The journey of the man begins in the womb of the mother. The pregnancy is a life changing event for both the mother and child and it leaves a huge impact for rest of their lives. Garbini or pregnant lady is said to be carrying two lives in one body. As this tiny new human body starts growing inside the womb it depends entirely on the mother for its nourishment. Ayurveda says that the purusha or human body grow from the ahara rasa or the food. So the food and actions of the mother should be in such a way that it caters to the need of mothers well being and the growth and development of the foetus.
The garbiniparicharya or the antenatal care in ayurveda has three important parts.
- Garbhasthpaka – Protection and maintenance of the garbha or the foetus
- Garbhopaghathabavakas – Avoidance of diet and actions that may harm the pregnancy
- Masanumasaprakriya – Monthly regimen that should be followed throughout the pregnancy
As a general rule the physicians are cautioned to handle the first and last trimester of pregnancy very carefully. Ayurveda describes specific rules regarding the diet, activities, behaviour, mental activity of the pregnant lady.
The first three weeks of pregnancy is very crucial because it involves some of the most important events of the foetus such as embryo formation, cleavage, implantation and formation of germ layer.Therefore the stress is laid on stabilising the pregnancy and nurturing the uterus of the mother. The ancients texts mentions that medicines and treatments of any kind should be avoided till the fourth month of pregnancy as it affects the organogenesis. Any medicine can influence in the formation of embryo and chances of teratogenicity increases.
Only those food were allowed that doesn’t disturb the organogenesis and strengthens the embryo. Liquid foods such as desi milk rich in folic acid are given. Milk and milk products balances vata and pitta and increases kapha that helps in the development of embryo.
Certain herbs mentioned in the monthly regimen is used along with the food. They function as garbhastapaka dravya or that which stabilizes and maintains the pregnancy.
The second important part in the antenatal care is to avoid things that are contraindicated in pregnancy. These factors can affect the mother mental and physical health and cause harm to foetus. The garbhapathaka factors mentioned in the texts are
- Excessive sex particularly during early and late pregnancy
- Overeating or fasting
- Sleeping during the day time and staying up late at night
- Tight clothes and tight belts
- Witnessing or listening to things which give rise to feelings of sorrow, anger, horror or agony
- Travelling in a vehicle on rough roads , travel in speeding vehicles
- Squatting for a long time or sitting in an uncomfortable position or on a hard surface
- Excessive exercise, Lifting heavy things or remaining in a bending position for a long time
- Sleeping in supine position
- Oleation massage etc. unless positively indicated
- Beholding natural urges unless in an emergency
- Dry, stale, fermented, heavy, hot or strong food, alcohol and meat (fish is allowed)
- Predominant use of one taste in large quantity
- Visiting abandoned and remote places
- Leaning into a deep well
If she takes excess
- Sweet – Baby will be fat and may develop diabetes
- Sour – Skin diseases, diseases of eyes and allergies
- Salty – Hair become white early, graying hair wrinkles on the skin
- Pungent – Weak and may cause infertility
- Bitter – Weak and dry
It is a known factor that the environmental factors affects the geome. Those factor that affect the psycho somatic health of the mother is to be prevented.
One of the unique way of ensuring the proper nourishment of the baby is following the manasanumasa prakriya mentioned by the ancient teachers of Ayuraveda.
This monthly regimen as well as the lifestyle is very potent antenatal care which can be even scientifically explained. This helps in
- Softening of cervix, pelvis, waist, sides of the chest and back
- Downward movement of vata (vataanulomana) – this is needed for the normal expulsion of foetus during delivery
- Normalization of the urine and stool and their elimination with ease
- Promotion of strength and complexion
- Delivery with ease of a healthy child endowed with excellent qualities in proper time