Ayurveda is a highly developed philosophy. Its concepts are not only health related but as a whole uplift human civilization, to make a healthy vibrant society, and such a society is known as supraja (healthy citizens). In order to achieve this goal, ayurveda has advocated a regime for pregnant women, called garbhini paricharya (antenatal care).
Charak samhita states
‘Evam kurvati hi arogya-bala-varna-samvahana-sampadam upetam jnatinam shreshtam apatyam janayati’
If a pregnant woman is taken care of as advised, she will give birth to a child who does not have any diseases – a healthy, physically strong, radiant and well nourished baby. He will be superior to all in the race.
With certain dietary changes rishi (scientist in modern medicine) charak has advised to take specific herbs during pregnancy.
Monthly clinical assessment by a physician (its only 3 times in our modern allopathic medicine), with change in life style, dresscode, activities, social and religious activities.
Advice on nutrition:
In the first two months cold sugared milk, cream and butter are advised. During the third and fourth months, ghee is advised apart from all other items in view of brain development. Other important things of the congenial diet for pregnant women are sixty day rice, wheat, barley, soups of beans, lentils and flesh of forest dwelling animals (but not of domesticated ones), green vegetables, roots of lotus, sugar, nuts, til oil, linseed and musturd oils. They all are highly nutritious.
Various religious ceremonies like garbha samskar etc to be performed during pregnancy is to essentially relive the pregnant woman from stress and give her elevated status of women.
They should avoid wearing red colored clothes as red adds to violent behavior (every color has a different impact on the mind and body’s constituents)
Ayurveda advices not giving extra iron supplements, unless the pregnant woman is anemic as this will lead to reduced absorption of zinc and zinc is very important for immunity. Iron and zinc compete in intestine for their absorption. Black sesame seeds are a good source of zinc.
Herbs advised during pregnancy are:
Aspargus racemosus, ipomoea digitata, emblica offcianalis. They all are rich in beta carotene, vit-a , vit-c.
Glycerrhiza glabra, sida cordifolia, ipomoea digitata, trapa bispinosa – they are high in calcium, potassium, magnesium, and manganese respectively. Withania somnifera, ipomoea digitata contain zinc, iodine and iron.
Dr. Hiren Parekh