This is a sweet overview of pregnancy + birth the Ayurvedic way. Please email me for deeper details or instructions on any aspect of this general guide. I am happy to help connect you with specific herbs & oils that would be best for you as well! Much love - Sarah firstname.lastname@example.org
During pregnancy, your first priority is to be happy and everyone around you has the duty of keeping you happy. Every month of pregnancy should be a celebration! During the first trimester Pitta is high; you need more liquid, soups, and to eat foods with the quality of sattva. Start warm oil self-massage (Abhyanga) during pregnancy – add herbs and essential oils for stretch marks. The seeds of all your baby’s organs and senses are planted in the 1st month of pregnancy. In the 3rd month baby’s sense of sight is developing; you should focus on your quality of digestion and surround yourself with visual things that increase your “ahhh” for life. The 4th month brings baby’s sense of taste, and it is during this month that your cravings change from your own to that of your baby’s; it is important that you honor a healthy version of all cravings. In the 5th month baby’s sense of smell is being developed; surround yourself with fresh flowers + aromatherapy and do fun things that enliven you. Baby’s sense of sound develops in the 6th month of pregnancy; you can cultivate baby’s sense of hearing by listening to beautiful music that stirs your heart. The 7th month of pregnancy is when baby’s sense of touch is developing; this is a wonderful time to get belly + foot massages and a henna belly painting. In the very important 8th month, ojas is developing; it is said that 8 drops of ojas are in your heart, and in the 8th month these drops are being passed back and forth between you and baby – so you both take turns being especially vulnerable. Travel is not safe during this time. Enjoy special food and drink preparations that build ojas, extra effortless meditation, no strain, everything must be more in the mode of sattva, more reclusive.
Before Earth / Birth
Begin prep for birth about 1 month – 6 weeks before your due date. Gentle Ayurvedic warm oil massages + herbal bastis are very recommended and will support better health and healing. Have loose comfy clothes on hand for body oiling and, later, for breastfeeding. A couple times a week or sometimes more, do a small basti (1/3 cup of warm herbal oil enema) about a month before your due date. 2-4 weeks before your due date, begin oiling your yoni and doing gentle yoni stretching. Have something like this on hand – post birth yoni wash or triphala water is very healing. Begin taking extra EFA 3s: ample in diet = more supple breasts, less hard, stretch easier, and less clogs. EFA 3s are also for mood imbalances. Overlap to the postpartum diet in later pregnancy with less oils and fats – other parts of pregnancy need other things. Have a notebook ready with your favorite recipes to share with people who want to help. Look at Ayurvedic menu planning by weeks postpartum and choose what you want. You can get everything ahead of time except the fresh produce. Nothing frozen or leftover - results in colic. Make your own ghee – have several quarts available. Make sure you have a quart thermos and a little mini crockpot. Decide who will prepare the meals.
When Labor Begins
Have someone around to do an Ayurvedic massage for you, then take a warm bath, and then do a basti.
Choose ahead of time: soothing music, essential oils (especially lavender, clary sage, geranium, rose, and/or helichrysum) to put on lower ankles, upper thighs, waist, tummy, & lower back. Walk between contractions and always have deep breaths. Spontaneous singing – the diaphragm touches the uterus. Drink warm water or room temp water and warm nourishing broth, coconut water, homemade electrolyte drinks. Quiet, low light.
Once Baby Is Delivered
Baby should be put on your belly and will crawl up to your breast in about 30 minutes. Initiation of breast feeding is best within the first 1-1.5 hours after birth. At 1.5 hours post birth, baby goes into extended deep rest. Look for videos on baby’s crawl up mama’s belly to breast.
After Birthing The Placenta
You can receive a sponge bath and have warm sesame oil gently applied all over you, especially on your belly + on the top of baby's head. Then have a spoonful of panchakola (five-spiced) ghee to restart your digest fire. Your abdomen should be wrapped with a cloth. Give a warm bath to your baby, a “La Foyer Bath." You baby floats in the water and unfolds. No soap. Pat dry. When baby is dry apply warm sesame oil all over, put ghee on soft spot then put gauze and a cotton or silk cap. Silk protects baby’s auric field. You can eat something along the lines of a warm, sweet rice pudding at your first sign of hunger.
At this point, specialized Ayurvedic postpartum care begins, continuing for the next 6-8 weeks.