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Ayurvedic Diet & Lifestyle during the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

by Pooja Saini

Ayurveda provides important information about dietary and lifestyle changes during pregnancy. In the last 2 articles, we discuss its recommendations for 1st trimester and 2nd trimester of pregnancy. In this article, we will discuss which diet is most appropriate in the last 3 months of pregnancy.

The 3rd trimester starts in 28th week of pregnancy and lasts until delivery. During this phase of pregnancy, cartilages in baby’s body start converting into bones. So, you require more calcium. The most important thing, baby’s brain grows faster in third trimester of pregnancy.

You may also experience abdominal achiness, fatigue, heartburn, backache, stretch marks, lack of bladder control during 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle can help you to reduce these symptoms to some extent.

Ayurvedic Dietary Guidelines

Ayurveda recommends different foods in 7th, 8th and 9th months of pregnancy. In the seventh month, milk and ghee are the two most important foods. However, ayurvedic texts recommend milk and ghee with certain types of sweet herbs. Haritha Samhita recommends ghee with raw sugar.

From 8th month, Ksheer Yavagu and Ghee are recommended. In the ninth month, Charak recommends Medicated Oil Enema and Yoni Pichu. Yoni Pichu refers to placing a sterile medicated cotton swab dipped in a medicated ayurvedic ghee in the fornix of the vagina.

In 9th month, Sushruta Samhita recommends Snigdha Yavagu and Meat Soup of animal living in forest and jungles. Snigdha Yavagu refers to gruel made of barley or rice with added cow’s ghee.

In conclusion, you should include the following things in your diet during 3rd trimester of pregnancy:

  1. Milk.
  2. Ghee.
  3. Ksheer Yavagu.
  4. Snigdha Yavagu.
  5. Soups of animals living in forests and jungles.

In the third trimester, you should eat these foods on a daily basis in addition to other foods. You also require a balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc. in addition to these foods.

The amount of foods should be appropriate and easy to digest. After eating, you should not experience any discomfort in the abdomen. Let’s have a look at why these foods are important in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

Milk

Milk Products

Like in 1st and 2nd trimester, milk is also very important during 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Ayurveda recommends milk processing with certain types of sweet herbs. Nowadays, it might not be possible for getting genuine herbs as described in ancient texts. However, milk should be enough in most pregnant women.

Milk consumption during pregnancy is linked with healthy body weight in the newborn child. Milk is rich in several nutrients, proteins and calcium, which helps in bone growth in developing fetus. Research studies have concluded that maternal milk consumption during pregnancy is directly associated with an increase in birth weight of the newborn.

How much milk should I drink in 3rd trimester?

Generally, you should drink 2 glasses of milk in a day. You can drink 1 glass of milk in the morning and second glass in the evening. If you feel any discomfort after drinking milk in such amount, you can reduce its amount. However, you should try to drink at least 1 and a half glasses of milk each day.

Ghee

Ghee (Clarified Butter)

Ayurveda recommends eating ghee processed in certain herbs in the 7th month of pregnancy. However, processing ghee in herbs might not be possible for everyone and everywhere in the world. Because some of the herbs are not available throughout the world. Acharya Haritha has given a different option, which is possible everywhere in the world. He recommends eating ghee along with sugar. You can use organic brown sugar, which is also known as raw sugar for this purpose.

Consuming ghee in 7th month helps to promote growth and development of the fetus and preserves the health and strength of woman’s body. Ghee helps to keep your digestive system healthy and protecting gut health.

You require an additional 300 calories per day during 3rd trimester, which is required for the development of the baby. Ghee can help you to get these additional calories. Ghee has growth-promoting action according to ayurveda. It especially plays an important role in the brain development of the baby.

Ghee also has smoothening effects on the skin. It also promotes good mood and lowers stress due to its calming action.

If you are having low weight during pregnancy, you are weak or you had given birth to a low-weight baby in your previous pregnancy, then ghee can help you to solve these issues. It can help you to give birth to a normal and healthy baby.

How much ghee should I eat in pregnancy?

You can eat 12 – 24 grams ghee in a day. If you have a poor appetite, you should start with 1 teaspoon of melted ghee. Then increase its amount as per your digestibility. However, you should not eat more than 24 grams of ghee per day.

Ksheer Yavagu

Ksheer Yavagu is a type of gruel prepared with milk instead of water. It contains 1 part of barley or rice and 6 parts of the milk. In Punjabi and Hindi language, it is also called Kheer.

Ayurveda recommends Ksheer Yavagu in 8th month. The main purpose of giving Ksheer Yavagu is to preserve strength to a pregnant woman and enhance the growth and development of developing baby in the womb.

How to Make Ksheer Yavagu

Barley or Rice1 Part (1 cup)
Cow’s Milk6 Parts (6 cups)

You can use rice or barley for making Ksheer Yavagu. Basmati rice is considered best for making Ksheer Yavagu.

  1. Take 1 cup of basmati rice in 6 cups of milk.
  2. Boil the milk with rice. Cover the pan with lid.
  3. Now, simmer the mixture until rice becomes
  4. Now, it is ready to serve. You can add sugar and nuts to enhance its taste.

Snigdha Yavagu

Acharya Sushruta advocates Snigdha Yavagu in the 9th month of pregnancy. Snigdha Yavagu refers to gruel made of barley or rice and milk with added cow’s ghee.

The procedure of making Snigdha Yavagu remains the same as discussed under Ksheer Yavagu. However, 1 or 2 teaspoons of ghee are added in it during serving it to a pregnant woman.

The main purpose of recommending Snigdha Yavagu is to facilitate normal delivery. It is believed that it helps in lubricating the body, which assists in easy delivery. However, more research is required in this opinion.

If we discuss according to ayurvedic principles, at the end of pregnancy, balanced Vata assists in easy delivery. Snigdha Yavagu prevents aggravation of Vata Dosha, so it helps in a normal and natural delivery.

Ayurvedic Lifestyle

In the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, it is important to avoid certain activities.

What to Avoid

  1. You should avoid smoking, alcohol, stress, unhealthy foods, and heavy exercises. According to ayurveda, you should also avoid sex during pregnancy.
  2. You should avoid long trips.
  3. Avoid self-medication. Always consult a doctor before taking any medicine.

What to Do

  1. You should stay active unless recommended rest for a medical
  2. Eat good foods. Include different 3 fruits, 2 vegetables and other healthy foods in your diet.
  3. Get plenty of sleep and rest every day.

In the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, you may experience backache. For this ayurveda can help.

Ayurvedic Back Massage

However, you should not lie on the abdomen. But you can get back massage while sitting. Ayurveda has special oils, which can help to reduce backache during this phase. You may require 2 to 3 sittings of 15 minutes per week for maximum results.

Shirodhara

If you experience a sleep problem, then you can go for Shirodhara. Shirodhara helps to induce deep sleep. You can also try ayurvedic head massage instead if you experience any problem lying on back for around 30 to 45 minutes. You can take shorter sessions of Shirodhara according to your convenience. Shirodhara also helps to prevent postpartum depression.

Consult Ayurvedic Doctor

You may require an individualized health plan for maintaining your health during pregnancy. You can get the best opinion through ayurvedic consultation with an ayurvedic doctor. The recommendations can vary according to your health condition. For example, if you are allergic to milk, the ayurvedic doctor may recommend fresh homemade coconut milk for you with different recipes to getting maximum benefits.

References

  1. Sharma, H., Zhang, X., & Dwivedi, C. (2010). The effect of ghee (clarified butter) on serum lipid levels and microsomal lipid peroxidation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3215354/
  2. Brantsater, A. L., Olafsdottir, A. S., Forsum, E., Olsen, S. F., & Thorsdottir, I. (2012). Does milk and dairy consumption during pregnancy influence fetal growth and infant birthweight? A systematic literature review. Food & nutrition research, 56. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3505908/
  3. Olsen SF1, Halldorsson TI, Willett WC, Knudsen VK, Gillman MW, Mikkelsen TB, Olsen J; NUTRIX Consortium, Milk consumption during pregnancy is associated with increased infant size at birth: a prospective cohort study, Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Oct;86(4):1104-10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17921389

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