Ayurvedic Postnatal Care
The postpartum period is a very special phase in the life of a woman and her newborn. For women experiencing childbirth for the first time, it marks probably the most significant and life-changing event they have yet lived. The postpartum period, however frequently it is experienced by a woman, forms part of the normal continuum of the reproductive cycle.
Although not officially sanctioned, traditionally the postpartum period is supposed to end 6 weeks after birth. The first 40 days after birth are considered a time of convalescence for the mother and her newborn infant. Six weeks after delivery the body of the woman has largely returned to the non-pregnant state. The uterus and vagina have regained their pre-pregnant proportions. The sudden disappearance of placental hormones after delivery and the start of lactation have caused drastic endocrinal changes in the first weeks.
Aim of Ayurveda Post Partum Care:
• To restore maternal health
• To improve metabolism and breast milk production
• Health care for suspected or manifested complications
• Improving awareness through counselling regarding self-care, hygiene, nutrition & diet, suitable exercises, yoga and pranayama
• Approach to Post-Partum care- It is aimed at providing wholesome care for a postnatal mother to strengthen, nourish and restore maternal health and immunity which includes all aspects of therapeutic, cosmetic, wellness, physical exercises, nutrition, and nourishment.
• Exercises, yoga, pranayama & lifestyle modifications
• Treatment-internal & external therapies
• Udara veshtanam (belly wrap)
• For normal delivery, treatment can be started after 5/7 days
• For C- section, such external treatments should be done only after the complete healing of wounds / generally starts on 14th/18th day after delivery.
Benefits of Post-Partum Care:
• Strengthen and improves digestive power.
• Tones muscles, calms nerves, and greases all joints.
• Increase psychological alertness, apparent thinking and emotional steadiness.
• Helps woman’s body reserve into her normal shape.
• Effortless lactation and more restful feeding.
• Proper Soothika Paricharya cause complete involution of uterus and other pelvic organs, so that they reach to their pre-pregnant state. Abhayanga (oil
massage) have been described in all most all of Ayurvedic classics followed by swedana in the form of Vethukuli. Udara Veshtanam also advocated to hold abdominal muscles in place to avoid sagging. Abhayanga causes toning up of muscles of pelvic floor, abdomen, back and vagina. Ayurveda advocates Bala oil (sida cardifolia), Dasmoola oil, sesamum oil, Dhanwantharam oil for Abhayanga during postnatal period generally. Abhyanga enhances release of oxytocin, improves blood circulation, relaxes body, promotes sleep, removes body aches, reduces stress, stimulates metabolism, relieves joint pain and stiffness if persists, nourishes skin and revives the mind and body as well. Vaginal massage facilitates proper drainage of Lochia i.e. vaginal secretion, pacifiers Apana Vata and tones up vagina.
In general, Ayurveda advises massage, oral administration of fat with drugs and decoction for 3-14 days after delivery. External and internal therapy may be continued till the end of the post-partum period.