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AYURVEDA has a well-documented description of caring for pregnant women, called Garbhini Paricharya.

The regimen prescribes practices for each month and stage of pregnancy. These systems are, in fact, diligently followed as traditional practices in innumerable households even today. Garbhini Paricharya prescribes ahara (diet), vihara (lifestyle) and vichara (thought process) to be followed during pregnancy as these have a direct effect on the mother and the child. Of these, wholesome diet is given great importance as it aids foetal growth, maternal health and lactation after childbirth. Great care is also recommended during the first three months and after the completion of the seventh month of pregnancy. During the first three months of pregnancy, the foetus is in a formative stage. During this stage, the embryo is nourished directly by upsnehan (percolation). Therefore, more liquid diets such as fruits with juice content, coconut water, milk are recommended. While milk and a light diet is recommended during the first month; in the second and third months, milk medicated with life-building herbs such as Vidari, Shatavari (Asparagus), Yashtimadhu (Licorice) and Brahmi are prescribed along with honey and ghee. Brahmi helps in calming the nerves and is also a good prajasthapan (sustainer of pregnancy). Garbhini Paricharya considers milk an ideal constituent of diet for pregnant women as it is a source of calcium, lactose and butter fat. Milk also has moderate amounts of protein with anabolic properties that give strength. Ayurveda is particular that pregnant women should not get constipation. While mild laxatives and enema is recommended if there is a tendency to constipation, it is found that usually, milk alone is sufficient to cope with the constipation. Towards the end of the third month, the foetus starts showing distinct development and sensory perceptions. Motor reactions start developing and heartbeat can also be heard. The fourth month sees the formation of dhatus (tissues) in the foetus. In the fifth month, blood and muscles are formed. In the sixth month, fatty tissue is formed. In the seventh month, foetal growth is complete. Foetal organs are well formed and acquire strength by the sixth and seventh months. Skin, hair and nails are also noticed at this stage. Medicated ghee is recommended as a nutritional supplement to the diet. The embryo gets its nourishment through the umbilical cord. Rice, milk, butter and ghee along with fruits and leafy vegetables are recommended. This is useful for foetal growth, for maternal health and for further lactation. As per Ayurveda, pregnancy is the time to consume nutritional food substances like urad dal and amla. From the fourth to the seventh month, medicinal supplements such as Ashwagandha, Kraunch beej and Guduchi (Shindilkodi in Tamil, Gulancha in Bengali). Aswagandha and guduchi are given to strengthen the uterine muscles and also to nourish the embryo. These also help in the prevention of intrauterine growth retardation. Fat, salt and water should be reduced in the diet from the seventh month onwards. Rice kanji with ghee is a recommended diet. Small amounts of basil can be taken as anti-spasmodic. Herbs such as Gokshura and Sariba, which are mild diuretics and urinary antiseptics, can also be taken. Ayurveda advises certain concoctions (available in Ayurvedic pharmacies) during pregnancy, for the growth of the foetus and for the health of the mother. Ghrita preparations (medicated ghee) like Phala Sarpis can be taken from the first month of pregnancy. Dadimadi Ghritham improves the growth of the foetus while Kalyanaka Ghritham improves mental growth. These concotions can be taken from the seventh month of pregnancy. In addition, Sukhaprasava Ghritham helps in easy delivery of the baby. These Ghrita preparations can be included as an integral part of the diet, during pregnancy. Interestingly, the suggested Ayurvedic diet correlates to modern nutrition recommended for pregnant women such as high protein, vitamins and minerals.

Ayurveda, a holistic way of living, discusses the details of pregnancy under Garbhini Vyakaran. Father to be''s health too to be taken care as the reproductive tissues are to be nourished well and toxins are flushed out, so that an optimum fertilization can occur. Pregnant women has to be more careful during the first three months, as it is formative stage and after seventh month i.e, last stage of her

pregnancy. Foetus and mother are attached by a cord called rasvaha nadi (matenal part of the placenta) which helps in carrying the ahararasa-virya (nutrition) from the mother to the foetus It gets nourished by rasa by the process of attracting moisture (upasneha) and osmosis (upasweda) The food intake gets refined until it is transformed to the nutritional eggs and sperms. Doshas control the mensuration cycle, which should be 26-30 days cycle, 5 days, moderate flow and colour without any clots or discomfort. Kapha phase is from the end of bleeding until the ovulation, and it builds the endometrium and also restore ths health to body and prepares it for conception. Pitta phase is from ovulation till period starts. This prepares endometrium for implantation of the egg to be fertilsed and breasts to secrete milk. It is in this phase one under goes a high emotional overload. Vata phase occurs throughout the period, is. apna vayu regulates the downward movements in the body and it helps in the flow during mensration and also helps during the delivery. Above ayurvedic concepts clearly explains that if one has to ensure a fertility, then the doshas are to be balanced and normalised. Any imbalance in doshas will lead to problem in conceiving. It recommends yogic practice and a nutritious diet to calm the doshas thereby strengthening the body and relaxing the mother and thereby indirectly benefiting the baby. Ayurveda, a science of life, advises that the health of the pregnant women to be taken care, so that she is able to withstand the strain of labour and also give birth to a healthy offspring. It advises mother-to be, to take certain herbs to be taken during each month of pregnancy. Milk decoction is one among them and it has to be drunk everyday before going to bed. It is prepared by mixing 15gms of the monthly advised herb/200mls milk/800mls water then boil it and reducing it to 1/4th the quantity. First month - 8 flg leaf buds boiled in milk and then strained for three consecutive days - For the rest of the month the milk decoction with Bala (Sida rhombifolia) - Guarantees a healthy child Second month - Milk decoction with the herb Lakshmana (Ipomeoa sepiaria) - Sonitamrtam (tonic) is given - Provides energy Third month - Milk decoction is with Solanum melenginum (Bruhati) Fourth month

- Milk decoction with Desmodium gangeticum (Shaliparni) - Prevents intrauterine growth retardation Fifth month - Milk decoction with Amrita (Tinospora cordifolia) Sixth month - Milk decoction is with Solanum xanthocarpum (Kantakari) - if there is water retention problem then Tribulus Terrestris may be given Seventh month - Milk decoction along with Hordeum vulgare(yava) - Sukha prasava Ghee is given to pave a way for an easy delivery Eight month - Maerua oblongiflia and milk is given - Dhanwantaram 101 or Ksheerabala 101 is taken - Lubricates the reproductive channels in preparation for childbirth Ninth month - Milk decoction with Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari) during this month During pregnancy, women may undergo cramps, sleeplessness for which medicated oils like Dhanwantharam, Sahacharadi, Pinda tail are used. This ensures peripheral circulation too. To have a normal delivery medicated ghee like sukhaprasoothi ghrita is given.

Pregnancy and childbirth have great significance in the life of a woman. During this period, a woman needs great care and attention from her family members. Ayurveda prescribes some set of rules which are very important for every pregnant woman. It contains various details related to ahara [nutrition], vihara [lifestyle] and vichara [thought process] which women have to follow at the different stages of pregnancy. Eat food that is mild, easy to digest and maintain regular meal timings. It is better to avoid spicy foods, sexual intercourse, heavy exercises, fall or trauma, weight loss programmes, negative feelings, difficult postures like balancing on one leg or squatting and exposure to unhappy or violent events.

General advice
Here are some general guidelines for the wellbeing of the mother and foetus: Do not tie a tight knot over the abdomen. Do not use heavy blankets or place them over the abdomen. Do not change your sleeping position from left side to right side or vice-versa without getting up. Keep both thighs together while sitting. Sleep sideways instead of sleeping on the back.

Month-wise regime
First month
A pregnant woman should take natural supplements like draksha, khajoor, manooka, and vidari with milk [cold/room temperature] in the morning. For the first 12 days, have ghee [prepared from cows milk] boiled with leaves of saliparni herb. It is important to have this preparation in a vessel made of precious metals like gold or silver. After that, have water that is boiled and cooled. Your breakfast should comprise sweet, cold and semi-solid foods. Women tend to start taking a massage or reverse massage from this month. However, massages are to be avoided till the fifth month.

Second month
Have milk mixed with the above-mentioned natural supplements.

Third month
Have the same sweet natural supplements, but now mix them with milk, honey and ghee.

Fourth month
Continue taking the same sweet supplements with milk. This time replace ghee with butter [12 15g of makkhan] made from milk.

Fifth month
Continue the supplement regime of the fourth month. Oil application and gentle massage followed by a bath with lukewarm water is recommended. Continue this till delivery.

Sixth month
Continue the supplement regime of the fifth month.

Seventh month
Mothers-to-be may feel an itchy sensation on the breast and abdomen or a burning sensation in chest or throat due to increased size of foetus. Eat food in smaller quantities, frequently, and a bite of sweet something with little ghee or oil that is easy to digest. Ensure that your salt intake during this period is reduced to a minimum. Also, avoid drinking water immediately after a meal.

Eighth month
Eat rice prepared with milk in semi-solid or liquid form with ghee.

Ninth month
Follow the same diet as in the eighth month. Apply oil on the abdomen and genital areas. Take an oil enema in small quantities to help ease false labour pains. You can even insert cotton ball dipped in oil into the vagina to lubricate the passage. Be particular about maintaining hygiene to avoid infection, which cause itchiness or swelling of the genital area. Have a healthy baby. Special care If youre pregnant, you need a lot of emotional support along with physical care. You should not harbour any negative thoughts such as sorrow, grief, anger, fear and doubt. These hamper the mental and physical growth of the foetus. So, try to stay as happy as you can by exposing yourself to happy circumstances, people and things. And surround yourself with close friends and relatives who support and care for you during this special time of your life. As far as physical care is concerned, refrain from sitting on hard surfaces, sitting for long hours, travelling, lifting heavy weights, walking long distancesdoing any tedious activity. These put the foetus at risk. Also avoid staying up too late or sleeping during daytime. You must be in touch with your own body and learn to monitor even minor changes. Though all signals may not mean trouble, there are some signs that require calling the doctor. Some of these warning signals are:

Contractions or crampsmore than five in one hour Bright red blood from your vagina Swelling or puffiness of the face or hands Pain during urination [possible urinary tract, bladder or kidney infection] Sharp or prolonged pain in your stomach [pre-eclampsia signs] Acute or continuous vomiting [pre-eclampsia signs] Sudden gush of clear, watery fluid from your vagina low, dull backache Intense pelvic pressure.

Calcium counts A developing baby needs calcium to have strong bones, teeth, heart, nerves and muscles, and to develop a normal heart rhythm. It plays an important role in developing a good blood clotting mechanism. If a pregnant woman does not get enough calcium from diet, the growing baby takes it from her bones, which may impair the mothers health. A pregnant womans need for calcium goes up in the third trimester, when the babys skeleton is rapidly developing. Although pregnant women may consume more dairy products

like milk and yogurt, they often do not meet their calcium needs through food sources alone. Hence, it is advised that before, during, and after pregnancy, women should take calcium supplements [after consulting their gynaecologist]. In addition, they should have at least 2-3 servings calcium-rich foods like green leafy vegetables, raisins, soybeans, dates, guava and oranges every day.

1st Month

2nd Month 3rd Month 4th Month 5th Ashwagandha, guduchi, Amrita (Tinospora cordifolia Month 6th Ashwagandha, guduchi Month 7th Ashwagandha, guduchi Month Less of Fat, salt and water 8th Less of Fat, salt and water, Ksheerabala 101 Month 9th Less of Fat, salt and water Month All thorough pregnancy: Phala Sarpis ghritham, Dadimadi Ghritham, Kalyanaka Ghritham From 7th Month: Sukhaprasava grihtma

more liquid diets such as fruits with juice content, coconut water, milk , With Milk: Vidari, Shatavari, Yashtimadhu, Brahmi Bala (Sida rhombifolia With Milk: Vidari, Shatavari, Yashtimadhu, Brahmi, Lakshmana (Ipomeoa sepiaria) With Milk: Vidari, Shatavari, Yashtimadhu, Brahmi, Bruhati (Solanum melenginum) Ashwagandha, guduchi, Shaliparni(Desmodium gangeticum)