Ayurvedic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

A woman with her hands over her pregnant belly

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.

Learn how to do Self-Oil-Massage here

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.

Abhyanga oil massage as a good alternative for hand soap

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.

Reduce Ultrasounds

Unnecessary excess radiation. Studies show they do not improve birth outcomes. Get one mid-pregnancy, at 22 weeks to check body parts.

 

Reduce Aeroplanes

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.

Balance Vata

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:

  1. Warmth (warm, cooked, nourishing foods, warm climate)
  2. Regularity (regular sleep times, meal times, meditation, regular bowel motions etc.)
  3. 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.

Indicated Diet

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.
  • Kitchari
  • 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.
  • Pomegranate.
  • Lots of cooked leafy greens.
  • Psyllium husk is okay after first trimester, but consult a good practitioner regarding psyllium.

Herbs Indicated During Pregnancy

Samadhi (Enlivens Unity in Mind & Body)

Samadhi Powder

Dhatu (Tissue Nourisher)

Smriti (Cellular Memory of Perfect Health)

Pregnancy Ghee (Sukhaprasava Ghritam)

Nasika (Nasal & Brain Oil)

Abhyanga Massage Oil

Abyanga Massage Oil (Coconut Based) 1 Litre

Special Phala Yoni Ghee

Yoni Ghee

Morning Sickness

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.

Nausea Remedies

  • 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 asDhauhrda,” 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.

Foetal Development:

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.

Foetal Development:

  • 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.

Foetus Development:
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.

Foetus Development:

  • 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.

Yoni Ghee

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.

Can also do matra basti (small nourishing oil enema) with Special Phala Yoni Ghee.

Yoni Ghee

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.

Buy here

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.

IT'S HERE!!

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.

See my Ayurvedic Post Natal Care Plan Here

We highly recommend couples to do the She Births Birthing Classes and pregnancy support. Discount code: vitalveda10

Recommended Listening

References:

  • The Raju family
  • Foetal development - Paippalada’s GARBHOPANISHAD, A brief treatise on emberyo and fetus, translated by Dr. Durga Prasad Dash



Ayurvedic Post Natal Care Plan

Mother holding up a newborn baby

article updated April 2021.

The initial 40 days+ after delivery are of immense importance. Both the mother and baby need special attention and care. Ayurveda explains in great detail methods for mother care and baby up-bringing at this vital postpartum time which determines the future health of the newly arrived guest. Here is a detailed post natal care plan.

Immediate Vata and Hormonal Imbalance

After birth, the mother’s hormones are usually erratic. Vata, which governs the nervous system and movement (movement of body fluids, neurotransmitters, hormones, blood and lymph circulation, elimination of wastes) in the body immensely increases. This is because all of a sudden after womb evacuation a vacuum of space has manifested (vata is predominately space). 

Mum needs deep rejuvenation & strength to provide the baby with much required immunity, strength, pure and nutritious breast milk and of course, love.

To help mothers achieve optimal physical, metal and emotional health, we have formulated a post-natal care plan that starts after birth and can continue until the baby becomes a young child.

This post-natal care plan is detailed. Choose which aspects you want to implement, but note the essential recommendations.

One can start this post natal care plan at anytime along the journey. 

Immediate Post Delivery Procedures

In order after baby exits the womb:

Umbilical Cord Procedure

Leave the cord intact till it stops pulsating or delay the cord clamping.
Most hospitals prematurely cut the umbilical cord. This causes a loss of blood. Cord-blood is especially rich in containing precious Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). These stem cells are responsible for maintaining blood production throughout our lives.

Science studies have confirmed the validity of delayed cord-clamping.

One study show that when cord-clamping was delayed for just 5 minutes the blood volume increased by a massive 61% from 78 ml/kg (blood volume at moment of birth) to 126 ml/kg. This placental transfusion amounted to 166 ml for a 3.500 kg infant, one-quarter of which occurred in the first 15 seconds, and one-half within 60 seconds of birth.

So even if you aren't the kind to "Lotus Birth" and wait until the cord naturally drops off, consider delaying cord clamping for at least 5 minutes.

1. Ayurvedic Immunisation Program

Pusya Drops: Essential herbal drops to boost the immunity and build the tissues of babies and children. Precious and potent formula of rare herbs. Can be given until the child’s teenage years.

or give Swarna Prasa: Honey and Gold purified ash (swarna bhasma) is prepared and processed in a highly complex method using high-quality ingredients.

(Pusya drops are a superior choice).

To administer: Mum or dad dab their right finger in a little swarna prasa and put it in babies mouth or give drops of Pusya drops in the mouth.

Time to administer: This is given to the baby after being born to imbue immunity actively through the senses. It can be given 3x on the first day.
Then this immunisation may be continually be administered once a month according to astrology on pusyami naksatra (constellation).

The amount of swarna bhasma used in each dose for swarna prasa is 1 pinhead of the gold ash.

Learn more here.

2. Breastfeeding

First right breast, then left. Within 1-4 hours or ideally less.

3. Oil Massage

Massage the baby from head to toe with oil. Leave oil on for approx. 45 mins before bath.
Oils used: Vital Veda Baby Abhyanga Oil, cold-pressed extra-virgin coconut or olive oil.
Check out our free Self-Massage Poster to get an idea of how to give baby massage.

4. Bath

Bath (luke warm) and baby abhyanga (oil massage) are the two most important rituals for the baby as they are growing up.

5. Baby Mantra

Parents whisper a mantra (primordial sound) into the baby's ear to induct the baby into the world. This primordial sound is familiar to the baby to ensure "don't worry, you have arrived into a vedic family, you will be enlightened, we will give you knowledge for enlightenment. Relax, you can be a baby now."

Get your baby mantra from a Vedic Meditation teacher.

Optional Gold Ornamentation: Put gold ring on the right ear, then on left and then chant the baby mantra.

6. Wrap Baby

After the baby has finished bath, wrap baby in silk or muslin cloth completely. Especially cover ears. Only expose the eyes and nose.

Holding The Baby

According to the aboriginal culture, similar to the Ayurvedic view,  the newborn is always held close to the mother's heart to promote belonging. This prevents blueprinting anxiety on the child which can occur after taking the baby away from the mother like in some hospital circumstances.
According to aboriginal culture, the newborn stays "glued" to the mother for a few days, and only after then does mum introduce the newborn to the immediate family for it to smell, hear and feel it's intimate family.

Herbal Support

Balant Kadha (Herbal Drink)

A particular fermented herbal preperation (asava) called Balant Kadha is taken once by mum for thirty days to balance the vata, hormones and more.

This tonic relives weakness, body ache, constipation and cough. Increases appetite, energy, strength and nutritious milk. Tones up blood circulation and helps for the formation of new blood cells.

Time to take: This decoction is ideally taken the day of or the day after giving birth. Even if mum missed that (ie. is reading this article post-delivery), this herb is still highly beneficial and can performs similar action if started up until the baby is 6 months old. This is probably the most important and crucial herb.

Dose:
Day 1-10: BK1 - 2tsp 2x/day after food.
Day 11-20: BK2 - 2tsp 2x/day after food.
Day 21-32: BK3 - 2tsp 2x/day after food.
Finish.

Read more about / buy Balant Kadha here.

If still after taking Balant Kadha more Vata reducing is to be done (to be assessed by practitioner or doctor), mum may take 5tsp of Dasmula Arista 2x/day after meals.

Gallakol Lactation Tablets

Increases lactation and purifies breast milk.

This herbal nutritive tonic can be taken by the mother even if breast milk is slightly not 100%, thus good to have on you incase.

Dosage: 2 tabs 2-4x /day before meals or as needed.

Check out our Post Natal Ayurvedic Support Kit

Vital Veda's Post Natal Ayurvedic Support Kit

Post Natal Care (continued)

7. First 11 Days

For next 11 days you need to be extra careful. Emulate the womb environment as the baby transitions into the world.

You can give baby oil massage and bathe gently.
No oil massage for mother unless she is doing very well. Need to monitor mum - how much blood or fluids are discharging from vagina? This will determine when she can start abhyanga. Mum may start after 21 days. After 3 months if c-section.
After the 11th day daily baby-massage is essential.

8. Skin Paste for Baby Girls

Skin Paste: Channa flour, turmeric + perfumery herbs (sandalwood, rose, usheera). Everyday after massage, before bath. Leave skin paste on for at least for 15-20 mins. To remove toxins and prevent body hair growth.

9. Clothes

For the first 21 days, new born wears clothes of other babies that have good karma.

10. Intimacy Between Mum and Baby

For 7-13 days, mum and baby should be alone in the room. Only people who are serving and helping can enter. This is to develop a profound intimacy, trust and prevent anxiety.

For the first 40 days, mum and baby continue this and hardly go out of the house. They should remain cocooned and protected in their room. Only people who are very close, who are serving and who have bathed and are pure can visit.

Co-Sleeping - Sleep close with the baby in the same bed, even till they are 4 years old to a young teenager. This helps prevent anxiety and promotes a significant bond.

11. Naming Ceremony

Done on the 21st day (Nama Karana).

12. Piercing Ears

Piece ears on the 21st day, 40th day, 3rd or 5th year for females along with puja.

13. Shaving Head (Mudhana)

Shave head to improve circulation in the head and to increase hair. Done for both genders before 1 year of age, approximately at 11 months old.

14. Ayurvedic Immunisation (continued)

Once finished the swarna prasa, you can administer Raju Pusyami Drops to the baby once a month until young teenage years.

Post-Natal Diet for Mum

  • The two most important foods for mum to balance the vata are ghee and garlic.
  • Purify Garlic - remove inner green sprout and fry in ghee, then use in cooking.
  • Ojas increasing foods like hot milk, dates, coconut, warmed cooked fresh foods.
  • Cumin seeds and fennel seeds. Ajwain seeds if C-section occurred.
  • Avoid pulses and legumes until umbilical cord is fully cut, and until C-section wound is healed.
  • Avoid potato and eggplant early on in post natal.

Lactation Increasing Foods

  • Fenugreek, jaggery laddhus, wheat (oats), grapes/grape juice.
  • Fenugreek tea - 2 tsp fenugreek seeds, soak overnight (always soak fenugreek). Next morning boil in 2 cups of water, reduce to half and drink. - Improves child's immunity, quality of breast milk and pancreas. Drink tea 3x a day.

 

Baby Food Introduction

Introducing food to a baby is essential to develop a balanced digestion and diet of the future. We teach how to adjust the tastes provided to prevent digestion disorders, cravings and intolerances from developing. Introduce at 5 months and 5 days or 6 months and 6 days.

Baby food introduction plan coming soon.

C-Section Procedures

  • All similar. Essential to take Balant Kadha. 
  • Hug skin-to-skin contact to regulate breathing, blood sugar, heart rate, and to exchange micro-biome.
  • Vaginal Swab - swab mum’s vagina and place in babies mouth or place on nipples for baby to suck and get micro-biome.
  • Sew up mum while she is doing all these things.
  • Avoid Parisheks for mum.
  • Supplements may be required to replenish vitamins and minerals.

Disclaimer: All these information is just for information. Consult your doctor before trying any of these.

  • For more information and tips pre, during and post pregnancy contact us.
  • These herbs have no known drug interaction.
  • These products and recommendations are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.