Diet during pregnancy is one of the most important and essential aspects that must be addressed, as the growth of the fetus depends mainly on the health and nutrition of the mother.
What to Eat During Pregnancy According To Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda nutrition or energy (i.e ahara rasa) is obtained from the three important aspects they are.

1. Internal nourishment from the mother.

2. Growing of the baby with nourishment.

3. Finally preparing for formation of breast milk (ie .stanyas)

During pregnancy it is important that mother get well balanced diet with good nutritional value, any neglect or food deprivation can affect the physical and mental growth of the fetus or may lead to miscarrage. Premature delivery or low birth-weight baby are also some reasons.Here are some of the basic dietary rules which must be followed such as

1. Having meals on time is essential as it keeps proper digestion and keeps mother healthy.

2. The mother should eat fresh prepared food as it can easily be digestible and keep mother healthy.

3. The mother should eat well balanced diet which provides the nutrition that is required for the growth of the baby.

4. Nutritional supplements such as milk, vegetables, fresh fruits and ghee should be consumed regularly in desirable amount.
Ayurveda also recommends food and other nutritional supplements for healthy development of fetus according to the month of pregnancy.

1. First Month of Pregnancy: A pregnant woman should consume at least 2 glasses of milk every day throughout pregnancy, so that adequate amount of calcium is obtained, which is must for proper development of fetus. If complaints such as vomiting or nausea appear one can consume milk with flavored such as almonds, cardamom, elaichi or dried ginger, which suits the pregnant woman.

2. Second Month of Pregnancy: Ayurveda suggest to drinking milk medicated with sweet herbs such as Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari), Sida cordifolia (bala). Adding 2 teaspoons of Shatavari kalpa to a glass of milk will serve the purpose.

3. Third Month of Pregnancy: For the third month, adding of buttermilk and honey to a diet is advised. It should be noted that honey should not be added in hot milk, it should either be added at warm or at a room temperature. The other important point one must remember that honey and butter must always be taken into unequal proportion such as 2tsps ghee +1 teaspoon of honey.

4. Fourth Month of Pregnancy: In the fourth month diet one can include all nourishment food, fruits, vegetables and juice. Recommendation of fresh unsalted butter with crystal sugar is advised.

5. Fifth Month of Pregnancy: In the fifth month of pregnancy diet, increase intake of ghee alone or with food is advised. Minimum of 6-7 teaspoons of ghee must be consumed. Ayurveda recommend pure ghee that is only made from cow milk as it does not create fat in the body which are harmful to the body.

6. Sixth Month of Pregnancy: Including all nourishment food and fruits. Ghee medicated with herbs such as shatavari and licorice, must be taken on empty stomach early in the morning.

7. Seventh Month of Pregnancy: Above all nourishment food diet plan must be continued in the seventh month of pregnancy.

8. Eighth Month of Pregnancy: Along with all nourishment food one must also consume a sweet porridge prepared with milk which is very useful in this month of pregnancy. In addition one may have Semolina (Sooji and Rawa) made of wheat and rice vermicell at least once a day.

9. Ninth Month of Pregnancy: Ayurvedic massage with Anuvasana basti (oil enema) should be administered in the last month. As it allows the baby to acquire its normal position enable in favorable conditions for normal labor.

During the pregnancy extra care must be taken in diet as there is an increased demand of nourishment. Nutritional supplements such as vitamins, protein, and fats are essential. A few inclusions and changes in eating habits can benefit pregnant woman and baby exceptional.

1. Ghee: Ghee is one of the most used medicated oil in Ayurveda for various purposes. Ghee strength and built up stamina of the mother. It is the best internal oleating agent which provides internal lubrication to the body along with softness. It develops mental skills such as quick garbing, concentration, recalling memory etc, from the mother to baby. A minimum dose of 6-7 teaspoons of ghee is advisable to consume alone or together with food every day.

2. Butter: Butter is another important food in pregnancy consuming 1-2 spoons of butter with crystal sugar is best as it provides strength and increase appetite. It also adds shine and texture to baby’s skin, preventing constipation keeping away from batteries and fissures at bay.

3. Milk: During pregnancy calcium and energy is essential for fetal growth and pasteurized milk is good natural source of both these. Drinking milk at least twice daily with Shatavari kalpa will not only provides energy and calcium, but it is also a good source of vitamin A and B that helps to generate a ample amount of breast milk in post labor.

4. Buttermilk: Consumption of buttermilk is very important in pregnancy. Consuming a small bowl freshly prepared buttermilk can increases appetite improving digestion and reduces complaints of gas, bloating and prevents constipation.

5. Vegetables: Beside Vegetables like corn, mushroom yams most of the vegetable are beneficial in pregnancy. One must also avoid or consumed less vegetable such as green peas, beans, French beans as it increases vata and pitta. Vegetable such as carrots, bottle gourd, (okra) ladies finger, snake gourd, pumpkin, ridge gourd, cucumber, potatoes, ash gourd, cabbage and bitter gourd are good for health. Eating Leafy vegetables such as like spinach and fenugreek and other salads can enrich vitamins, minerals and iron if eaten in desirable quantities.

6. Fruits: Remember not all fruits are beneficial during pregnancy, fruits such as papaya; kiwi pineapple must be strictly avoided. Mangoes can be eaten but in small quantities. Fruits such as watermelons, custard apples, pear and guava must be consumed rarely and in small amount. Fruits such as sweet lime, grapes and sweet oranges can be consumed as it is a citrus fruits that can prevent coughing. Some fruits like amla, apple figs, chickoo are very beneficial for mother and baby’s health make it a habit of eating at least one fruit a day.

7. Dry fruits: Eating dry fruits are very beneficial in pregnancy as it maintains hemoglobin as well as strengthens bones. Two almonds soaked at night and if consumed next day serve as a good brain tonic. Dry fig is rich in calcium and iron one can consume two dry fig a day. Apricots are helpful in the formation of healthy muscle tissue it builds a good taste in mouth increasing appetite. Ceshu nut, walnuts pistachios must be avoided.

8. Warm water and fresh juice: Drinking warm water and fresh juice is must during pregnancy as it helps to maintaining mother and baby’s fluid levels and control acidity. Water must be boiled properly at least for15 minutes for additional benefits you can add a 24karat gold piece in to it while boiling. Medicated water with gold boosts immunity system of body and also serves as a brain tonic. Drinking Coconut water is good rejuvenating drink which not only enriches thirst but also takes care of water levels and amniotic fluid during pregnancy.

Freshly juices prepared from amla, lime, sweet lime, Granada, garcinia indica (Kokam) sherbet, lemon are also helpful in pregnancy to maintain baby’s fluid levels and to control acidity. Packaged juices must be avoided as it contains preservatives that are harmful in pregnancy.

9. Iron Supplement: There are many vegetable and fruits from which one can get good source of natural iron supplement such as dates, blackcurrant, beets, pomegranates, dried or fresh figs, lemon, amla, green leafy vegetables, and brown sugar. One can consume without any side effects.

10. Protein: Protein foods are necessary during pregnancy one can get it from egg, lentils, edible seeds (Dals) and food prepared from vegetables especially cooked sprouts (moog).Consuming of roti, chappati, parathas from rice, wheat or maize flour is best. One should also take precaution and avoid eating grams, soybeans, beans, chickpeas raw sprouts.

Note: During pregnancy some of the food which not advisable such as canned vegetables, fermented food, pasta, burgers, pizza, spices, cold drinks, hot drinks, soft drinks. Avoid eating aloevera and color additives completely.

So an aspiring mother must continue this healthy Ayurvedic diet to benefit yourself and your baby. It is always advisable to consult a doctor during pregnancy as it is life of two which need extra care.

Image credit :Ed Yourdon