Postpartum Ayurveda

Postpartum Ayurveda

essential postpartum practices

9 Essential Postpartum Ayurvedic Practices

1. Organize a support network before you give birth. Your doula is a significant part of your support system, but not the only one. Set clear expectations of what support and visitations look like. Many women have meals and household assistance lined up in their immediate community.

2. Communicate clearly that your goal for the next 6 weeks is to take care of yourself and your baby. You are not under any obligation to give up a single second of those baby snuggles. They aren't just for fun, they are forging an attachment, an unbreakable bond, between you and your child. Attachment creates feelings of safety, love, and trust between a mother and her child, and is in fact the first time this little person will ever experience that type of an interaction.

3. Lie in bed as much as possible. Your body, your uterus and all your organs and systems need time to find their places. Give it time. A few days is not enough. The gravity of the standing posture is too intense on the body for at least a month.

4. Just after giving birth and over the next 42 days, use sesame oil on your belly, feet, and to massage the body. This daily lubricating oil massage is a practice called the Abhyanga. This type of Ayurvedic oil massage can be extremely beneficial during pregnancy, as it promotes circulation, helps with digestion, calms nerves, improves sleep, helps with breastfeeding, and also helps reduce stretch marks. The oil not only helps tone and nourish your skin, but it is also warming and grounding.

5. Consider abdominal binding postpartum. The wrapping can occur anywhere from day 3-5 following a vaginal birth, and 2 weeks following a surgical birth. They are traditionally worn for 12 hours on, and 12 hours off. A tip is to wear it with a nursing cami underneath, then it's just part of your outfit. The tension is a personal preference and should be done to the Mother's comfort. Tighter creates more benefits, and it will naturally loosen throughout the day. Binding will help your middle body and organs as they reposition themselves after you give birth.

The next 4 tips are about nourishment.

6. Your very first meal after birth should be a home-cooked meal. In the Ayurvedic tradition, the first meals after birth must be easy to digest because your digestive system has gone through a major change. The most recommended meal is kitchari. Be considerate of Ayurvedic food combinations that are difficult to digest (the biggest culprits are cheese and beans, yogurt and fruit, eggs and potatoes, and nightshades. Fruit should be eaten alone).

7. Add oil and ghee to your diet and lifestyle for at least a month after the delivery. Hormones are lipid (fat) based. Increasing your bodies intake of healthy fats is vital to a good recovery. Good quality fats are important to balancing hormones.

8. Avoid raw foods, salads, or cold meals. These are very difficult to digest. Even your water should be room temperature or warm. This will help with some of the basic signs of imbalance, such as constipation. Your body doesn't have to work as hard in using warm water. Breastfeeding mothers are encouraged to sip on warm water and drink warm teas to stay hydrated.

The teas are typically a concoction of galactogogues (herbs that stimulate milk production) which also tend to aid in digestion, such as mehti (fenugreek seeds), saunf (fennel), jeera (cumin), ajwain (caraway) and Shatavari. These herbs and spices can be added to food as well.

Turmeric milk, often mixed with ginger is frequently consumed too. Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory that is highly recommended for new mothers. It also helps in avoiding clogged milk ducts and swollen breast tissue for mothers who breastfeed.

Ashwagandha tea is also a common tea given postpartum as it helps in reducing stress and anxiety. Ayurveda also recommends dashamoola tea, which is made with 10 roots and helps in removing excess vata from body and regain strength and vitality.

9. Spices are healing and should be included in every meal. Spices such as fenugreek, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel will be very good allies to restart your digestion and promote lactation (in dishes and herbal tea).



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