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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 5-9

Ayurveda principles of Garbhiniparicharya (prenatal care) and its scientific relevance


Department of Kaumarabhritya, SDM Institute of Ayurveda and Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission29-Mar-2020
Date of Decision08-May-2020
Date of Acceptance13-May-2020
Date of Web Publication2-Jul-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Reena Kulkarni
Department of Kaumarabhritya, SDM Institute of Ayurveda and Hospital, Anchepalya, Bengaluru, Karnataka.
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/JISM.JISM_24_20

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  Abstract 

Food regimen during pregnancy is a unique contribution of Ayurveda, aiming at wholesome prenatal care of the pregnant lady and the growing fetus. This aids in proper fetal nutrition and prevents the ill effects of maternal diseases. Thus, it aims at the production of a healthy progeny, which is superior in all the aspects than its predecessors. Basic information was collected from Ayurveda texts and interpretations based on the cross-references and research updates available in print as well as online versions. The diet and regimen of Garbhini (pregnant lady) needs to be Madhura Rasa Praya (predominantly sweet), Sheethaveerya (cold potency), Brihmana (nourishing), Ojovardhana (improves vitality), and Anulomana (gut clearing). The regimen of first trimester focuses mainly on the maintenance of balanced diet in the mother, second trimester focuses to promote physical growth and nutrition of the baby, whereas in the third trimester, main focus is on the enhancement of fetal nutrition and facilitation of easy and natural process of delivery.

Keywords: Ayurveda, fetal nutrition, Garbhiniahara, prenatal care


How to cite this article:
Kulkarni R, Srilakshmi C, Sarada M. Ayurveda principles of Garbhiniparicharya (prenatal care) and its scientific relevance. J Indian Sys Medicine 2020;8:5-9

How to cite this URL:
Kulkarni R, Srilakshmi C, Sarada M. Ayurveda principles of Garbhiniparicharya (prenatal care) and its scientific relevance. J Indian Sys Medicine [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Aug 14];8:5-9. Available from: http://www.joinsysmed.com/text.asp?2020/8/1/5/288808




  Introduction Top


Ayurveda, the Indian system of medicine, is the first recorded medical science widely practiced in India since ancient times.[1] Ayurveda is entirely dedicated to health and welfare of the mankind through achievement of Dharma (righteous living), Artha (wealth), Kama (aspirations), and Moksha (salvation). Shreyasi Praja (virtuous offspring or healthy progeny) is considered as one of the prerequisites for this. Health of the parents, gametes, and especially of the pregnant lady is important in achieving healthy progeny.[2],[3] The growth and development of the Garbha (fetus) depends on health, activities, mental status, and diet of the mother. Thus, the pregnant women desirous of virtuous child should indulge in prescribed diet and regimen termed as Garbhiniparicharya or Garbhopakrama.[4],[5] Ayurveda prescribes an action plan for pregnant ladies comprising congenial food, physical activities, balanced status of mind, and plant-based medicines for the maintenance of pregnancy (Garbhasthapaka Dravyas). Avoidance of certain factors that are harmful to the fetus and pregnant lady is also carefully designed (Garbhopaghatakara Bhavas). These are done to ensure normal pregnancy and uncomplicated labor with delivery of a healthy baby from a healthy mother. Considering the importance of food regimen during pregnancy, this paper emphasizes on ethnopharmacological practices on the diet regimen in Garbhini (pregnant women).


  Materials and Methods Top


Basic information is collected from Brihattaryee and Ashtanga Sangraha and interpretations based on the cross-references and research updates available in print and online versions.


  Results Top


Monthly diet regimen in pregnant lady (Masanumasika Garbhini Pathya)[6] is summarized and tabulated in [Table 1]. The Ahara (food) consumed by Garbhini (pregnant women) will transform into Rasa Dhatu, which has trifold action to nourish a woman’s body, to help in the formation of Stanya (breast milk), and to nourish the Garbha (fetus).[8]
Table 1: Month-wise diet regimen for Garbhini

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The general principle of Aharakrama (food regimen) advised for Garbhini (pregnant women) is as follows[6]:

  • Satmyabhojana (wholesome diet)


  • Madhura Rasa (sweet substances)


  • Sheethaguna (cooling nature)


  • Sheethaveerya (cold potency)


  • Dravaprayam (liquid diet)


  • The Guna Karma (properties and function) of the Vishesha Aharakrama (special diet) are as follows:

  • Ksheera (milk): Madhura Rasa (sweet taste), Snigdha (unctuous), Ojasyam (immunity), Dhatuvardhanam (tissue promoting), Vatapittahara (alleviates Vata and Pitta Dosha), Vrishya (aphrodisiac), Guru (heavy), Sheetha (cold), and Stanyakaram (galactogogue)[9]


  • Ghrita (ghee): Dhee, Smriti, Medha (intellect promoting), Agni[9] (improves digestion), Bala (promotes strength), Ayu (longevity), Shukra Vardhakam (aphrodisiac), Soukumaryakaram (slender), Prajakaram (improves fertility), Vatapittahara (alleviates Vata and Pitta Dosha), Uthamasneha (best among unctuous substances), Sheethaveeryam (cold potency)[10]


  • Shalaparni (Desmodium gangeticum): Chardigna (relieves vomiting), Tridoshahara (alleviates tridosha), Brihmana (bulk promoting), Rasayana (rejuvenating), Vishahara (antitoxin), Madhura (sweet), Krimihara (antimicrobial), Vrishya (aphrodisiac), Angamardaprashamana (alleviates body ache)[11]


  • Palasha (Butea monosperma): Madhura, Dahanashaka (alleviates burning sensation), Snigdha[12]


  • Suvarna (gold): Madhura, Vrishya, Hridyam (cardiac tonic), Medhyam (nootropic), Rasayana, Pumsavanopayogi (bestows fertility), Vishahara, Kanthikrt (bestows complexion)[13]


  • Rajatha (silver): Madhura, Sheetha, Snigdha, Vatakaphahara (alleviates Vata and Kapha Dosha), Balya (strength promoting), Sthira (brings stability), Medhya, Trishnahara (relieves excess thirst), Shoshahara (clears wasting), Aayushyam (longevity)[14]


  • Sheethajala (cold water): Jeevanam (vitalizing), Tarpanam (nourishing), Hridyam, Hladi (elevates mood), Amrutopamam (acts like nectar)[15]


  • Navaneetha (butter): Pittavatahara (alleviates Vata and Pitta), Agnideepanam (digestant), Medhya, Hridya, Avidahi (nongastric irritant), Rochanam (relieves distaste), Balyam, Brihmana, Soukumaryakrt, Ojodhatuvivardhanam (improves Ojas)[16]


  • Madhu (honey): Kaphapittahara (alleviates Kapha and Pitta)[17]


  • Madhura Aushadha (group of sweet drugs): Janmaprabhriti Satmyam (congenial since birth), Sarvadhatu Vardhanam, Aayushyam, Preenanam (nourishing), Brihmana, Jeevanam, Tarpanam, Sthairyakaram, Stanyakaram, Snigdha, Sheetha, Mridu, Guru (heavy to digest), Vatapittashamaka, Indriyaprasadana (nourishes sense organs), and Dehaprahladana (energetic)[18]


  • Kola: Ruchyam (improves taste), Vatahara (alleviates Vata), Hridyam, Anulomana (brings normal flow of Vata), Deepana, Pachana (carminative), and Brihmana[19]


  • Yavagu (gruel): Trishnahara, Bastishodhana (clears bladder), Vata Anulomana, Tarpana, Laghu (light for digestion), and Hridya[20]


  • Jangala Mamsa Rasa (meat soup): Sheetha, Laghu, Tridoshahara


  • The nutritional benefits of these Aharakrama (food regimen) as per contemporary science are depicted in [Table 2].
    Table 2: Nutritional analysis of the Vishesha Ahara Krama

    Click here to view



      Discussion Top


    Predominant diet and regimen of Garbhini (pregnant women) needs to be Madhura Rasa Praya, Sheethaveerya, Brihmana, Ojovardhana, and Anulomana. The diet regimen advised in the first month enables for the attainment of stability of the Garbha (fetus) as being processed with Garbhasthapaka Aushadhas (group of plants that aid in stabilizing fetus). The nutrition of mother is taken care of by milk (balanced diet) as vomiting in first trimester prevents her from taking large quantities of solid foods. Moreover, Garbhasthapaka Aushadhas are rich in improving the Ojas; thus, ensuring the health of the mother and preventing early pregnancy loss through Garbhasrava (abortion) in the initial 3 months of pregnancy. Suvarna (gold) and Rajatha (silver) are considered as Nadibalya (neurotonic)[14] and aid in the proper development of nervous system, which is the most differentiating and evolving tissue in the first trimester. Navaneetha (butter) is specifically indicated in the fourth month, which is followed by intake of ghee in successive months that is processed with Madhura Aushadha, which acts as Ojovardhana, Hridya, Indriyavardhana (aids in the development of sense organs), and Balya. The lipids along with the calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D and other elements aid in the cell development, proper development of other systems, and bone mineralization. These energy-dense foods provide additional supplementation for the mother to prevent Balavarnahani (loss of strength and complexion) and Karshya (emaciation), reported in the fifth month.[28] Thus, the diet of first trimester seems to be a concept of administering a fortified wholesome food that enhances the bioavailability and yields diet enriched with natural folic acid, minerals, and vitamins. In addition to this, use of Navaneetha and ghee along with milk upholds the principle of Snehasamanyata (diet similar in composition to tissues) with due consideration to the growth of brain and central nervous system, which also requires polyunsaturated fatty acids for optimal growth.[29]

    In the seventh month of gestation, the mother is prone to develop itchy, dry skin with laxity, termed as Kikkisa, and also high probability of salt and fluid retention, owing to innate hormonal changes and circulatory overload. Thus, diet with reduced Lavana (salt) and Sneha (unctuous), advised along with Madhura Sheethaahara (sweet and cold food)[30] and restricted water intake is thus ideal in this month and onward.[31] Milk itself is the best to promote Ojas, thus advised in the eighth month along with nutritious food.[30] These would support developing of body defense mechanisms and enzymatic systems. Further, advice of frequent small meal could be to support the lady as she might be having chest oppression by full-grown fetus whose head is yet to descend in the true pelvis. In the ninth month, further unctuousness and nutrition are brought about by the use of Bahusnighdhayavagu (gruel enriched with ghee) and meat soups,[30] thus ensuring better development of musculoskeletal system of the fetus. The food and other regimen such as Abhyanga (massage) and Vasti (enema) to the mother will aid in preparing the path for easy and smooth delivery in her.[32] Considering the feasibility of the drug and tedious nature of the procedure mentioned, following regimen could be easy and adaptable as based on the existing practices. In the first trimester, pregnant women may be encouraged to consume repeatedly milk processed with Balamoola (root of Sida cordifolia) with jaggery. One can even encourage eating in silver vessels and drinking water dipped with gold. If vomiting is not distressing, she can have diet rich in carbohydrates with addition of ghee, green leafy vegetables, and fruits. In the second trimester, encourage the addition of protein-rich food such as dry fruits, sprouts, kichadi, traditional Indian foods, sweets (such as laddu, puranpoli, kheer, and pudding), meat soups, and cooked fish. In the third trimester, emphasis should be on wholesome balanced diet. Eighth month onward, pregnant lady can undergo gentle massage with Dhanwantara Taila, and Matrabasti (medicated oil enema). Throughout the pregnancy, milk processed with Balamoola, happy mental status, and stress-free work environment needs to be maintained. There are other practices such as administration of Swarnaprashana, Garbhapalarasa, and prenatal yoga practices that are also in vogue, which are to be considered under strict medical care.


      Conclusion Top


    The regimen of the first trimester focuses mainly on the maintenance of balanced diet in the mother, second trimester focuses mainly to promote physical growth and nutrition of the baby with essential additional nutritional support to the mother, whereas in the third trimester, the main focus is on the enhancement of fetal nutrition and facilitation of easy and natural process of delivery. Thus, the diet regimen of pregnant lady looks like a meticulous action plan to support the different developmental stages in the fetus as well as to prevent and manage minor health concerns in her.

    Financial support and sponsorship

    Nil.

    Conflicts of interest

    There are no conflicts of interest.



     
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