After Delivery Care in Ayurveda – Essential Tips for New Mothers
Now that you are holding your little newborn baby, it is true that you might forget all your emotionally strained and tiresome pregnancy period. But don’t let the attitude of vigilance and care you showed regarding your health during the pregnancy fade away. After delivery care in Ayurveda is given a lot of importance as it paves the future for a mother as well as her baby. A dedicated and informed approach to postpartum care for the mother and the baby does wonders to their health and secures their future.
Postnatal Care in Ayurveda
After delivery, a mother changes both mentally and physically. The 6 to 8 weeks from the day of the delivery are considered highly sensitive, and a mother should get postnatal care as much as possible. However, things like lack of sleep, anxiety over the baby’s health, taking care of the baby, hormonal changes, and other physical discomforts like cramps, vaginal discharges, etc., can possibly affect you during this period. Therefore, she needs special care for her body to regain energy and strength.
1. Daily Routine
A new mother can expect her daily routine (dinacharya) to shift significantly for the first few months as she will have to respond to the baby’s changing needs and her role as a parent. Mothers can take a few minutes during and before morning breastfeeding to relax using energetic imagery, deep breathing, or meditation. The mother should avoid forms of extended physical exercise for the first 42 days but could take short walks with her baby. Newbie moms could also apply a small amount of Brahmi oil on the top of their heads every morning as a part of aromatherapy and sleep with a light scarf around their heads and ears to prevent airflow.
2. Diet Tips
1) North Indian Style of Postpartum Diet
In the North Indian tradition, the foods given during the confinement period are rich in ingredients that promote digestion, lactation, and resistance against infections.
- The confinement period diet mainly includes parathas, ladoos, and kheers, prepared with ajwain, millet, broken wheat, methi, besan, gond, fennel, dry fruits, semolina, sesame, turmeric, aliv seeds, and fenugreek.
- Ghee is an important addition to almost every food of the mother.
- Turmeric milk is given every morning. This is easily prepared by adding a pinch of turmeric to boiling milk.
- Lactation is increased by consuming garlic milk.
- Broken wheat porridge is given to reduce the chances of suffering from constipation.
- Roti is made with millet as it helps digestion because it is a rich source of fibre.
- Khichdi made with moong dal or different forms of rice are included as they are rich sources of carbohydrates.
- Since ajwain is a traditionally-known galactagogue, ajwain parathas are served for proper lactation. Ajwain is also believed to clean the uterus, so it’s a win-win for a mother’s body.
- Another recipe to increase breast milk production is water boiled with fennel seeds. When mothers consume this water, it enhances their breast milk production.
- Water boiled with jeera seeds (cumin) helps fight against the gas formation and infection.
- Kheer made from aliv seeds is given to increase breast milk.
2) South Indian Style of Postpartum Diet
Most South Indian states follow the postpartum diet given below.
- Certain foods are avoided during postpartum in South India. They include pickles, chillies, oily food, spices, sour curd, and fruits like grapes. Toor dal is better to avoid as it can gas problems. A good alternative is this is using moong dal.
- Food is prepared using garlic, ginger, mustard, cumin seeds, turmeric, caraway seeds, fenugreek, and fresh curd that are not sour.
- Fenugreek seeds, bottle gourds, bitter gourds, and drumsticks are used in the food preparation.
- Turmeric water is also consumed daily to increase the healing of internal wounds.
- In many places, beetle leaves are given to the mother to speed up digestion.
- Dry ginger powder in lukewarm water or with jaggery is given to a new mother.
- Steamed foods like idiyappam and idly are eaten for breakfast. It is usually taken with homemade ghee and, if required, some sugar.
- Rice porridge, along with manathakali vathal (black nightshade) fried in ghee and flame-roasted appalam, is given for dinner.
Satvik Foods to Eat Post Pregnancy
Here are some sattvic food tips or ideas that can prove beneficial if consumed post-pregnancy:
- Foods, such as honey, yam, milk, and basmati rice can be used to add a little quality.
- Vegetables, such as carrots, beets, and green beans, are great and healthy. You should avoid gassy vegetables like cauliflower, potato, and okra.
- In India, except for apples and pears, fruits are completely avoided for the first 21 days. Apples and pears are eaten because they have less sugar and are not very juicy to increase the body’s water content. Satvik foods are mostly chosen to avoid discomfort for the mother.
- Foods like fenugreek leaves and seeds are also consumed for lactation.
- Consumption of salads might cause constipation. It is assumed that greens and raw vegetables are high on fibre. You could diminish the “Agni” (fire) by consuming a warm porridge of oats or rice along with ghee, as it is more soothing to the digestive system.
- For a minimum of 48 days, anything cold out of the refrigerator, like ice water or ice cream, must be avoided. Sipping warm water after waking up is also good for an easy bowel movement.
Postpartum Massage (Abhyanga) Tips for Baby and Mother
Abhyanga is a self-oil massage that can be done daily for the baby and the mother. This type of massage is not a deep tissue massage that promotes bleeding but is a soothing and relaxing 90 minutes repetitive massage that can be given during the confinement period. Abhyanga helps the body remove stored waste from the muscles and tissues. Repetitive, soothing strokes also help increase lactation and enhance peace of mind, promoting peaceful sleep. Kuzhambu and Dhanvantharam kuzhambu can be used for body massage, while coconut oil could be a great alternative for head massage. To release tension and pain from the body, mothers can take hot showers (not scalding ones).
Ayurvedic Herbs and Medicines for Postpartum Care
- Dashamoolarishtam: It is extremely effective in keeping infections at bay and boosting your immunity. It is usually prescribed for the first few months to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Shatavari Gulam: Consuming Shatavari Gulam achieves overall hormonal balance and improves lactation.
- Jeerakarishtam: This is well known for inducing normal lactation and is usually prescribed to mothers during the winter and monsoon seasons. Owing to its hot nature, it keeps the body warm.
- Pulileham: It is administered to new mothers from the beginning of the third week for about a month and a half.
- Musta: Musta herb are good at relieving clogs in milk ducts and inflammation and is good for improving breast milk production.
- Shatavari: The Shatavari herb is mixed with boiling milk to avoid postpartum depression. Owing to its tons of benefits, it improves the production of breast milk and is also good for the normal involution of the uterus.
Additional Post-Delivery Care Tips in Ayurveda
- Incorporate moist, warm, and oily influences, both externally and internally.
- Bring restful, soothing, and supporting influences into your routine, like listening to soft music, humming, walking, etc.
- Increase the sour, sweet, and salty taste foods in your diet.
- Make time to connect with the baby in a joyful manner, like gentle dancing or singing.
- Avoid raw foods for at least the first six weeks.
Positive health paves the way for a healthy mind. It is also important to keep the energy surrounding the baby positive as if the mother is not well physically or mentally, it can affect the baby, too. In the postpartum period, get ample sleep whenever you get the chance and eat fresh and warm food. Mothers should also be aware of the belly wrapping post-pregnancy thing. You can consult elders of the house or trained professionals like doulas to understand how to do belly wrapping post-pregnancy.