By Dr Raghuram Y. S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B. A. M. S
Comprehensive care of pregnant woman with respect to food, lifestyle, behaviour, medicines and treatments were carried out with utmost care. Monthly regimen for pregnant women explained in ancient Ayurvedic texts point towards wisdom of these authors and precision with which protocol for pregnancy care was drafted in olden days. Read – Diet And Lifestyle For Women In Ayurveda
Garbhini = pregnant woman Masanumasika = every month Pathya = wholesome diet
As there is graduated growth and development of fetus in mother’s womb every month, requirement of different kinds of food and modulations which need to be brought in protocol seems sensible and mandatory.
1st month diet
Dietetic regimen for first month of pregnancy
- Non-medicated milk / medicated milk
- Congenial diet, twice a day
- Sweet, cold and liquid diet
- Ghee extracted from milk
- Herbal oil massage
- Medicated powder massage
- Licorice, Grewia asiatica and flowers of Madhuca longifolia with butter and honey
Charaka’s opinion (Cha. Shaa. 8/32)
- Anupasamskruta dugdha – After confirmation of pregnancy, pregnant woman should take anupasamskruta dugdha i. e. non-medicated or unprocessed milk. This should be taken repeatedly in desired quantity. Milk shall be taken according to digestive power and strength of woman.
- Satmya Bhojana – congenial diet should be taken in morning and evening.
Sushruta’s opinion (Su. Shaa. 10/4)
- Madhura sheeta drava praya ahara – foods which are , cold and liquid diet should be consumed by pregnant woman in first three months.
Vagbhata’s opinion (A. Sam. Shaa. 3/3)
- Upasamskruta ksheera – medicated milk should be consumed once in morning and evening. Quantity should be such that it gets easily digested and doesn’t produce indigestion.
- Ksheerodbhava Sarpi – During first 12 days of pregnancy ghee which has been extracted from milk i. e. prepared from clarified butter extracted from milk should be consumed. Same ghee extracted from milk shall be cooked and medicated with Desmodium gangeticum and Butea monosperma before consumption. Water boiled with gold, silver and subsequently cooled should be used as after-drink for above mentioned medicated ghee.
- Madhura sheeta drava ahara – foods which are sweet in taste, cold and liquid should be consumed at morning and evening.
- Abhyanga – massage with medicated oils
- Udwarthana – rubbing over body with medicated powders
Harita’s opinion (Haa. Sam. Tru. Stha. 49/1)
- One or all of Licorice, Grewia asiatica and flowers of Madhuca longifolia should be taken with butter and honey. After this, sweetened milk should be given for drinking.
Second month diet
Dietetic regimen for second month of pregnancy
- Milk processed with sweet tasting herbs (Cha. Shaa. 8/32, A. San. Shaa. 3/4).
- Sweet tasting foods, cold foods and liquid diet (Su. Shaa. 10/4).
- Sweetened milk treated and prepared with Kakoli (Haa. Sam. Tr. Stha. 49/2)
Third, Fourth month diet
Dietetic regimen for third month of pregnancy
- Milk with honey and ghee (Cha. Shaa. 8/32, A. San. Shaa. 3/5)
- Sweet tasting foods, cold foods and liquid diet (Su. Shaa. 10/4)
- Cooked shashtika rice with milk
- Krshara or olio prepared with rice and pulse (Haa. Sam. Tr. Stha. 49/3)
Dietetic regimen for fourth month of pregnancy
- Butter extracted from milk in quantity of 12 grams approximately. Alternatively milk can be given mixed with butter. (Cha. Shaa. 8/32)
- Shashtika rice with curds (Su. Shaa. 10/4)
- Foods conducive and pleasant for heart with meat of wild animals (Su. Shaa. 10/4)
- Milk should be served with or by mixing with approximately 12 grams of butter. (A. Sam. Sha. 3/6, Bhe. Sam. Shaa. 8/6)
- Medicated cooked rice (Haa. Sam. Tr. Sthaa. 49/2)
Fifth, sixth month diet
Dietetic regimen for fifth month of pregnancy
- Ghee prepared from butter extracted from milk (Cha. Shaa. 8/32, A. San. Shaa. 3/7, Su. Shaa. 10/4)
- Shashtika rice with milk (Su. Shaa. 10/4)
- Foods pleasant for heart served with meat of wild animals (Su. Shaa. 10/4)
- Rice gruel prepared in milk (Bhe. Sam. Shaa. 8/6)
- Sweetened rice prepared in milk (Haa. Sam. Tru. Sthaa. 49/3)
Dietetic regimen for sixth month of pregnancy
- Ghee prepared from butter extracted from milk, medicated with sweet tasting group of herbs (Cha. Shaa. 8/32, A. Sam. Shaa. 3/8)
- Ghee or rice gruel medicated with Tribulus terrestris (Su. Shaa. 10/4)
- Ghee prepared from butter extracted from milk (Bhe. Sam. Shaa. 8/6)
- Sweetened curds (Haa. Sam. Tr. Sthaa. 49/3)
Seventh, eighth month diet
Dietetic regimen for seventh month of pregnancy
- Ghee prepared from butter extracted from milk, medicated with sweet tasting group of herbs (Cha. Shaa. 8/32, A. Sam. Shaa. 3/8)
- Ghee prepared with prthakparnyadi (vidarigandhadi) group of herbs. This will help in proper growth and development of fetus. (Su. Shaa. 10/4)
- A sweet dish prepared in ghee named ghrutakhanda (Haa. Sam. Tr. Sth. 49/3)
Dietetic regimen for eighth month of pregnancy
- Gruel prepared with milk and mixed with ghee
- Asthapana Vasti or decoction enema with Badaradi decoction
- Niruha vasti or decoction enema with Shushkamuladi enema
- Anuvasana vasti or unctuous enema with oil prepared with milk and Madhura group of herbs
- Unctuous gruels and meat soup of wild animals
- Liquid diet prepared with ghee and milk
- Ghruta Puraka or sweet preparation made with ghee
Charaka’s opinion (Cha. Shaa. 8/32)
- Ksheera yavagu sarpishmatim – gruel prepared with milk and mixed with ghee should be served to pregnant woman as diet in 8th month of pregnancy.
Bhadrakapya differs in opinion about gruel. He says that it should not be given because by consuming it, child to be born would become tawny in complexion (paingalya). Read – Jeevaneeya Gana Herbs of Charaka: Review, Medicines, Benefits
Atreya gives a similar opinion that by consuming mentioned gruel woman is going to give birth to a child who would become tawny in complexion. He also tells that benefits of this gruel cannot be ignored. On consuming this gruel, pregnant woman remains disease free and delivers a child possessing best health, energy, complexion, voice, compactness of body and much superior in virtues in comparison to other family members.
Chakrapani opines that in comparison to side effects of this gruel which are negligible, since benefits are much more it shall be used by pregnant woman.
Sushruta’s opinion (Su. Shaa. 10/4)
- Asthapana Vasti – In eighth month of pregnancy, in order to clear retained feces from intestines, and to bring about downward movement of vata, evacuative enema should be given. Asthapana vasti should be given with decoction of jujube fruit mixed with Sida cordifolia, Abutilon indicum, Anethum sowa, pestled sesame seeds, milk, curds, sour butter, oil, salt, Randia dumetorum, honey and ghee.
- Anuvasana Vasti – After giving asthapana vasti, anuvasana vasti i. e. unctuous enema should be given with oil medicated with milk and decoction of herbs of sweet tasting group of herbs.
After administering asthapana and anuvasana vastis, vata moves in downward direction which is its normal course. Due to normal movement of vata, lady delivers without difficulty and will also be free from complications.
- Snigdha yavagu and jangala rasa – after enema, pregnant woman should be fed with unctuous gruels and meat soup of wild animals. These foods should be given until delivery.
Body of woman thus treated with above mentioned measures becomes unctuous. She gains strength and delivers normally without any complications. Read – Classification Of Foods And Drinks – Charaka Sahmita Sutrasthana 27
Vagbhata’s opinion (A. Sam. Shaa. 3/11)
- Vagbhata has combined opinions of both Charaka and Sushruta. He tells that in 8th month of pregnancy, rice gruel prepared with milk and mixed with ghee should be served.
- Instead of Bhadrakapya, Vagbhata has mentioned that Khandakapya has mentioned not to give yavagu in 8th month for same reasons mentioned by Charaka as said by Bhadrakapya.
- Vagbhata also has included vitality as one of virtues with which child would be born among many virtues mentioned by Atreya (as said in Charaka’s version).
- From list of herbs used for asthapana vasti mentioned by Sushruta, Vagbhata has deleted 3 herbs i. e. shatapushpa, bala and atibala, rest of formulation would be same as explained by Sushruta.
- Vagbhata has advised that enema should be given to woman in nyubja sthiti i. e. in bent or humpbacked position because in this position, passage becomes dilated and medicines given through enema would enter colon properly.
Vagbhata’s opinion (A. Hr. Shaa. 1/64, 65)
- Sa ghrita ksheera peya – liquid diet prepared with ghee and milk
- Ghrita anuvasanam – unctuous enema prepared with ghee and herbs of sweet tasting group of herbs for cleansing collected feces
- Niruha vasti – after administering pregnant woman with anuvasana vasti, niruha vasti i. e. decoction enema should be given with decoction of dry radish, jujube, and sour substances mixed with pestled Anethum sowa, ghee, oil and rock salt.
Harita’s opinion (Haa. Sam. Tr. Stha. 49/3)
- Ghruta Puraka – Harita advices that a kind of sweet preparation called Ghruta puraka prepared in ghee should be given to pregnant woman in 8th month of her pregnancy.
Nineth month diet
Dietetic regimen for ninth month of pregnancy
- Unctuous enema with oil prepared using sweet tasting group of herbs (Cha. Shaa. 8/32, A. Sam. Shaa. 3/12)
- Vaginal tampons should be given with same oil for lubrication of uterus and vaginal canal and perineum. (Cha. Shaa. 8/32, A. Sam. Shaa. 3/12)
- Unctuous gruels and meat soup of wild animals (Su. Shaa. 10/4)
- Meat soup with cooked rice and ghee or rice gruel mixed with good quantity of fat (A. Hr. Shaa. 1)
- Daily bath with cold decoction prepared from vata alleviating leaves (A. Hr. Shaa. 1)
- Different varieties of cereals (Haa. Sam. Tr. Sthaa. 49/3)
- Unctuous enema with Kadambamasha oil By use of this, accumulated feces go in lower passage. Thus, delivery of child becomes normal. After use of this vasti, yavagu or rice gruel should be given. (Bhe. Sam. Shaa. 8/7)
- Rice gruel
Anuvasana vasti and yoni pichu – unctuous enema as advised in 8th month of pregnancy and vaginal tampon of same oil should be given. (A. Hr. Shaa. 1)
To woman having absence of unctuousness in body, anuvasana vasti should not be given for whole of 9th month. Unctuous enema should be given only after use of fat. (A. Hr. Shaa. 1)
Vividha annani – In 9th and 10th months of pregnancy, different varieties of rice or cereals should be used. (Haa. Sam. Tr. Sthaa. 49/3) Read – How To Make Ayurvedic Herbal Bath Powder At Home?
benefits of diet regimen
Benefits of monthly dietetic regimen used for pyregnant women
Woman remains healthy after consuming diet advised in monthly dietetic regimen for pregnant woman. She delivers a child possessing good health, energy, voice, compactness and would be superior to other family members. (Charaka)
When a pregnant woman consumes this dietetic regimen from first to ninth month,
- Her fetal membranes, vaginal canal, abdomen, sacral region, flanks and back become soft,
- Her vata moves into its right direction (vata anulomana), feces, urine and placenta are excreted or expelled easily by their respective passages,
- Her skin and nail become soft,
- Gains strength and complexion,
- She delivers child easily at proper time, a desired, excellent, healthy child possessing all qualities and long life (Charaka and Vagbhata)
Fetus will attain good growth, vata anulomana takes place properly, and woman becomes unctuous, strong and delivers child without complications. (Sushruta). Read – Your Child Does Not Eat Well? Causes, Ayurveda Solutions
Nutritive juices derived from pregnant woman’s diet serves –
- Nourishment of body of pregnant woman and helps her to stay fit and healthy
- Nourishment of fetus
- Nourishment of breast or formation of breast milk
Monthly dietetic regimen of pregnant woman – analysis
During first three months of pregnancy –
Most pregnant women would experience vomiting. They will not be able to take food properly. Therefore use of cold and sweet liquid diet and also milk will prevent dehydration, supply required nourishment and will check vomiting and nausea. Sweet tasting group of herbs is anabolic in nature. They will help in maintenance of proper health of mother and fetus. Read – How To Balance Vata Dosha? Line Of Treatment And Reasoning
Fourth month of pregnancy onwards –
There will be good muscular development of fetus. This will put in need of more proteins. Use of meat soup will serve this purpose, to supplement proteins to fetus and also enable its proper growth.
By end of second trimester (6 months of pregnancy) –
Most women will have edema of feet and other complications caused due to fluid accumulation in body. Tribulus terrestris is a good diuretic. Use of this herb in 6th month will prevent retention of water and also other complications. Read – Lifestyle Tips, Yoga And Home Remedies For Pedal Edema
Seventh month of pregnancy, use of vidarigandhadi group of herbs –
This group of herbs is diuretic, anabolic, relieves emaciation and suppresses pitta and kapha. Their regular use in 7th month of pregnancy helps in maintaining optimum health of mother and fetus.
Late pregnancy, 8th month, use of enemas –
Most women experience constipation in late pregnancy. Use of enema in 8th month will relieve constipation and regulates functions of myometrium during labour. Read – Constipation Causes, Ayurvedic Treatment, Home Remedies
Vaginal tampons may destroy pathogenic bacteria of vaginal canal and thus prevent puerperal sepsis. Tampon may also soften vaginal passage. This would help in normal labour. It will also help in softening perineum and help in its relaxation during delivery of child.
Milk and Sweet tasting group of herbs –
Milk and sweet tasting group of herbs have been advised to be taken by pregnant women during entire pregnancy period. Milk is a wholesome diet and a whole diet also. It is rasayana i. e. rejuvenator. Sweet tasting group of herbs is anabolic in nature. Use of these herbs during pregnancy will help in maintenance of proper health of mother and also will enable proper growth and development of fetus. Read – Human Breast Milk Benefits, Ways To Increase Production
Garbhini Paricharya – Ayurvedic Antenatal Care
Samanya Ahara Vihara – Normal diet and mode of life for pregnant woman
Charaka’s advices (Ch. Shaa. 8/21)
Pregnant woman desirous of begetting a healthy and good looking child should –
- Give up ahita ahara and vihara i. e. non-congenial diet and mode of life
- Protect self by good conduct and using congenial diet and mode of life
Sushruta’s advices (Su. Shaa. 10/3)
Pregnant woman, right from first day of her pregnancy should follow below mentioned measures and follow them up to delivery –
- Remain pious
- Should be decorated with ornaments
- Wear clean white garments
- Perform religious rites
- Do auspicious deeds
- Worship deity, brahmanas and priests
- Her place of sleeping and seating should be covered with soft cushions, not very high, elevated at head end, should be perfect and comfortable
- She should use palatable liquid, sweet and unctuous substances prepared with appetising things
Vagbhata I’s advices (A. Sam. Shaa. 2/58)
Pregnant woman should use congenial diet and proper mode of life as her welfare is interrelated with her child.
She should avoid all those factors which are likely to harm fetus.
Brimhana therapy i. e. anabolic therapies should be used for pregnant woman.
Vagbhata II’s advices (A. Hr. Shaa. 1)
Jivaniya group of herbs should used
- externally – water prepared with these herbs is used for bathing or irrigation etc and
- internally – in form of powder, cold decoctions, decoctions etc prepared from these herbs
Husband of pregnant lady and servants attending her should be affectionate and have good behaviour towards her. This will help in healthy maintenance and progression of pregnancy.
Pregnant woman should always use butter, ghee and milk etc. They are said to be conducive to her. Read – How to make butter? – The Ayurvedic Method
Kashyapa’s advices (Ka. Sam. Shaa. 5/12-15)
Diet caution – Whatever food and drink pregnant woman consumes become congenial to fetus. Therefore diet should be taken cautiously taking into consideration the place of living and eating, time, season and digestive capacity. These things should never be neglected.
Choice of garments and ornaments – Pregnant women should carefully choose her garments and ornaments. They should be auspicious, pious, meritorious, new, un-torn and possess masculine names. Read – Impact of Cloth Colour And Material On Body And Mind
Materials possessing masculine names – Pregnant woman should only use things having masculine names.
Arrangements in her living place – living place of pregnant woman should be –
- Fumigated with fragrant herbs
- Worship Gods and Goddesses should be performed regularly
- Should be free from insects like mosquitoes etc
- Vedic hymns should be recited by Brahmanas within residence
- Songs and instruments should be played in residence
- After awakening in morning and leaving bed, and after having performed her daily routines should get busy in adoring priests and deity.
- She should worship rising Sun with perfumes, incense, libation and water.
- She should take bath daily and remain well behaved.
Regular inclusions in diet
- Hot water
- Milk – it provides good nourishment and stability to fetus
- Meat – helps in achievement of pregnancy, provides nutrition and nourishment to fetus, suppresses vata
- Meat soup is an ideal diet for pregnant women
- Meat treated with milk or mixed with sour articles or salt is beneficial during pregnancy
Harita’s advices (Haa. Sam. Tri. Sth. 49)
Surana ( Elephant Yam ) and constipating articles along with their juice should be used.
All other congenial and beneficial diets and behavior should be used.
Pregnant woman should offer food to brahmanas and family members after performing auspicious rites, in 5th and 8th months of pregnancy.
Yogaratnakara’s advices (Yo. Ra. Kshiradosha Chikitsa) Read – Ayurveda Mahodadhi Dhanya Varga – Types Of Rice
Below mentioned articles are conducive for pregnant women –
- Shali – rice
- Shashtika shali – rice grown in 60 days
- Mudga – green gram
- Godhuma – wheat
- Laja saktu – flour of parched rice
- Navaneeta – butter
- Ghrita – ghee
- Ksheera – milk
- Rasaala – curd mixed with sugar and condiments
- Madhu – honey
- Sharkara – sugar
- Panasa – jack fruit
- Kadala – banana
- Dhatri – Indian gooseberry
- Draksha – raisins
- Amla – sour substances
- Madhuram – sweet substances
- Sheetalam kasturim chandanam karpuram anulepanam – anointment with cooling agents like musk, sandalwood paste, camphor
- Mala – wearing garlands
- Chandrika – moonlight bath
- Snana – bath
- Abhyanga – comforting massage
- Mrudu shayya – soft bed
- Himaanilah – cool air
- Santarpanam – anabolic or gratifying edibles
- Priyaashlesha – embracing beloved
- Manorama – beloved mode of life
- Priyakaram annapanam – consuming desired foods
Snanartha Vishishta Jala – specific processed water for bathing in pregnancy (A. Sam. Shaa. 3/14, A. Hr. Shaa. 1/68)
Below mentioned processed medicated waters should be used for bathing by pregnant women –
- Cold decoction of pulp of Aegle marmelos, cotton tree, rose petals, Stereospermum suaveolens, neem, Clerodendrum phlomidis, Nardostachys jatamansi and pounded leaves of castor plant
- Water processed with sarvagandha i. e. all fragrant herbs
- Cold decoction of pounded leaves of vata suppressing herbs
Mani dharana – amulet for pregnant woman
According to Kshyapa, pregnant woman should wear amulet made of Trivrit (Operculina turpethum) in her waist (Ref – Ka. Sam. Khi. 10).
Masanumasika Pathya Prayoga – Month wise dietary regimen for pregnant woman
Ayurveda has specified use of different forms of diet in different months of pregnancy by pregnant woman.
Garbhini Varjya Ahara Vihara – Diet and mode of life contraindicated during pregnancy
Some types of foods and life activities are not suited during pregnancy. They may pose threat to life of expectant mother as well as fetus. They are called as factors likely to harm fetus.