Mother Care, the first 100 days

Woman is a unique creation of god, blessed with the gift of Motherhood. Ayurveda emphasis on providing care for Stree (women) at every phase of her life – may it be Rajaswala Paricharya (menstrual care), Garbhini Paricharya (antenatal care) or Sutika Paricharya (postnatal care).

In Ayurveda, the term ‘Sutika’ refers to a woman who gives birth to a baby along with placenta – an organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy. The placenta, which provides oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby and removes waste products, attaches to the wall of the uterus, and the baby's umbilical cord arises from it.

The age-old medicinal system advocates equal care for mother as well as baby during the first hundred days. Remarkable changes take place in a mother during this period as it enables her body to revert to the non-pregnant state. It’s a period when she restores her health and mental strength. She has to learn how to take care of herself and her baby. Therefore she needs special and proper care during this period.

Mother care includes Ashwasana (psychological reassurance). The women, after the delivery of their babies, should be encouraged by sweet spoken words. It’s a kind of satvavajaya chikitsa (Ayurveda psychotherapy). It is a process of mental boosting to let her prepare to take care of herself and the baby.

Snehana (Oiling) and mardana (Massage) - In Bruhatrayi and Kashyapa Samhita, it is mentioned that the women after delivery should be given a whole body massage. Acharya Sushruta, Vagbhata and Sharangdhara advocate the use of Bala taila, the traditional massage oil, for the full massage while Vagbhata advised yoni abhyanga (vaginal oiling).

The purpose is to relieve the pain at the back, flank and abdomen, caused due to the delivery. It also helps in expulsion of residual clot in the uterus. Yoni Abhyanga helps to tone the vagina and perineum.

Patta Bandhana (abdominal compression) - Acharya Charaka, Vagbhata, Kashypa and Yogratnakara say the abdomen should be properly wrapped with a clean cloth to compress the abdomen and prevent the vitiation of vayu, likely to occur due to availability of hollow space. This also helps in the uterus regaining the normal size.

Yoni Dhupana (vaginal fomentation)-  It helps in relieving pain and inflammation caused by local tears during labour or due to episiotomy and hastens healing process. According to Acharya Kashyapa, Swedana (steam treatment) to yoni should be given with drugs like Oleo prepared with Priyangu. Fumigation with Kushta, Guggulu and Agaru mixed with ghrita is also widely recommended. Due to fomentation, blood flow of the local area is increased via vasodilatation. All these drugs have essential volatile oils which have strong antiseptic and disinfectant properties against streptococci and staphylococci, thus preventing infection.

Snana (hot water bath)- Acharya Charaka ,Sushruta, Kashyapa and Harita prescribed hot water bath followed by rest for sutika.

Prohibited panchakarma (purification) therapies – Use of asthapana-basti  (enema),  siravedha (venesection), nasya (administration of herbal formulation through nose), virechana (purgatives) and svedana (sudation) - are contra-indicated, however, Sharangdhara has advised svedana (sudation)following delivery. Asthapana basti (type of basti where decoction is the major part) is contraindicated because it increases ama dosha. Nasya given to post-natal women can cause emaciation, anorexia and body ache.

Apathyas (don’ts) for Sutika Krodha (anger), Maithuna (intercourse), Diwaswapna (day sleep), Asatmya Bhojana (incompatible food), Sheetala Jala (cold water) etc.

Sutika (puerperal women) are already exhausted, so vyayama is contraindicated. The reproductive tract is already lacerated and weakened so maithuna is contraindicated; Consumption of cold things and physical works aggravates vata. Emotional imbalance like anger, fear, depression badly affects the lactation. Mithyaachara (inappropriate physical and mental behaviour) during this period results in incurable diseases.

Dietary regimen

Panchakola Phanta can be given as Dhatushaithilyahara (improves dhatus), deepana, pachana (enhances digestive fire) and shulaghna (relieves pain).

Ghrita is considered as yogavahi. It strengthens the digestive system (vatashamana).

Jaggery- mamsa & raktavardhaka support digestive power as well as balance vata.

Decoction of laghupanchamula dravya is advised as it is vataghna, brihmana, balya,deepna , mutrala and jwaraghna .

Rice gruel prepared with vidaryaganadi gana and milk aids fast recovery during the puerperal period.

Liquid diet like yavagu- Tarpana, vatashamaka

Mamsa rasa - source of iron, vitamin, essential amino acid, and trace element.

Kulatha- Cleanses abnormal blood through the uterus besides decreasing kleda. In modern science it is told that the patient should be on a normal diet of her choice, if the patient is lactating high calories, additional protein, fat, plenty of fluids, mineral, vitamins are to be given.

Importance of Mothercare

1. It Increases psychological alertness, apparent thinking and emotional steadiness

2. Strengthen and improve digestive power.

3. Helps a woman's body reverse back to her normal pre-pregnancy shape.

4. Promotes breast feeding.

5. Accelerates the involution process.

6. Protects her from various diseases.

Sutika Paricharya explained in Ayurveda deals with the post-natal care in a meticulous fashion and in scientific view, focusing on every aspect required to replenish and restore health of a woman and avoid postpartum complications.


About the Author:

Dr Amrita M Nandakumar BAMS, MS (Ayu)

Medical Officer

Triveni Nursing Home, Trivandrum

Mobile – 9847385044

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