Antenatal Care (Garbhini Paricharya)

Pregnancy is the most important and critical part of every woman’s life. So systematic Examination, Dietary and other advice are very important; this systematic supervision is called as Garbhini Paricharya (Antenatal Care). Ayurveda considers food to be the best source of nourishments as well as medication for the pregnant woman. The nine monthly diet is a unique concept in Ayurveda. It changes in accordance with the growth of the fetus in the womb and at the same time ensures the health of the mother.

Holistic pregnancy care focuses on nurturing and balancing the mind, body, and spirit throughout the journey of pregnancy. Practicing mindfulness and meditation techniques can help calm the mind, reduce stress, and enhance the connection with your body and growing baby. Set aside time each day for quiet contemplation, deep breathing exercises, or guided meditations specifically designed for pregnancy.

Surround yourself with a strong support network of loved ones who can provide emotional support. Seek out prenatal support groups, childbirth education classes, or counseling services to help address any emotional concerns or anxieties that may arise during pregnancy.

Engage in gentle exercises that promote physical well-being and prepare the body for childbirth. Prenatal yoga, walking, swimming, and stretching can help improve flexibility, circulation, and overall strength.

Focus on a balanced and nutrient-dense diet that supports both yours and your baby’s health. Consider incorporating relaxation techniques such as warm baths, prenatal massage, or gentle music to help you unwind and find tranquility. Along with these physical and mental care chanting mantras and prayers helps in the spiritual well being.

In Ayurveda it is advised to take different foods and medicines as food during pregnancy period they are:

  1.     First month –

 Usually milk is said to be given only as a diet. But a patient can be advised to include a large quantity of milk in her diet.

  1.     Second month –

Madhura, sheeta milk is advised in this month. So, we can give milk (not refrigerated- room temperature) and fruit juices or peya with milk can be given.

  1.     Third month –

 Rice with milk, payasam made of rice, ghee and honey in the diet can be used in this month.

  1.     Fourth month –

 Curd rice, fruit juices, butter, coconut water and hridya fruits like mango, watermelon, pomegranate should be used.

  1.     Fifth month –

This month, the Mamsa and Rakta of the fetus will be developing. So, meat soup, Ghee should be used often. Along with that, Raktavardhaka fruits like pomegranate, beetroot, Amalaki, chikoo, guava, spinach etc should be used.

  1.     Sixth month –

 Yavagu that is soups of various varieties, should be consumed.

  1.     Seventh month –

 In this month, garbhini may have itching on her abdomen and thighs. So, Seka of Yastimadhukashayam or mild taila abhyanga etc can be given.

  1.     Eighth month –

 Again in this month, yavagu or soups are advised. At this time, very light food should be given, so yavagu is suggested.

  1.     Ninth month –

 Again, yoni pichu, abhyanga and sweda, etc can be followed in this month.

Benefits of Mansanumansika diet

  • This will help in having normal development of the fetus, women remain healthy and deliver the child possessing good health ,energy or strength ..
  • By using this fetal membranes or Vaginal canal, kuksi like abdomen, sacral region, flanks, back, vayu moves into its proper direction and feces, urine and last placenta are expelled or excreted properly.
  • Pregnant Women diet is used for the nourishment of her own body, nourishment of the fetus, nourishment of breast and formation of milk.
  • During the first trimester of pregnancy most women experience nausea and vomiting, she cannot take proper diet.
  • Use of sweet and liquid diets and milk with elaichi will prevent dehydration and supply required nourishment, besides the drugs of Madhuradravya being anabolic will help in maintenance of proper health of mother and fetus.
  • Fourth month onwards muscular tissue of the fetus grows sufficiently requiring more protein which is supplied by use of meat soup.
  • By the end of the secondary trimester most women suffer from edema of feet and other complications of water accumulation, thirst etc.
  • Use of Gokshura a good diuretic in the sixth month will prevent water retention. The drugs like Vidarigandhadi group are diuretic, anabolic, relieve emaciation and suppress Pitta and Kapha. Their regular use in the seventh month might help in maintaining the health of mother and fetus.

Eating good and healthy food promotes overall growth and development of the baby and can reduce birth defects. Balanced diet reduces risks of anemia, fatigue and symptoms of morning sickness.

A diet that is low in nutrients can affect during pregnancy causing pre eclampsia, preterm birth, intrauterine growth defect, gestational diabetes etc.

Garbhopaghathakara bhavas (Activities and substances which are harmful to foetus):

Garbhini should avoid use of teekshna, rooksha, ushna dravyas. Should give up foul smelling articles and should not eat dried up, stale, putrefied or wet food , vistambhi (hard to digest), vidahi food as these are harmful for the fetus. She should avoid heavy exercises, coitus, harsh or violent activities, ride over vehicles, excess satiation, excess emaciation, sleeping in day and awakening in night, sitting in uneven places and should avoid fasting, grief, anger, visiting lonely places, cremation ground, prolonged stay near fire or hot sun etc. Her sleeping and sitting place should be covered with a soft cushion/mattress. All these psychological and physical strains like carrying heavy weight or vehicle riding may precipitate abortion due to sudden increase in intra-abdominal pressure.

Susruta in 8th month of pregnancy has indicated asthapana basti with decoction of badari mixed with bala, atibala, sathapushpa, pestle sesame seeds, milk, curd, mastu, oil, salt, madhanaphala, honey and ghrita, followed by anuvasana basthi that aids for getting a smooth delivery.

Emotional well-being during pregnancy is a crucial aspect of holistic care, as the body undergoes significant physical and hormonal changes, and the anticipation of becoming a parent can bring about a range of emotions. Coping with these changes and managing stress is essential for maintaining a healthy emotional state. It’s normal to experience a mix of joy, excitement, anxiety, and occasional mood swings during pregnancy. To support emotional well-being, it’s important to create a nurturing environment and engage in self-care practices. This can involve seeking emotional support from loved ones, joining prenatal support groups, or even considering counseling services if needed.

There are several common myths and misconceptions surrounding antenatal care. Let’s examine some of these myths and present the corresponding facts:

Myth : “Only high-risk pregnancies require antenatal care.”
Fact: Antenatal care is essential for all pregnancies, regardless of whether they are considered high-risk or low-risk. Regular check-ups with healthcare providers help monitor the progress of the pregnancy, identify any potential complications, and provide essential guidance on nutrition, lifestyle, and overall well-being.

Myth : “Pregnant women should avoid exercise and physical activity.”
Fact: Moderate exercise and physical activity are generally safe and beneficial for most pregnant women. Engaging in activities like walking, prenatal yoga, swimming, and low-impact aerobics can help maintain fitness, improve circulation, and reduce common discomforts associated with pregnancy.

Myth : “Morning sickness is always a cause for concern.”
Fact: Morning sickness, which includes nausea and vomiting, is a common symptom of early pregnancy. In most cases, it is a normal part of the pregnancy process and does not pose a significant risk to the mother or the baby. However, severe and persistent nausea and vomiting (hyperemesis gravidarum) may require medical attention to prevent dehydration and nutritional deficiencies.

Myth : “Pregnant women should eat for two.”
Fact: While it is important to ensure proper nutrition during pregnancy, the concept of “eating for two” is a myth. Pregnant women need slightly more calories to support the growing baby, but the focus should be on the quality of the diet rather than overeating.

It is important to consult with healthcare providers and rely on evidence-based information to debunk common myths surrounding antenatal care. Regular and comprehensive antenatal care, along with open communication with healthcare providers, is crucial for ensuring a healthy pregnancy and a positive outcome for both the mother and the baby.

Tips for expecting mothers

  •         Drinking caffeine during pregnancy has some major health risks. The caffeine gets digested much slower and goes through the placenta into your baby’s bloodstream.
  •         Having a baby is rough both physically and mentally. To combat the pain and mood swings that come with being pregnant, exercise regularly. Low impact exercise can help ease back pain, increase circulation, and improve your mood. It will also strengthen your muscles and ligaments in preparation for labor.
  •         Lifting heavy weights or exhausting yourself through intense cardio workouts may do more harm than good.
  •         You can get dehydrated fast while pregnant since you need more than you are used to. It is recommended that you drink at least 10 cups of 8 ounces each day to stay hydrated.
  •         Fatigue, especially during the first trimester, is common. Your body is going through hormonal changes that will affect your energy levels. Take the time now to catch up on sleep and let your body relax.
  •         A low-impact massage treats lower back pain that can be a menace throughout your pregnancy. It will also increase circulation and remove inflammation that causes swelling. Avoid a massage at the beginning of your first trimester
  •         Consume foods and beverages rich in folate, iron, calcium, and protein.
  •         Eat breakfast every day.
  •         Eat foods high in fiber, and drink fluids (particularly water) to avoid constipation.
  •         Avoid alcohol, raw or undercooked fish, fish high in mercury, undercooked meat and poultry, and soft cheeses.

·         Do moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 150 minutes a week during your pregnancy. If you have health issues, talk to your health care professional before you begin.