• Birthing Ayurveda: Week 24—Bowel Back-Ups
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • November 19, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 24—Bowel Back-Ups

    I have been waiting for the all too common pregnancy complaint of occasional constipation. But I have yet to experience it and I can say that I am quite thankful for that! My bowels are normally quite regular, but I think that some good habits have helped me. In this article let’s explore why this happens in the first place, what can help keep you regular, and what to do if you run into that occasional period of constipation.

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 23—Building the Baby with Proper Pregnancy Nutrition
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • November 12, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 23—Building the Baby with Proper Pregnancy Nutrition

    For every fetus, the mother should increase her caloric intake only by about 300 kcal/day (and if you are starting at a normal BMI, you can increase that number to about 500 kcal/day in the third trimester). These are nutrient-rich calories. Where should those extra calories come from?

  • 42 Days after Birth—Supporting and Restoring Balance to the Mother
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • November 06, 2015
    42 Days after Birth—Supporting and Restoring Balance to the Mother

    How do we rebalance our sacred womb after birth? In India, the Ayurvedic system recommends the mother receive care for 42 days after the baby is born. This means the mother is given the support to rest, sleep, eat, and get nourishment after the baby is born. This window in time is deeply critical for the mother and the child to acclimate to each other, heal, and bond as a family. In our “western” culture we are asked to move quickly into the mother role and jump back to our responsibilities in and outside of the home. In addition, it takes a woman’s body a minimum of 1-2 years to fully recover from the birth experience. It can be longer if you are breast-feeding, became pregnant with another child, or did not take the important steps to recover.

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 22—The Development of Consciousness
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • November 05, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 22—The Development of Consciousness

    During week 16, we explored the three doshas or energies of the mind, sattva, rajas, and tamas, as it applies to the emotions of our being and the passion we live life with. As I enter month five, I began to think about those concepts as it relates to consciousness and higher psychological centers (in contrast to the intellect, or buddhi which is to come during month six). This center is that place of deep insight and intuition, far beyond the reaches of the intellect. According to Ayurveda, this part of Charlie (what we call the baby) begins to take strong development during this month.

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 21—Deciding Where To Deliver
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • October 29, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 21—Deciding Where To Deliver

    I started my pregnancy care pretty rapidly with a physician. It was what kind of fell into my lap with a recommendation from another physician friend. Plus I was fairly new to this small town in West Texas, where, at the time, there were not any options besides a pretty traditional hospital delivery, with or without doula support. I loved my obstetrician. She was kind, intelligent, and capable. But something just was not clicking for me.

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 20—How To Care For Your Stretching Belly
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • October 22, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 20—How To Care For Your Stretching Belly

    I shifted into the twentieth week this week, and I can say that my belly is noticeably getting larger. After yoga class one day, my brother and sister-in-law looked at my belly and exclaimed, “Woah! Your belly grew over night!” It really did seem to be so, since over the week several people, including my brother-in-law, my husband, and yoga teacher all commented on how much bigger my belly is.

    This was a bit of a relief to me since many people barely noticed that I was pregnant until the last few weeks, unless I work a tighter shirt. But Charlie (what we call the baby) is right on point, and will grow at an even faster rate over the next several weeks.

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 19—Do We Want to Know the Gender? And Ultrasounds
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • October 15, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 19—Do We Want to Know the Gender? And Ultrasounds

    There is this idea that, as much as possible, do not intrude on the baby. It is in a very private place, where it cannot be seen—likely for a reason. The baby is processing and is very internal. For this reason, though it is said you can feel the baby’s pulse through the mother’s (and hence tell the prakriti of the baby), generally it is not advised to do so.

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 18—Why I Decided on Genetic Testing
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • October 08, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 18—Why I Decided on Genetic Testing

    I came back from my trip this past week to the decision of whether to do genetic testing or not. If you are at this stage of your pregnancy (about 4 months) and have not already been asked this question by your provider, you should be soon. There are several types of testing that you can do (talk to your provider), but most of them involve some combination of blood tests and may also involve a sonogram. You can even have your blood tested for placental fragments, which hold your baby’s DNA. From that simple blood test, you can tell all about your baby’s genetics.

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 17—Sex During Pregnancy
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • September 30, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 17—Sex During Pregnancy

    I am now feeling much better, with more energy. Almost like my old self. With that, many women at this point are ready to tend to their sex life with their partner if they haven’t already started to do so. This is a topic that my clients almost always ask me about.

    It is a topic that people can get very charged about, especially if they do not get the answer that they want (which varies quite a bit!). Sex is, after all, about intimacy, relationships, self-expression, and pleasure.

    Rather than looking at this from the point of view of morality, right and wrong, and other views that are very subjective, let us explore it from the point of view of the doshas (vata, pitta, kapha).

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 16—Your Baby's Developing Emotions
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • September 24, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 16—Your Baby's Developing Emotions

    During the fourth, fifth, and sixth months of the pregnancy, critical parts of the baby’s brain and mind develop. The fourth month is dominated by the development of the heart center, which involves emotions and the ability to sympathize and empathize, as well as desires and tendencies of the personality. Normally, we do not necessarily associate emotions and passion with either the heart or the brain alone. But the heart center, specifically the fourth chakra, is the center from where we connect with the outside world—which is why our hands will come first to our heart area when something moves us before they move to the head. Ayurveda has beautifully spoken about the mind in terms of a different set of doshas. Like vata, pitta, and kapha, all three have important functions in the mind in a healthy and balanced state.

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 15—5 Things to Consider When Traveling While Pregnant
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • September 17, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 15—5 Things to Consider When Traveling While Pregnant

    This week I left home for a three-week journey with my spiritual teacher. There will be a lot of movement, a lot of high-altitudes, which means a lot of potential for vata. Taking time to balance vata will be very important for me, and any pregnant mother planning on travel during pregnancy. There are also a number of things that go along with travel that raises questions in pregnant mothers’ minds.

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 14—Clean Up
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • September 10, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 14—Clean Up

    For those that are familiar with the Patanjali Yoga Sutras (the ancient scriptures that first talked about yoga) and its yamas (social disciplines) and niyamas (individual disciplines), you will recall that one of the niyamas is sauca (cleanliness). Over the years, this concept has broadened in its meaning and applicability in my life.

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 13—The Benefits of Yoga and Exercise During Pregnancy
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • September 03, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 13—The Benefits of Yoga and Exercise During Pregnancy

    In this entry of our "Birthing Ayurveda" series, Vrinda documents her process of incorporating exercise and yoga into her daily routine during her pregnancy.

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 12—Become a Trustee
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • August 27, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 12—Become a Trustee

    We are trustees of this Soul, responsible for its growth and nurturing for the next several years until it has grown into itself, at which time we are simply his or her friend and companion in life. At the end of his or her growth with us, we hand the Soul back to the Universe, hopefully with the satisfaction that we lived as solid examples and nurtured the Soul to its fullest expression.

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 11—High Vata: Wakeful Nights and Pelvic Girdle Pain
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • August 20, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 11—High Vata: Wakeful Nights and Pelvic Girdle Pain

    My constitution is Pitta-Vata, though a vata imbalance is usually what manifests in my body. So it is no surprise that vata has been making a star appearance in my body the last several weeks.

    Along with pitta heartburn, I get incredibly bloated after meals (I have become a burping monster). I wake up between 2 and 4 am every morning—wide awake. And then I wake up every half or hour until I finally get up around 6 am. Luckily, constipation, a common vata and pregnancy symptom, is not something I am struggling with.

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 10—The Tostada Breakthrough: Listen to Your Body!
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • August 13, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 10—The Tostada Breakthrough: Listen to Your Body!

    I had been eating only mung dal cooked with veggies, with fruit as my snacks, for two to three weeks. And I just about had it. One day I was eating a bowl of my dal, and I looked at it with exhaustion. My taste buds were not interested and it almost made me nauseated. I came to the kitchen table where some of my family was sitting and prepping for dinner, and I announced that all I want to eat is a tostada!

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 9—Living by Example
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • August 07, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 9—Living by Example

    I started paying a lot more attention to Vrinda this week—what her thoughts were, the little things that irked her, the subtle comparisons and judgments she makes, excuses she makes. It’s all subtle, but it adds up. And Charlie (our nickname for the baby) is constantly watching and listening to all this—the Mother spoke about how the child’s education starts well before birth.

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 8—Intractable Vomiting
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • July 30, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 8—Intractable Vomiting

    This week I got real friendly with our toilet… and the airport toilet. I had spent the weekend with my parents and in-laws in Virginia and on the way back things just went haywire. This was a bit of a surprise to me since I hadn’t really had any vomiting. The day after I got back was my recovery day, that is, before I hit the bathroom again the next day.

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 7—Fear Into Courage and Combating Nausea
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • July 23, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 7—Fear Into Courage and Combating Nausea

    Fear is a funny thing. Those who are familiar with Ayurveda know that fear and anxiety are vata emotions because they have such an airy quality to them. In other words, there’s no real substance to it—yet, they have this amazing ability to completely take over and dominate the mind and one’s existence. 

    More often than not, they are products of our imagination. The mind goes into “what-if’s” about the unknown—an area that the mind has absolutely no knowledge of or experience with and therefore cannot make any judgments or opinions with real basis.

  • Birthing Ayurveda: Week 6—Shut Up and Dance
    • Ayurveda for Pregnancy & Childbirth
    • July 17, 2015
    Birthing Ayurveda: Week 6—Shut Up and Dance

    Finding out that I am pregnant is probably one of the most frightening things I have ever experienced. This pregnancy was completely unexpected. I actually took the test to prove to my husband that he was wrong about me being pregnant (he has always had this annoyingly accurate intuition).

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Ayurveda for Pregnancy and Childbirth

Ayurveda offers a wealth of wisdom and a long tradition of supporting healthy pregnancy and childbirth. It honors the entire journey from preconception through each trimester to labor, birth, and postpartum.

According to Ayurveda, the path to parenthood begins long before conception. It recommends preparing for pregnancy for several months prior to trying to conceive in order to nurture optimal fertility and support a healthy birth. This process nourishes and prepares the physical body, while also honoring the mental and emotional aspects of bring a healthy baby into the world.

With this recognition that fertility is equally spiritual and emotional as it is physical, Ayurveda offers guidelines and practices to support the entire mind-body system.

On a physical level, taking time to cultivate optimal health of the body and reproductive tissues before conception can greatly support a smooth and healthy pregnancy and birth. Ayurveda offers specific protocols for cleansing the body, rejuvenating the tissues, and incorporating a healthy, nourishing diet that will provide the nutrition needed for a healthy, happy parent and baby.

Ayurveda has plenty to offer in the realm of spiritual and emotional preparation as well. Through lifestyle practices, a nourishing daily routine, pregnancy yoga, and meditation practices, this ancient wisdom tradition provides tools to manage stress and experience greater self-awareness and ease throughout the journey of pregnancy, birth, and beyond.

Of course, pregnancy is a unique journey for each and every person, and challenges can arise even in the healthiest situations—dealing with things like morning sickness and digestive discomfort can be a natural part of the experience. Ayurveda offers effective ways to support the body throughout all the ups and downs.

Highlighted in these blog articles is a series called Birthing Ayurveda, written by Vrinda Devani, an MD, Obstetrician and Gynecologist, and Ayurvedic Practitioner. These articles follow Vrinda’s own journey through pregnancy and postpartum, offering expert advice on Ayurvedic self-care practices for each and every stage of the process.

Starting with Vrinda’s positive pregnancy test at week six, the series provides a window into one woman’s initiation into motherhood, complete with all the joys and challenges expectant mothers may face. It also covers the first weeks of postpartum, a time that is very important to the health and well-being of mother and newborn.

This postpartum time is a major threshold and transition for the entire family, one that can often leave new parents feeling alone, exhausted, and unsupported. Ayurveda emphasizes the continued importance of nourishing and nurturing new parents as well as the newborn child, in order to restore physical strength, build strong emotional bonds, and set everyone up for success as an entirely new cycle of life unfolds.

Throughout the journey of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, there are several Ayurvedic herbs for pregnancy that can support overall health and balance. For example, Ayurveda has traditionally used herbs like shatavari and ashwagandha to support the reproductive system, promote fertility, and even support the healthy production of breastmilk.

There are also Ayurvedic herbal teas for pregnancy, such as CCF Tea, which supports healthy and balanced digestion.

Of course, we always recommend consulting with your health care practitioner prior to introducing herbal products and health practices if you are pregnant or nursing.

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