Pregnancy is said to be a life-carrying miracle. This vital event requires extra care of the body and health in every aspect.
An appropriate diet is essential during this sensitive period, as it directly influences both the fetus and the mother’s wellness and can determine the mental and physical health of both. It becomes essential to consume food and beverages judiciously.
Ayurveda proposes a specialized protocol to be followed when it comes to the diet of soon-to-be mothers. This regimen is discussed under “garbhiniparicharya,” which explains in detail what should be consumed and what should be avoided during each phase of development of the baby, and each month of pregnancy.
Read this article to get information about these Ayurvedic diet essentials to be followed during pregnancy.
Ayurveda & Food
Ayurveda categorizes food into three different main types, namely sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic. Out of these, sattvic food is the most nutritious and fresh. The diet of a pregnant woman should mainly consist of the sattvic type of food for a healthy development of the baby and a smooth delivery.
In fact, the Ayurvedic principles recommend that the sattvic diet should be adopted a minimum of three months before conception.
The Sattvic Food Includes
- Fruits like peach, mango, coconut, and pears.
- Highly nutritional vegetables like sprouts, parsley, squash, and sweet potato.
- Basmati rice.
- Ghee (clarified butter).
- Moderate quantities of fish, chicken, kidney, and lime beans.
Ayurvedic Diet Routine During Pregnancy
The right diet plan according to Ayurveda should consist of the following basic routine:
i. Start the morning with fresh fruits in their solid form or juice form.
ii. Eat breakfast accompanied by porridges, cereals, boiled eggs, and dry nuts, especially almonds. Make it a point to include milk.
iii. Start the lunch with a salad made of fresh vegetables. Carrots, tomatoes, and green vegetables are a good option as they are a high source of vitamins.
iv. Follow by wheat bread (chapatti), rice, cooked vegetables (sabzi), lentils, and white meat if desired. Avoid red meat because it has a high chance of causing toxin accumulation in the body.
v. During the first three months of pregnancy, the fetus undergoes intense and exponential growth. These months are critically important, and hence, nutritious fluids should regularly be consumed. These include milk, coconut water, fruit juices, and water.
vi. The seventh-month calls for a decrease in the intake of fats and salts, and an increase in food items rich in proteins. These include wheat, rye, oats, ghee, rice kanji, sprouts, lentils, beans, wholemeal bread, dry peas, and soybean.
Do not forget vegetables like spinach, potatoes, fresh fruits, and dry fruits like almonds, dates, figs, and grapes. They help immensely in the fetus sustenance.
Food To Eat During Pregnancy According To Ayurveda
There are certain foods of a high nutritive value that should not be missed during pregnancy. The following are the essential foods to be consumed and the reasons behind it:
1. Ghee: It provides strength and stamina to the body. It lubricates the body and promotes a favorable delivery. It also helps the baby in acquiring concentration, memory, and mental skills.
2. Butter: It improves the appetite and increases strength. It prevents constipation, and it adds shine to the skin of the baby.
3. Milk: It is a high source of calcium, which is a much-required nutrient for the health of a woman. It promotes the growth of the fetus, and when taken with the herb Shatavari, it provides vitamin A and B. The consumption of milk helps in a healthy breastfeeding.
4. Buttermilk: A small bowl of fresh buttermilk helps in improving appetite and digestion, and it prevents bloating, constipation, and gastritis.
5. Vegetables like fenugreek, spinach, cabbage, pumpkin, okra, potatoes, cucumber, bitter guard, bottle guard, and carrot are especially recommended during pregnancy. They are good sources of vitamins and minerals. However, vegetables like corn, mushrooms, peas, and beans should be avoided.
6. Fruits: Certain fruits like gooseberry, apple figs, sapodilla (chikoo) are very beneficial for the overall health of the mother and the baby. Vitamin C rich fruits like limes, grapes, and oranges should also be added to the diet.
Mangoes, watermelons, custard apples, guavas, and pears should be consumed with moderation. Fruits like papaya, pineapple, and kiwi should be avoided. Fruits should be taken every day.
7. Dry fruits: They provide strength to the bones, maintain healthy levels of hemoglobin in the blood, they are rich sources of iron and calcium, they help in tissue formation, and they improve appetite.
8. Water: It should be consumed warm. Water can be boiled with a 24-karat gold piece in it for fifteen minutes to boost the immunity and stimulate the brain.
9. Fresh fruit juices: They regulate the levels of fluid and acidity in the body.
10. Coconut water: It improves the amniotic fluid.
11. Lentils, sprouts, eggs, rice, wheat, maize flour are rich sources of protein.
Note that certain foods should be avoided. These include junk food, fast food, fermented food, processed, food, cold drinks, hot drinks, and Aloe Vera.
Ayurvedic Diet According To Pregnancy Months
Ayurveda prescribes specific food habits for each month of pregnancy for the typical development of the baby and the health of the mother, as follows:
1. Ayurvedic Diet For First Month Of Pregnancy
The mother should start drinking a minimum of two glasses of milk daily for ensuring an appropriate portion of calcium intake. This habit should be continued throughout pregnancy for the healthy development of the fetus. The milk can be flavored with almonds, cardamom, or dried ginger as desired. These options can also be considered in case of nausea complaints.
2.Ayurvedic Diet For Second Month Of Pregnancy
The daily portion of milk should contain sweet herbs like Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) and Bala (Sidacordifolia). Two teaspoons of any of these medicated herbs should be added to a glass of milk for consumption.
3.Ayurvedic Diet For Third Month Of Pregnancy
The diet should start richening in clarified butter (ghee), buttermilk and honey. Honey can be added to the milk glass, but the milk should be either warm or at room temperature, not hot. It can be accompanied by ghee, though in unequal proportions.
For example, one teaspoon of honey can be combined with two teaspoons of ghee and added to a glass of milk. The additions of these foods provide strength and vitality to the future mother.
4.Ayurvedic Diet For Fourth Month Of Pregnancy
The diet should be rich in extremely nutritious foods including vegetables, fruits, and their juices. It is recommended to add unsalted fresh butter with crystal sugar into food items.
5.Ayurvedic Diet For Fifth Month Of Pregnancy
The intake of ghee should be increased to a daily dose of six to seven teaspoons. This can be taken raw or added to food items or dishes.
The ghee should be made from cow milk to avoid the production and accumulation of fat in the body, which carries undesired consequences.
6.Ayurvedic Diet For Sixth Month Of Pregnancy
Apart from nutritive food items and ghee, herbs like licorice and Shatavari should be taken in the morning on an empty stomach.
7. Ayurvedic Diet For Seventh Month Of Pregnancy
The diet plan should be nutritive and balanced as in the previous months.
8. Ayurvedic Diet For Eight Month Of Pregnancy
Include a milk-based sweet porridge, wheat, rice vermicelli, and semolina in the daily food regime. These dishes should be consumed at least once per day during the eight month.
9. Ayurvedic Diet For Nine Month Of Pregnancy
This month demands an increased nourishment and care. Nutritive supplements like fats, proteins, and vitamins often become essential in this month.
Apart from these, Ayurvedic oil massages should be compulsorily performed to promote the correct position of the baby for an easy and favorable delivery.
Habits & Other Aspects
A proper diet is essential during pregnancy, but there are other healthy habits that should also be practiced. These include:
- Having the meals on regular timings.
- Consuming freshly prepared food.
- Consuming herbal supplements of minerals and vitamins.
- Going to bed early in the night (6 PM to 10 PM) and waking up early in the morning (6 AM to 10 AM).
- Avoiding naps during a hot season.
- Resting properly, especially during the first two months and last two months of pregnancy.
- Performing a full body massage daily with a recommended herbal oil.
- Taking a warm water bath or shower after the massage.
- Taking a sitz-bath for a few times every week when the last six weeks of pregnancy start.
- Performing exercises like walking, swimming, and yoga during the first trimester.
- Meditating for improving the mental connection and communication between the mother and the baby.
- Maintaining a positive and calm attitude throughout pregnancy.
Tips To Follow During Pregnancy According To Ayurveda
Pregnancy is a beautiful period in the life of the parents during which the mother and the baby require special attention and care.
Ayurveda makes some important suggestions that support and promote the development of the fetus with the help of “apana vata,” or “energy of the body moving downwards.”
The fetal needs are fulfilled by the “prana vata,” or upwards moving energy. Without this energy, the mother can be susceptible to fatigue, exhaustion, stress, and depression.
The balance between apana and prana energies is indispensable for the maintenance of a healthy pregnancy. It can be done with the help of these classic instructions:
i. Try To Stay Happy At All Times
Pregnancy does not only require physical care, but also a lot of emotional support. Strictly stay away from anything that incites or conveys violence. Avoid negative feelings like fear, doubt, grief, sorrow, or anger as they do not favor the development and health of the fetus.
Stay happy with the help of exposure to an optimistic environment and surround yourself with cheerful and supportive people that are happy to give you their attention and time. This is the most important principle for the delivery of a healthy child.
ii. Satisfy Your Cravings
During pregnancy, the food is consumed by two different types of bodies. The presence of cravings is natural in this phase. Pay attention and support them.
Maintain a well-balanced diet that is rich in fiber, vitamins, proteins, and all the required nutrients and eat various types of foods as desired.
However, avoid the consumption of hot and spicy food, raw leafy vegetables, undercooked and overcooked food, artificial preservatives, flavors, and additives.
iii. Heal The Sickness
Nausea is common during pregnancy. Sickness and vomiting often take place in the morning, but they can take place at any time of the day. They can last from weeks to months, or they can occur at random. Follow these tips to treat this condition and enhance your feeling of wellbeing:
- Go for an early morning walk and practice pranayama.
- Sleep in a comfortable semi-reclined position with the help of a pillow.
- Inhale the vapors that arise from boiled mint leaves. They are known to provide relief to the stomach.
- Sip on an herbal tea made of fennel seeds and ginger powder for a soothing effect.
- Lick a mixture made of two powdered cloves and a teaspoon of honey for immediate relief.
- Eat cardamom powder throughout the day. To make it, roast a few cardamom seeds before grinding them into their powder form.
- Have dry snacks like crackers or salted potato chips.
iv. Get Herbal Oil Massages
Massages with herbal oils calm the nervous system and the body of the mother overall. They, in turn, convey calmness in the body of the baby. The massages can be done by oneself or by a familiar person, but only after the fifth month. They are very helpful in the eighth and ninth month when performed on the abdomen and nipples to prepare for breastfeeding.
v. Balance The Vata
Vata is one of the principal constituting energies of the body. This energy is associated mainly with the nervous system, and its balance is the key to a healthy pregnancy. The main flavors that balance the Vata energy are salty, sour, and especially sweet.
Ensure that your diet is rich in sprouts, vegetables, whole grains, fresh food, fruits, and rice. Include coconut oil and olive oil in it, and starch-rich foods like carrots, quinoa, beets, and sweet potatoes. Avoid the consumption of leftovers and focus on homemade, fresh food items
The above-explained recommendations of Ayurveda during pregnancy are beneficial in the maintenance of the health of both the baby and the mother. However, because of the sensitivity of this miraculous phase, it is always recommended to consult the doctor and attend regular checkups as scheduled by the healthcare professional.