Yay! You, your friend or family member is pregnant! Congratulations. I have written this guide and am here to assist you through this exciting (and sometimes scary) period of transition and growth.
According to Ayurveda, pregnancy and delivery can be the most rejuvenating experience of a women’s life, during which every cell of the mother’s body can be transformed. Unfortunately, in the west we did not get that knowledge and mothers often pay dearly with health concerns after a pregnancy.
During pregnancy, everything that the mother-to-be touches, smells, tastes, hears and sees has an imprinting influence on the foetus. Her actions not only form various health and physiological features of the future baby, but blueprint and dwell with the unborn human for their whole life which influences their health, even through old age.
That being said, this is a time for the pregnant lady to relax, retreat and do what she desires. There should be minimal restrictions and rules (these are below). She should be treated like a queen (fellas, I know you always do) and follow her desires with little friction.
Alongside this pregnancy plan, we highly recommend couples to do the She Births Birthing Classes. Discount code: vitalveda10
Guidelines for Throughout the Whole Pregnancy
Flood your Life with Sattva
Everything the mum-to-be does should be sattvic for both the mother and child. Sattva is a quality in us that translates to “purity.” If Sattva is increased, then so is our inner stillness, clarity of mind and contentment. Love radiates and flows in abundance, while the hormone oxytocin (also known as the “bonding/loving hormone”) is simultaneously secreting.
Recommendations to enhance sattva in her mind, body and spirit:
- Fresh, seasonal whole-foods cooked with love is sattvic food.
- Create a nourishing and calm environment in your home and avoid stimulating and toxic (rajasic) environments like loud music and polluted air.
- Surround yourself with loving, like-minded people and avoid toxic relationships and people who stress you out.
Self-Oil-Massage - It is always better for the soon-to-be-mum to do self-massage rather than getting done by a practitioner. If you don't feel like it, no need to do self-abhyanga in the first 6 months.
If receiving a massage from a practitioner, it should be a very, very light abhyanga, without touching the belly.
Avoid all treatments from another practitioner in the first trimester and eighth month.
Daily Meditation - The key to a healthy pregnancy and happy mother and baby. The foetus also absorbs her peaceful and alert attitude. Vedic meditation is recommended.
Reduce EMF (Electro-Magnetic-Field) Exposure
Wireless devices emit signals (EMF) that communicate with our mitochondria and cause mitochondrial dysfunction, which is a birth for many diseases. It also generates free radicals, dehydrates our body and thrashes our adrenal stress index. You definitely don’t want to expose your vulnerable foetus to EMFs. Mainstream medicine already knows this by restricting x-rays etc., but has not yet realised the danger of wireless devices like mobile phones, laptops, wifi etc.
Ways to Reduce EMF
- Turn your wifi, smart TVs, mobile phone off at night and when you are not using them.
- Whenever your mobile phone is near your body, keep it on aeroplane mode.
- Avoid high density EMF environments that are like being in a microwave. Offices for example.
- Purchase Belly Armour - a comfy shielding material to wear when you're out and about.
- Neutralise nnEMFs with grounding in nature - barefoot on earth, walking on beach, swimming in natural bodies of ocean.
Unnecessary excess radiation. Studies show they do not improve birth outcomes. Get one mid-pregnancy, at 22 weeks to check body parts.
Studies showed flight attendants had a double chance of miscarriages because of the dense radiation exposure. Also, flying is probably the number one activity that aggravates vata the most.
Sleep On Your Left Side
Best to not sleep during the day, as proper night time sleep is essential.
Listen to Vedic Chants
Primordial sounds vibrate to the foetus to enliven desired aspects of consciousness. The vedic sounds also increase Sattva in the pregnant lady. Some good chants to listen to are the Bhagavad Gita and Hanuman mantras.
The major theme during pregnancy is to balance vata, the energy of the nervous system. This is because the growth of the foetus and the process of giving birth is governed by Apana-Vata, the downward moving Sub-dosha of Vata. In cases of stress and tiredness, the upward-moving vata – called prana vata – has to step in and is redirected downward to support the needs of the baby. Lack of prana means lack of joyful feelings of pregnancy, which can leave the mum exhausted, depleted, tired and even depressed postpartum.
The key to balance vata is:
- Warmth (warm, cooked, nourishing foods, warm climate)
- Regularity (regular sleep times, meal times, meditation, regular bowel motions etc.)
- Rest - As much as possible. Times are designated to carry out work, travel or anything that requires strain (5th and 6th month).
All the recommendations in this article balance vata.
All 3 of your doshas are aggravated by the significant transition of pregnancy.
Correcting imbalances while pregnant is much easier than once the child is born! Of course it would be ideal if the woman could balance the doshas before conception.
DIET and HERBS
Foods to Avoid Throughout the Whole Pregnancy
- Papaya - Excess downward movement (Vata anulomana) and too much heat.
- Pineapple - Certain enzymes which cause miscarriage and too much heat.
- Undercooked meat (beef and pork) - A risk of contracting toxoplasmosis, parasitic disease that can infect the baby and produce many symptoms that vary from premature delivery and low birth weight, to malformations and mental retardation.
- Raw and undercooked foods, especially leafy greens, beans and lentils.
- Raw Fish and Seafood - includes sushi and all shellfish. Some bacteria like listeria and some parasites like anisakis can be found in contaminated seafood; they produce an intestinal infection, which can lead to dehydration. Fever and dehydration during pregnancy can be linked to abortion or preterm birth.
- Seafood High in Mercury - The bigger and older the fish, the more likely that it’s contaminated with mercury. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages pregnant women to avoid swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, pregnant women shouldn't exceed two seafood meals per week.
- Raw Eggs - Can be contaminated with harmful bacteria, especially salmonella, which can produce a severe intestinal infection that leads to high fever and dehydration, which can be harmful for the baby. Avoid all products that may contain raw eggs, such as homemade dressings, mayonnaise, and eggnog.
- Caffeine - you should not exceed 200 mg per day. Caffeine is a stimulant, and it may increase your heart rate and your blood pressure, both of which are not recommended during pregnancy. It crosses the placenta to your baby, increasing it's heart rate as well. This has been linked to prematurity, miscarriage, and low birth weight. A cup of coffee may contain anywhere from 150 to 400 mg of caffeine, depending on the type and brew.
- Hot spicy foods.
- Artificial flavours, preservatives and chemical additives.
- Left-overs - Opposite to sattvic food (tamasic).
- Excess honey - Too heating.
- Shodana Vati / Triphala / Laxatives / Excess detox foods/herbs - Laxative herbs that cause vata anulomana should strictly be avoided in the first trimester, and also avoided for the rest of pregnancy.
Foods to Avoid Part of the Pregnancy
- Hing (Asafoetida) - Avoid in first trimester. Vata anulomana and sharp quality, breaks stagnation. Also no external application.
- Turmeric - For the first 6 months for those sensitive like older pregnant ladies and those prone to miscarriages. A little turmeric is fine but excess is too heating.
- Raisins in excess.
Other than the foods to avoid, don’t restrict yourself too much and honour cravings.
Remember, you are eating for two body types, so you should not follow a strict diet for one body type. Honour your unique cravings in moderation, especially from the fourth month when the cravings you experience are more likely those of the baby.
- Sweet taste - It is the most sattvic or wholesome for the baby. Dates, fresh breads cooked without oils, whole grains, rice, fruits, quinoa, cooked beetroot, carrot, sweet potato, hot milk, porridge.
- Ghee, coconut oil.
- Hot milk - one of the most nourishing, immunity boosting and ojas building foods.
- Almonds soaked overnight then peeled the following day.
Tips to Help with Constipation during Pregnancy
It is important to have daily morning bowel motions during pregnancy.
- Eat citrus fruits like oranges and mandarins.
- Lots of cooked leafy greens.
- Psyllium husk is okay after first trimester, but consult a good practitioner regarding psyllium.
Herbs Indicated During Pregnancy
Morning sickness happens because the foreign body (foetus) changes the hormones and system. Some people are not compatible with this.
This does not mean you are unhealthy, in fact, it is traditionally believed morning sickness makes a baby more stronger and helps it survive.
- Madiphal rasayana - A fruity liquid Ayurvedic preparation that you take a small sip of whenever nausea is there. (Pictured).
- Citrus fruits like lime.
- Honey + ginger.
- Cut the skin of unripe green lemon with your finger nail and sniff it.
- Clove, fennel and ajwain powder mixed in equal quantities with unheated honey. (little less ajwain ).
Month-By-Month Pregnancy Insight
First Trimester: Extra Careful
This month is the riskiest for miscarriage. Therefore follow all the rules and diet advice more strictly including lots of rest and avoiding stress, work, travel and sex.
Keep it a secret - Mainly for those who are first time pregnant or have been unsuccessful with conceiving or miscarriages. Ayurveda recommends this to avoid bad energy from external people, known as Dristi Dosha (“Bad Eye”).
Prop the foot end of your bed up 8cm to that you are on a slight tilt towards your head. This helps prevent miscarriage.
Pumsavana Ayruvedic nasal therapy can be given in the second month to strengthen the foetus and the mother's ability to carry.
4th Month: Dhauhrda (“Two Hearts”)
According to Ayurveda, in the fourth month the foetus’s heart is endowed with consciousness and the senses are said to develop.
This month is known as “Dhauhrda,” which means two hearts. This is because through the arteries, the heart of the foetus is connected with that of the mother. Thus, through these vessels (dhamanis), the feelings of the foetus is transferred to the mother. The mother may feel unusual desires during this period, which are probably the desires of the child. It is advisable to give a pregnant woman whatever she desires.
During this month the women should never sleep during the day as proper night sleep is essential.
By the end of this month, the foetus is about 8-10 inches in length and weighs 200 grams or more. The mother will probably start to “show” now. The ears are functioning, and there is evidence that the foetus hears quite a bit; the mother’s voice and heartbeat as well as external noise. The umbilical cord has become an engineering marvel, transporting 280L of fluids per day and completing a round-trip of fluids every 30 seconds.
Anguli (finger), Jathara (GIT) and Katipradesha (pelvic regions) forms in the foetus.
5th and 6th Month: Lenient Time
If you have to work or have sex during pregnancy, this is the time. During sex woman should be on their back only and do not strain abdomen.
You may start Yoni Pichu this month if vata (dryness) is high in the vagina, but please consult a quality practitioner before this.
- End of 5th month - Complete formation of Prusta Vamsa (vertebral column). Why Susruta samhita described to perform Upaveshan samskara (string belt) at 5th months in infants.
- During 6th month - Mukha (face), nasika (nose), srota (ear), bones and cartilages are formed.
- From the 6th month, the Buddhi (intelligence) starts to form so whatever you stress or actions you perform, you will give this to the baby.
- Oil and sweat glands are functioning.
- The delicate skin of the growing baby is protected from the foetal waters by a special ointment called “vernix.” If the baby were born in the month and given the proper care, he would survive.
7th Month: Nearly there
This month is in maintenance mode for a meticulous part of the pregnancy: the 8th month.
The baby now uses the four senses of vision, hearing, taste and touch. They can recognise his mother's voice.
8th Month: Vital Time for Increased Rest
The 8th month is very delicate. Where the subtle nutrient fluid called “Ojas,” that supports vitality and immunity, is transferred from foetus to the mother and back and forth.
This process should not be disturbed as it can leave the baby without or with low Ojas.
Thus, you need to get as much rest as possible and avoid what you are meant to avoid and enhance sattva.
- The skin begins to thicken, with a layer of fat stored underneath for insulation and nourishment.
- Antibodies increasingly build up.
- The baby absorbs a3.7L) of amniotic fluid per day; the fluid is completely replaced every three hours.
9th Month: It's Coming!
Foetus Completely Developed:
This month the foetus is endowed with all characters and attains complete development. It can remember it's previous birth (purvajanma) which influences the quality of development.
The baby's heart is pumping 300 gallons of blood per day. They are fully capable of life outside the womb.
Research studies have concluded that an easy birth is highly dependant on a relaxed mind. Thus, surrendering the process of labour is key to a quick birth, as well as meditation.
Soak an organic tampon in Yoni Ghee and then insert into vagina.
This softens and relaxes cervix.
Leave overnight or half the night. Changing it over once is good. Can do every 2-3 nights.
You can start this practice called yoni pichu at 37 weeks pregnant.
Pregnancy Ghee (Sukha Prasava Ghritam)
Literally meaning "Easy to Deliver Ghee", this medicated ghee helps prepare the body for birth and to quicken the delivery and make it smoother.
Dose: 2tsp 2x/day before meals or with hot milk.
Also, massage on belly in clockwise motion during labour for easier delivery.
Small Nourishing Enemas "Matra Basti"
Matra Bastis can be given every second day for women that are healthy.
25ml before sleep and retain to absorb. This is to reduce the vata, strengthen the system and nourish the foetus with another lubricating fluid that is medicated.
*Only quality matra basti oil should only be used such as Vital Veda's/Raju's Special Matra Basti Oil or Deva 21 Oilor Special Phala Ghee.
How to bring on labour (if not coming)
- Abdominal massage - Using a medicated ghee called “Sukha Prasava Ghritam” or normal ghee or coconut oil (inferior), apply the ghee on the stomach and massage slowly and lightly in a clockwise direction downward towards the vagina.
- Ensure you are taking Sukha Prasava Ghritam (“easy to deliver ghee”).
- Eggplant parmigiana has been reported to bring on labour effectively for many woman.
- Eat more cumin and leafy vegetables.
Postpartum, after the baby has exited the womb, is perhaps the most important time to implement Ayurvedic interventions and practices to rejuvenate mum and ensure proper nutrient and immune accumulation for the baby.
We highly recommend couples to do the She Births Birthing Classes and pregnancy support. Discount code: vitalveda10
- The Raju family
- Foetal development - Paippalada’s GARBHOPANISHAD, A brief treatise on emberyo and fetus, translated by Dr. Durga Prasad Dash