Not many people know that Ayurveda places just as much emphasis, if not more, on the preconception period, than the pregnancy period itself. Yet, there are thousands of articles written on pregnancy but few written on optimizing health during the preconception period (unless the article is about infertility).
And at the same time, average sperm counts are decreasing and despite all medical advancements, the mother’s healthiness during pregnancy is not improving (the rates of life-threatening blood pressure disorders like preeclampsia are increasing as are rates of gestational diabetes).
According to Ayurveda, the key is not addressing these issues after the fact but being preventive and proactive by optimizing your health before even conception occurs.
We are slowly learning that these conditions affect the health of the mother and the baby during the pregnancy and postpartum period as well as the later years of the baby’s childhood and adult life!
According to Ayurveda, the key is not addressing these issues after the fact but being preventive and proactive by optimizing your health before even conception occurs. For this reason, the ancient science has advised all parents-to-be, for thousands of years, to go through an in-depth and thorough cleanse, followed by a nourishing and healthy rejuvenation period.
I want to introduce you to the process and the ingenious reasoning behind Ayurveda’s path to a vibrant fertility cleanse and the Ayurvedic Treatment For Infertility. For a more in-depth look at the process and a step-by-step how-to instruction, check out the Preparing for Pregnancy Guide that I have written!
Step 1: Fertility Cleanse
Ayurveda teaches us that are seven tissue layers in our body and our reproductive tissues are the final, most refined layer. This means that all nutrition goes through each tissue layer (about five days at each level), becoming more and more perfect at every layer. The reverse is also true—it takes thirty-five days to just begin to cleanse out wastes and toxins from this final tissue layer. Because of this, traditionally, a couple will go through an intense three-month cleanse. Here are three reasons why cleansing is so important.
1. We are learning that our environment and diet literally can alter gene expression through the science of epigenetics. All input into our body (physical and mental) sends messengers to our DNA to turn “on” or turn “off” certain genes. By cleansing, we are able to reset the proper expression of genes that help us function optimally.
2. Our body accumulates doshas (specific energies in the body corresponding to the five elements of ether, air, fire, water, and earth) when we are not able to properly eliminate excess doshas. Ayurveda believes these doshas can impact the seeds (the egg and sperm) as well as the fluids and nutrition that feed the male and female reproductive system.
According to Ayurveda, going into pregnancy with excess doshas leads to their expression during pregnancy (low back pain and nerve pain with high ether and air or vata, poor metabolism with excess water and earth or kapha, rashes and blood pressure imbalances with high fire and water or pitta). Further, as the baby is a byproduct of the mother, the doshas can also settle within and create imbalances in the baby. In addition, cleansing serves to remove excess doshas.
3. Cleansing also benefits our emotional and spiritual well-being by releasing old patterns of existence that do not serve us well. Releasing past pain, anger, and resentment serves to align the couple in thought and spirit so that the child comes to a loving and healthy home.
Step 2: Rejuvenate
After fertility cleansing, Ayurveda strengthens the egg and sperm and makes the field of the pregnancy (the mother’s body and, more specifically, her womb) rich and fertile with healthy tissue and nutrients. This too is a three-month process, again with the reasoning that it takes thirty-five days for nutrients to first get to our deepest tissue layer. There are several key things going on during this period.
1. The bodily fluids of plasma and blood are built. Healthy fluids with rich nutrients are one of the most important factors for a healthy pregnancy, according to Ayurveda. No matter how strong the seed is, it cannot sprout and grow if the land is not thick and rich with nutrients. Drink ample amounts of fluids and eat a diet with plenty of vitamins (especially iron, B12, folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, and vitamin E) and foods rich in life (such as fresh, organic vegetables).
2. There is a wealth of herbs that are nourishing to the bodily tissues and nervous system. Some examples are Ashwagandha and Shatavari, and Kapikacchu. Another Ayurvedic favorite is Chyavanprash, a delicious jam with nourishing herbs that helps maintain healthy tissue. Milk, ghee, and honey are great escorts for taking these herbs to the deeper tissue layers. Blend these foods into the diet and take them with the herbs.
3. During this period bring joy and juiciness into your relationship by really nurturing each other and enjoying each other’s company. This giving also serves to build your hearts and souls as parents-to-be. Begin to dream and invite the new soul into your life.
The beauty of Ayurveda is that the science believes that there is no one path for all, and all healing requires individualization. Far too often, couples approach pregnancy with so many expectations and very defined and strict ideas of how things “ought to be.” Ayurveda encourages you to allow for spontaneity and allow intuition to also guide the process.