THE FORGOTTEN WOMB POST – PREGNANCY !
Pregnancy and childbirth can be seen as positive signs of womanhood. In Ayurvedic practices, it’s viewed as a time when women can nurture themselves within the context of nature. Pregnancy causes changes in the body, from weight gain to shifts in the levels of sex hormones, which can create imbalances and increase stress levels.
Like the nine months spent safely in utero, the postpartum period can be equally as safe and beneficial for mothers and their newborns. Although many women do receive quality postpartum care immediately after birth and some do not, it is important to know that this time period is a crucial opportunity to receive quality, holistic care that not only supports physical healing and bonding with the baby but can also help prepare one’s own body to begin menstruating again.
After 9 months of pregnancy, a new mother often feels like she hasn’t had enough rest. Time alone to recover is a vital component of the postnatal phase, especially in the first few weeks after giving birth when everything has settled down. The demand on her body has decreased significantly, but she still needs to get plenty of rest and relaxation. But all too often new mothers are misunderstood, and they feel that no one understands how tired they are. They need to hear the things you say more than ever before: “It’s OK; you already did so much growing someone else inside your body.”
While many people understand the powerful bond that exists between a mother and child, there are very few who are aware of the amount of care necessary after birth. As per modern medical science, the puerperium i.e. post-natal period begins as soon as the placenta is expelled and lasts for approximately 6 weeks when the uterus becomes regressed almost to the non-pregnant size. In puerperium, any complications can occur as it’s said in Ayurveda about 80 types of diseases can happen in this period if not managed.
Having a baby is one of the most exciting things that can happen to you and your partner. Even though you haven’t taken guidance from a Garbhasanskar Expert for the process of family planning to pregnancy care firsthand, I would like to remind you about the importance of being informed and knowing what it takes to make a healthy and happy baby’s mother!
Postpartum is known as a time of adjustment both mentally and physically; every woman feels like she has been hit by an immense force coming at her from all angles. It’s manageable; but only if you know ahead of time what you’re in store for! Like any natural process, the act of giving birth involves a period of healing. The postpartum period begins with your baby’s birth and ends when your body has done nearly all its physical healing work. During this time, you don’t have to feel bad about feeling tired, having high levels of pain or having a difficult time concentrating. What you’re going through is completely normal. This period is often about six to eight weeks long but its variable depending on the individual experience. As the mother to be, there are many changes that take place for you physically as well as emotionally during this time. You have learned so much in preparation for becoming a new mother but there’s still so much to learn including caring for yourself!
Pregnancy in Ayurveda is known as Sutika Paricharya, or “Post-Pregnancy Management”, and it primarily means careful and delicate pampering for the mother after her delivery. Like the care taken by a chef before preparing a meal for their beloved family and friends, the amount of care taken by the Ayurvedic Garbhasanskar doctor to properly examine a person’s body & mind, to prepare them so they can be healthy. According to the Ayurvedic perspective, Sutika Paricharya refers to antenatal care with the recommendation of Aahara (specific dietary regimen), Vihara (normal daily activities and therapeutic procedure) & modified psychological behaviour. As a result of a Vata imbalance occurring post-delivery, the digestive strength, as well as immunity and energy levels were seen as being depleted, therefore requiring vital reductions in stress for preservation and restoration.
Sutika Paricharya is the care of the mother during her puerperium. It is based on the following principles:
- Balancing vitiated Vata
- Kindling the digestive fire strength
- Improving digestion
- Enhancing blood formation
- Improving lactation
- Treating Yoni or vaginal health restoration
- Uterine cleansing
- Full body rejuvenation
The initial period following childbirth, known as the postnatal period, gets its name from being considered the time during which it is optimal to help newborns and their mothers. During this stage of development, women’s digestion, immunity, and strength will be weak because Vata has been accumulated due to delivery. The mother is in a compromised state and care must be taken so as not to cause any imbalance. Careful management ensures that the woman’s body remains strong enough which can make her a full recovery from pregnancy and childbirth.
Women who become pregnant can employ Ayurvedic principles to assist them throughout their pregnancy and aid in the recovery of their body after their baby is delivered. Pregnancy and childbirth, according to Ayurveda, may be a restorative event that is positive. Here are the Ayurvedic principles mentioned in our classics to aid in the recovery and pampering of the newbie mother after the baby is delivered.
- In the first few weeks, you should delegate all chores other than feeding your infant and caring for yourself to someone else.
- If you are nursing, you should drink extra fluids in addition to eating a well-balanced diet.
- Drugs such as Piper longum, Piper longum’s root, Pipe retrofractum, Plumbago zeylanica, Zingiber officinale should be made into powder and mixed with a liquid gruel should be consumed as per the guidance of the Ayurvedic Garbhasanskar expert.
- To soothe Vata, do Abhyanga with Bala (Sida cordifolia) taila followed by Udar veshtana (Abdomen is tightly wrapped with long cotton cloth after bath to help the uterus to shrink back to its normal size.) using a large clean towel. Irrigation or a mild water bath. Yoni is gently massaged together with the body.
- Jangal mamsa rasa or bone broth infused with Vulgaris sativus, Ziziphus mauritiana, and Dolichos biflorus with cooked Shali rice can be started from the seventh or eighth day of delivery till sutikakala or purpurial period.
- Filling the vaginal cavity with oil and massaging it, followed by sudation with hot water, should be done under the supervision of a professional.
The one area of recovery that all women seem to struggle with? Post-pregnant mental health. The postpartum period can be challenging due to a variety of contributing factors as described in the content above. For example, outside of Western cultures, reports on maternal mental health vary greatly because although many clinicians utilize similar clinical criteria when defining a case of depression or anxiety, there are cultural norms and values that inhibit a woman from self-identifying as such.
Care of the Newbie Mommy from an Ayurvedic point of view, notes that the careful and healthy diet, monitoring of activities including meditation & yoga and therapeutic procedures undertaken, need to be modified according to each woman’s unique needs and mental state throughout the pregnancy. At times we can put all we know into this process but at times it just needs to be done a certain way because we have all sorts of factors coming into play as well wherever possible as recommended by nature herself!