Ayurveda in pregnancy. Ayurveda and Yoga are inseparable and overlap each other. This is no wonder since both systems have their roots in the Vedas (scriptures of the ancient Indian culture). Yoga and Ayurveda complement each other perfectly and should, therefore, be used together. Ayurveda offers guidance for proper nutrition, a healthy daily routine and also points out the importance of happiness during pregnancy. You can find out more about yoga in the first trimester here.
Eating right – Ayurveda in pregnancy.
The basis of Ayurveda is the theory of constitution, in which three different types of body structures (Doshas) are distinguished. Find out your dosha here. During pregnancy, you should take special care that your dosha is balanced. This can be achieved by a diet that is adapted to your dosha. If you are unsure which type of constitution you are, you can seek help from an Ayurvedic doctor or counsellor.
Tips for the right diet
- Eat foods that are associated with the principle of Sattva. This promotes lightness, clarity and purity. Sattvic foods are fresh fruit and vegetables, cooked, dairy products (except mature cheese), nuts, legumes, wholemeal products and honey. Avoid ready-made products, warmed up foods, frozen foods, genetically modified food as well as meat, eggs and fish. Any food, which includes the harming of animals is not sattvic, that also includes milk products for mass production.
- You did not eat a vegetarian diet before your pregnancy, and would like to do so now? Then it is advisable to seek help. You can get all the nutrients you need from a vegetarian diet, but you must make sure that you eat a colourful diet. Simply switching to pasta with tomato sauce and gratinated cheese with cranberries is not a HEALTHY vegetarian diet! Also, a vegan diet is possible, but take extra care of Vitamin B12.
- You should eat at least one of the following vegetables every day: leafy greens, cabbage, broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots. These vegetables cover a range of vitamins.
- Eat whatever you feel like. Now is not the time to give yourself a hard time. Follow your preferences and your baby’s appetite, as long as they are not harmful to the two of you. If you don’t listen to your desires, it could increase your Vata (air and space element). This could lead to constipation, hyperactivity, agitation and restlessness.
- Avoid caffeine. This substance acts like adrenaline in your body and puts your entire system under stress. Caffeine is found in coffee, green tea, black tea, white tea, energy drinks and Coca-Cola.
- Eat-in a quiet atmosphere. We absorb the energy around us while eating. Therefore, make sure that you plan enough time for a peaceful meal while sitting down. You should also feel comfortable after the meal and not stuffed or bloated.
- Eat all 6 flavours, but especially sweet, sour and salty. The 6 flavours and associated foods are: Sweet (ripe fruit, honey), sour (lemon, tomato), salty (rock salt, sea salt), bitter (turmeric, rhubarb), astringent (spinach, lentils) and hot (black pepper).
- Eat foods that form Ojas (energetic building material). You create a new living being within you; for this, you need enough building material. All sattvic foods form Ojas, but especially ghee (clarified butter) and milk. Ayurveda recommends expectant mothers to drink a glass of warm milk with a teaspoon of clarified butter daily.
- Avoid food that is associated with the principle of tamas. These foods form ama (toxins) instead of Ojas (energetic building material). Tamas food: meat, eggs, alcohol, mature cheese, mushrooms, garlic, peanuts, hot spices like chilli and fermented food.
Natural daily routine – Ayurveda in pregnancy
A regular daily routine and a natural rhythm give you and your baby stability, support and structure. Especially during pregnancy, it is essential that you feel safe and comfortable. Regulated meal times, sufficient sleep and many rest breaks support this magical process of creation. Make your own little rituals: a breakfast ritual, a massage ritual, a bedtime ritual…
Abhyanga – Full body oil massage – Ayurveda in pregnancy
To strengthen your self-esteem, body awareness and connective tissue, you should have a full-body oil massage every day. Either your partner will do it for you. Otherwise, it is, of course, no problem at all to massage yourself. Your baby will also feel the gentle touches.
Instructions for a full-body self-massage
Put some oil in your palm. Start at your head. Massage your scalp in a circular motion. Close your eyes and enjoy the sensations. Next, gently stroke your face, from bottom to top, against gravity. Also gently rub your ears (many nerves here are connected to the whole body). Now come to your neck and throat, do not leave out any part.
The arms and hands are next. Circular movements over the joints (elbows, wrist, shoulder) and in long up and down movements over the long bones. Massage each finder from the root to the tip of the finger in a pulling motion.
Massage your upper body only very gently. Make large circular movements around the breasts, stomach and lower abdomen. When you massage your belly, send loving thoughts of your little miracle. Massage your back as well if you can. Do not strain.
Finally, devote yourself to your legs and feet in the same way as your arms—circular movements at the joints and long up and down movements at the long bones. You can rub your feet a little harder. This will activate all your internal organs. In the end, you pull on every single toe.
If you have time, you can let the oil soak in a little. If you want to take a shower after the massage, use only a very mild soap so that the protective layer of oil is not washed off completely.
The oil should be adjusted to your Dosha. Sesame, almond or walnut oil is suitable for Vata. Pitta should go with coconut, olive or avocado oil. For Kapha, you can use mustard seed, sunflower or safflower oil.
Aromatherapy – Ayurveda in pregnancy
In aromatherapy, plants and herbs are used in their essences. You can put the aromatic oil on your clothes, put it in your bath water or light a fragrance lamp for your daily meditation. Here are some good aromas for pregnancy and their effects: Mandarin (soothing), Chamomile (digestive), Geranium (mood-lifting), Ginger (for nausea), Ylang-Ylang (activating), Lavender (pain-relieving), Patchouli (grounding), Neroli (refreshing) and Vanilla (sleep-inducing).
Attention: Not every plant is suitable for pregnant women! Avoid basil, cinnamon, clove, peppermint and thyme.
Contentment and happiness during pregnancy
Your own satisfaction and balance during pregnancy is by far the most important factor for a healthy and happy child. Your personal condition influences the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of your offspring more than anything else. During this special time, you should surround yourself with positive and joyful people who give you a feeling of security. Avoid horror movies and rather watch love stories or at least funny movies. Your choice of reading also influences the fetus. Listen to uplifting and relaxing music. Studies show that such music promotes your baby’s intelligence. In Ayurveda, this is called ‘Garbh Sanskar’, which translates as ‘education in the womb’. Especially the sound of the Veena (Indian string instrument), the flute and chanted mantras from Samaveda promote the health of mother and baby.
I wish you a wonderful start into your pregnancy. You are now going through a truly magical change, for yourself, your partnership and your child.
Do you have any suggestions, questions or want to share your experiences? – Then leave your comment!