc.
Ghee and butter are advised in several months, it is good for improving intellect, digestive fire improves fertility, reduce Vata and pitta have cold potency.
Use of gokshuraghritha is advised in the 6th month. It is having diuretic action as well as helps in the prevention of high blood pressure and reduce oedema in pregnancy.
Medicated enema is advised from the 8th month, which pacifies Vata dosha, removes constipation and also promotes normal vaginal delivery.
The use of meat of jangala desha animals is explained in the 5th and 9th month of pregnancy. Around the 5th month the foetal weight gain starts and muscles are developed so more nourishing food is required. Similarly at the last stage of pregnancy meat is advised to get the strength to the mothers to withstand the whole process of labour.
Yonipichus( use of cotton wick dipped in oil in the vagina ) with oil prepared with sweet drugs is explained in 9th month is for making the vagina and cervix soft to facilitate normal vaginal delivery.
The importance of antenatal care is to monitor pregnancy, reduce risk during pregnancy and identify any problems before they get worsened. When following the diets and regimen of Ayurveda in pregnancy, the chance of getting a healthy baby through normal delivery is very high. Because all dietary needs of mother and foetus according to month is covered as well as the therapeutic procedures and medicines to be taken in normal pregnant women to prevent complication and to ensure a normal vaginal delivery is explained in detail. even though pregnancy and deliveryis not a disease but only a physiological process, garbhinicharya is very helpful to get a healthy child with a healthy mother and proper lactation.