Preparing for Pregnancy
Preparing for Pregnancy
Following Ayurvedic principles can boost not only fertility but also help the couple have a truly healthy child
By Dr Partap Chauhan
We come across a number of couples who have tried every kind of fertility treatment available, but have not been able to find the right solution to their fertility problems.
With pressures of modern life, mental and emotional stress, and lack of love in relations, infertility cases are on the rise. More and more couples are unable to produce children. Moreover, with one in four early pregnancies ending in miscarriage, Ayurveda’s approach can help preempt any untoward chances of such cases.
The benefits of following Ayurvedic principles go far beyond just a trouble-free pregnancy. The traditional medicine science does not just help you to increase fertility with diet, behaviours, and herbal supplements; it also focuses on how to give birth a truly healthy child.
Factors Involved in Creating a Healthy Child
According to Ayurveda, preparing for conception can be easily compared to the process of farming. Just like the health of a crop depends on the quality of soil, seed, timing of sowing, and amount of watering it gets, the health of a baby depends on the health of its parents.
For a pregnancy to be healthy and successful, a couple needs to take care of the following four essential factors:
• Sperm/Ovum (Seeds)
• Uterus (Soil)
• Nourishment (Water)
• Time for Conception (Timing of Sowing)
Reproductive health, in both men and women, depends on the health of the reproductive tissue or shukra dhatu. In women, shukra creates the ovum as part of the monthly cycle, and in men the semen is formed due to sexual stimulation.
The shukra is created as part of a long chain of metabolic transformations. It starts with the digestion of food, then goes on to transformation of food to nutrient fluid, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow, and finally, to shukra tissue. Healthy shukra tissue, then, according to Ayurveda, depends on the health of all the other tissues in the body.
Diet to Boost Fertility
• Fresh, organic fruits and vegetables
• Whole grains
• Dairy proteins, including milk, lassi (buttermilk), and panir (fresh cheese made of milk)
• Mung daal (split green beans)
• Soaked almonds or soaked walnuts (you can grind them and add them to your vegetables)
• Sweet, juicy fruits such as mangoes, peaches, plums, and pears
• Dried fruits such as dates, figs, and raisins
• Date shake
• Mango shake
• Rice pudding
• Spices such as ajwain (bishop’s weed) powder, cumin (which purifies the uterus in women and the genitourinary tract in men), turmeric (to improve the interaction between hormones and targeted tissues), and black cumin.
• If your digestion is strong, eat urad daal (Split Black Gram) cooked with equal parts of turmeric, cumin, coriander, and fennel
• A banana cooked in ghee, cinnamon, and cardamom is a tasty and wholesome dessert for people with strong digestion
What Not to Take
• Foods containing preservatives and other chemicals, such as artificial sweeteners.
• Foods high in fat should also not be consumed.
• Diet soda should be avoided, as it contains aspartame.
• Caffeine should also be limited, especially if you’re having trouble conceiving.
• Refined carbs, such as white bread, pasta and rice, should be limited.
• Eating a lot of meat is not recommended.
• Drinking alcohol
The Right Lifestyle
It is very important for couples who wish to conceive a child to have positive mental feelings. They should avoid tension or anger and keep their mind relaxed. They are advised to practise meditation, pranayama and yoga on a regular basis to keep their bodies and minds fit.
The following lifestyle factors can greatly reduce your ability to get pregnant:
Smoking: Smoking presents a major risk to not only your overall health and well-being, but also to your reproductive health. Smoking decreases your ability of getting pregnant because it interferes with your body’s ability to absorb vitamin C and zinc.
Drugs: Drugs can also affect women’s reproductive health. Both over-the-counter and illegal drugs affect the body’s natural functions as well as impair nutrition.
Exposure to Chemicals and Pesticides: Women who are trying to conceive should limit their exposure to pesticides and chemicals as they can hinder your chances of getting pregnant.
Stress: Stress can have a major impact on women’s fertility. The importance of a positive attitude is essential when trying to get pregnant.
Weight: Being both overweight and underweight can impair a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. If you are underweight, your reproductive system will shut down because of the body’s inability to maintain a pregnancy. On the other hand, being overweight or obese reduces a woman’s chances of getting pregnant.
Excessive Exercise: Staying physically fit is essential when you’re trying to get pregnant. However, it is important to note that excessive exercise is unhealthy and can impair your ability to get pregnant.
(The author is Director, Jiva Ayurveda, New Delhi)