By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Sutika is a woman who has just delivered a child and her placenta has been removed. Some opine that sutika is a parturient woman – a woman in labor.
Ayurveda has opined that the woman shall be called as sutika for 1 and half months after the delivery of the child. There are differences of opinions regarding this period with some authors telling that the period shall be considered up to 4-6 months after delivery of the child. There is also an opinion that the woman shall be called as sutika until the next menstrual cycle (post delivery) begins.
Postpartum period or postnatal period begins immediately after childbirth as the mother’s body, including hormone levels and uterus size returns to a non-pregnant state. The terms puerperal period, puerperium or immediate postpartum period are the terms commonly used to describe the first 6 weeks following childbirth. This time period exactly matches with the Ayurveda explanation.
The woman during this time period should be given good physical and mental rest and be taken care of in the best possible way so as to enable her system to come back to non-pregnant state.
The Sutikagara – Ayurveda opines that sutika be isolated and kept in a separate ward and taken care of during the mentioned time period. This ward is called as Sutikagara – the accouchement ward. It is a construction which would be separately constructed for every sutika and dismantled after her discharge. This means to tell that the same ward shall not be reused for another sutika. This further justifies the Ayurveda vision of one-to-one handling and personalized approach for medical care. This would take into account the separate needs for every individual and at the same time would focus on providing clean, healthy and sterile conditions to every mother.
Summing up – Sutikagara is an isolated ward to take care of – a. expectant mother, b. woman who has just delivered a child or c. both.
Right time to construct the ward – The ward shall be constructed before 9th month of pregnancy, well in advance of the date of delivery of child. Indu, commentator of Ashtanga Sangraha opines that the ward shall be constructed after the beginning of 9th month while the author of Ashtanga Hrdaya (Vagbhata II) opines that the construction shall be started in auspicious period.
Selection of land for construction – It shall be constructed on a land which is free from stones, sand or gravel and broken earthen pot pieces. These things should not be present in the area of construction or if they are present, they shall be removed before constructing the ward. The land shall have good appearance, taste and smell.
Direction – The construction should face either east or towards north. Master Sushruta opines that the door shall face either east or south.
Materials needed for construction – Woods of Bilva – Aegle marmelos, Tinduka – Diospyros malabarica, Inguda – Balanites aegyptiaca, Bhallataka – Semecarpus anacardium, Varuna – Crataeva nurvula or Khadira – Acacia catechu should be used for construction of the ward. Any other woods may be used after taking opinion and consent of Brahmanas or experts well versed in the knowledge of Atharvaveda.
Arrangements – The house should be –
Additional points from Sushruta Samhita (Su.Sha.10/5)
Dimensions – the ward should be 12 feet long and 6 feet wide.
Different constructions caste-wise
|Caste of woman||Color of the land selected for construction of the ward||Wood selected for construction of the ward|
|Brahmana||White colored land||Bilva – Aegle marmelos|
|Kshatriya||Red colored land||Nyagrodha – Ficus bengalensis|
|Vaishya||Yellow colored land||Tinduka – Diospyros malabarica|
|Shudra||Black colored land||Bhallataka – Semecarpus anacardium|
Beds – the beds shall be made with the same woods which are used for constructing the ward (caste-wise).
Placement of things – All the necessary things should be placed systematically in their specifically allocated places.
Raksha Dravyas – The articles having protective and antiseptic properties and also auspicious materials should be stored in the ward.
Other points to include
Jwalana – Flaming fire should be continuously kept inside the ward. (A.Sam.Sha.10/5)
Read – 15 Precautions And Benefits Of Massage In Pregnancy
1. Essential herbs and medicinal items
|Sl No||Names of herbs / medicinal items||Common / Botanical name|
|4||Saindhava lavana||Rock salt|
|5||Sauvarchal Lavana||Sauchal salt|
|6||Kala lavana||Black salt|
|7||Vid lavana||Vid salt|
|13||Pippalimula||Roots of Piper longum|
|22||Hingu||Ferula narthex (asafetida)|
|25||Kataka fruit||Strychnos potatorum|
|26||Kanakanika||Pieces of broken rice|
|30||Bhurjapatra||Betula utilis / Streblus asper|
|33||Gandha dravya||Fragrant herbs (Bhela)|
2. Beverages and fermented drinks
3. Other materials
a. Striyah cha bahvyo prajaataah – many multiparous women who are adorned with below mentioned qualities –
b. Brahmanas – possessing good knowledge of Atharva Veda
a. Firstly, Shanti i.e. pacifying oblations should be offered during maitra period –
b. Then, the below mentioned should be made to enter the ward –
c. Following this, the pregnant woman should –
d. Now the pregnant woman should enter the labor ward by first keeping her right foot inside the ward. She should follow the cows and Brahmanas reciting holy words. After entering the ward, she should stay there and wait for the onset of labor.
Explanation by Master Vagbhata (A.Sha.3/16)
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