Ayurveda & Pregnancy: Importance of Self Care
In conventional medicine, when a woman thinks she is pregnant, she goes to the doctor, is given a pregnancy test and her blood pressure, pulse rate, and weight are checked. Then she is advised to eat a generally healthy diet and to take some prenatal vitamins. In both my pregnancies, I remember thinking how this prenatal advice doesn’t give any specific recommendations for maintaining a happy and healthy pregnancy.
In Ayurveda, it has been recognized for thousands of years that the mother must be very happy and feel harmony with nature during pregnancy.
For this, various steps and key practices have been recognized. One is the social environment, which means that the family tries to keep momma happy, especially the husband! The Ayurvedic tradition says, “Let her hear good news, let her hear harmonious music, let her eat sweet foods, let her attend monthly celebrations to always keep her uplifted and nourished.”
Modern scientific research shows that if there is stress, grief, sorrow, or depression, those negative emotions most definitely affect the growth of the baby. The baby could be born with a lower birth weight, or the baby could be less happy.
When the mother is not as happy or settled during pregnancy, the newborn child experiences more colic, more crying, more sleep problems.
Here are some Ayurvedic ways a mother can include self-care during pregnancy:
1. The Vedic texts recommend adding more sattvic foods to the diet, which means pure, easily-digested foods that nourish the dhatus (tissues) of the mother and the unborn child. These include foods such as milk, rice, wheat, ghee (clarified butter), fresh vegetables, fruits and grains. Sattvic foods do not cause constipation or indigestion, and they create a more settled state of mind.