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Ayurvedic Postpartum Care: Nurturing New Mothers the Traditional Way


Written by Olivia Gieules

Ayurveda is a traditional culture, which originates from India. It has been around for thousands of years, meaning they have much wisdom to share with the modern world. This wisdom is invaluable during the postpartum time, as Western culture does not have any wisdom or guidance to support new mamas. Ayurveda understands the importance of looking after women, once they have had their babies and following certain practices, which replenish the mama for many years to come.
Ayurveda strongly teaches that the actions taken within the first 42 days postpartum, will dictate the mama’s health and vitality for the next 42 years of her life. 

Ayurveda works on three main doshas being: Vata (space/air), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (earth). These three doshas make up different constitutions, which each person has within themselves, some are more prominent than others. No matter what your dosha is to begin with, every mama after she has her baby, is dominant in the dosha Vata. Vata is the space/air element. If you can imagine after having your baby, this “space” is now left inside of each mama. In Ayurveda, it is important to focus all support and care around balancing out the Vata dosha, so that mama can be brought back into balance and be replenished. 

How do we rebalance this dosha and support mamas in their immediate postpartum time? 

The way we do this is by honoring the four Ayurvedic pillars of care: warmth, rest, nutrition and bodywork. 
  • Warmth: Keep mamas as warm as possible. Warm clothing, warm womb, warm food, warm drinks, warm feet. Even in summer, it is recommended to keep everything warm. If hot food and drinks are not tolerated, room temperature is fine here
  • Rest: Spend as much time resting and being in the horizontal position. This gives mama's pelvic floor, a chance to heal and organs to go back into their rightful position. Recommended to rest horizontally, for at least one to two weeks, of course walking around the home is okay. The last two weeks walking into your backyard or just outside your home is okay. 
  • Nutrition: Ayurvedic food is meant to be sweet, oily, warm, soft and comforting during the immediate postpartum time. This helps boost oxytocin levels during this time, which is so important for breastfeeding, bonding with the baby, falling asleep and healing. The woman's digestive tract is weakened post birth and therefore important to keep food soft and soupy for the first couple of weeks postpartum and build up from there. Examples of foods are kitchari, congees, rice puddings, herbal teas. 
Postpartum care Ayurvedic herbal teas
  • Bodywork: Self massage, otherwise known as Abhyanga, everyday after a couple of days post birth, is highly recommended, if a natural birth has occurred. C section births are recommended to wait, at least 6 weeks until the scar has healed. Recommended to use warm sesame seed oil, which helps to penetrate the seven layers of the tissue and bring warmth deep into the body. Abhyanga, is completed by starting at the top of the head, working down your body, using long strokes for the limbs and a circulation motion for the joints. Circular motion in a clockwise direction, is recommended for the abdomen. Use oil liberally when completing self-abhyanga. Always have a shower or herbal bath after self-abhyanga, to wash the oil off. 
Abhyanga self-massage for postpartum care

Honoring these four pillars of Ayurvedic care will bring new mamas more peace and joy, in this immediate postpartum time. It can help boost oxytocin levels, which are so beneficial for breastfeeding mamas and assist with bonding with the baby. It is also a great way to implement some self-care practices, which often get forgotten once the baby arrives. This can help to maintain a great habit for the future, as well as aid in mama’s recovery and well-being. 

For more information about planning out your postpartum using these traditional practices, you can book a session with me.

About the Author

Olivia Gieules

Olivia is an Ayurvedic postpartum doula, who provides in-home support, breastfeeding support, massage, food, education and planning. Olivia has worked as a registered nurse in cardiothoracic ICU and during her time as a nurse she studied and became a holistic health coach specialising in nutrition and hormone health. She is passionate about ensuring you have a wonderfully supported and nourished postpartum. So that you can recover peacefully and regain your strength and health for many years to come.

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