The transformation of a female, from a woman to Mother is the happiest lifetime event, but this happiness is gained only after undergoing tremendous physical exertion during labor; so old people used to term,’labor‘ as women’s rebirth. The woman becomes extremely debilitated physically and mentally, after the delivery. In addition she now has an extra responsibility of feeding and taking care of her baby, which is possible only if she is fit and strong. It is therefore very important to take utmost care of the newborn mother as well.
The mother who has just given birth to a baby is termed as ‘Sutika’ in Ayurveda, and the care is termed as ‘Sutika Paricharya’. Sutika phase lasts for 6 weeks, which means she should take the much needed rest, care, nutritious diet at least for 6 weeks and let her body regain all the lost energy and bring the imbalanced doshas to normalcy.During this period, the expanded uterus shrinks back to normal position. Ligaments, muscles and tendons associated with uterus starts gaining back the lost power. Mother also recovers back the mental strength, which is a bit low in the first week after delivery.
The first week after delivery is extremely important, as there is dramatic alteration in woman’s body. The process of labor is initiated and controlled by Vata, the fully stretched uterus is suddenly vacated after the delivery, thus filling the cavity with vata. There is lot of turbulence in activities of vata dosha throughout the body, which if left unattended can cause various vata ailments during sutika avastha or in near future.
The Sutika Paricharya : Diet & Medications (Sutika Ahar & Oushadhi) :
- The initial snack after labor should be soft semisolid rice (Yavagu) with ghee, long pepper, cumin and dry ginger powder. Avoid salt for first three days or should be minimally used.
- Panchakol churna (pippali, pippalimula,chavya,chitrak and dry ginger) 2-3 gms mixed with jaggery is given with hot water for 1st three days, this facilitates vaginal bleeding, cleanses uterus and helps to regain its shape, size and strength.
- Sutika should have 1tsp of dry ginger + ghee + powdered sugar early morning, this improves digestion, kindles agni and pacifies vata.
- Sutika should have turmeric powder with ghee and jaggery before lunch and dinner for 1st three days, this removes residual blood clots, and prevents infections.
- Rice gruel with ghee and pepper or semolina with ghee can be taken for meals for 1st three days, later on dal, rice, fenugreek leaves,moong dal, dill leaves, drumsticks, garlic chutney, jowar or bajra rotis can be included depending upon hunger. Ghee should be used liberally to overcome dhatu kshaya and pacify vata. Intake of ghee also prevents post natal constipation which is very commonly experienced in initial days after delivery. Turmeric, coriander seeds, dry ginger, pepper and jaggery should also be used in adequate amounts in diet.
- 1/2 tsp carom seeds, 1/2 tsp of dill seeds and small piece of dry coconut should be chewed after meals.
- Water medicated (boiled) with dill seeds (balantshepa), carom seeds (ajwain) and if possible 24k gold coin, should be consumed warm, this increases immunity, improves digestion, pacifies vata. If possible use copper vessel to boil and store water.
- Dashmoolkwath or Balant kadha no.1 should be taken, 2 tsp kadha, mixed in half cup of water post both meals to regain uterine health and regulate vata dosha.
Sutika Daily routine:
- Warm massage and bath (Abhyanga) : The mother should be given a rejuvenating body massage with warm oils like Bala oil/ ksheerbalaoil/ chandanbalalakshadi oil / sesame oil every morning, followed by hot water bath. This helps to repair the dhatukshay, controls vata and relaxes the body. Abhyanga also relieves post natal backache and joint pain. In case of caesarean delivery, massage should be given after 21 days.
- Vaginal fumigation (Yoni Dhoopan) : Body massage and bath should be followed by Vaginal fumigation, this practice is very beneficial, it helps in disinfection of uterine cavity, private parts, and reduces laxity of pubic muscles. Vaginal fumigation is done with sandal wood powder and dhoop (medicated incense) or garlic skin or dill and carom seeds or sweet flag depending upon women’s prakriti.
- Belly Binding : Belly should be tightly wrapped with a long cotton cloth or belt after bath, for minimum of 5-6 hrs a day; this provides excellent support for the back and the abdomen, subsides vata in uterine cavity, prevents backache and sagging of belly post delivery. This also helps in maintaining good posture for breast feeding. In case of Caesarean delivery belly binding should not be done immediately, wait till the operative scar heals completely.
- Utmost Hygiene should be maintained in and around the room of mother and the newborn baby.
- Mother should take ample amount of rest, it is wisely advised to sleep when the baby sleeps.
- The surroundings and clothings should be kept warm. Food and water should always be fresh and warm. Head should be covered with scarf and ears plugged with cotton. Avoid fan, air-conditioner or direct wind. This prevents aggravation of vata and thus occurrence of vata ailments like headache, backache etc.
- Use well supportive brassiers to prevent sagging of breasts.
- Vata aggravating activities like excessive speaking or laughing loudly, crying, shouting, exertion should be avoided.
The key point is to manage and control vata through diet, and lifestyle modifications. Proper care taken in these initial days is the key to – not only healthy life ahead but also well figured beautiful body. Happy parenting.