Sutika Parichaya - Postnatal Care

…as explained in Ayurveda and Yoga

By Dr. Nutan Pakhare

In Ayurveda, Sutika refers to a woman in her postnatal stage. Sutika Paricharya (Postpartum care) in ancient Ayurveda has been given extreme importance to prevent the mother from any complication of the pregnancy and childbirth process. This stage is like a roller coaster at the physical, mental and emotional level due to hormonal imbalance. There have been many cases documented with postpartum depression and suicidal tendencies of the mother if mental health is not taken care at this stage. She can even kill her child in this state of mind, if there is progression to psychosis. Therefore she needs help to adjust and cope up with inner self and outer changes to achieve the purpose of the postpartum care of child & mother.

In above sutra, Acharya Kashyapa says, that a woman is called as Sutika only when the fetus & placenta, both are expelled out completely from her womb. She needs to adapt to her new responsibility of feeding child as a mother along with self-care. This involves adequate rest, diet & lifestyle modification. She needs to follow the medical advice to avoid complications like hemorrhoids, infections, pelvic inflammatory disorders, prolapse, joint pain etc.

Aims and Objectives of Sutika Paricharya –

  • To promote the physical and mental health of mother and child

  • To avoid complications of delivery and postpartum hemorrhage.

  • To regain the strength and power of mother after child birth.

  • To strengthen the mind of a new mother while she handles a new born child.

SutikaKaal (Duration of postnatal period) –

According to Ayurveda Sutikakaal lasts from delivery till one & half months or till she gets her first menstruation. After delivery a trained doctor (pediatricians) should examined the APGAR parameters of the child mentioned in the last chapter.
Ashvasana (Counselling) –: After toiling with delivery process a woman needs counselling & mental health support to deal with the new role as a mother.

Ahara/Diet – Ayurveda suggest a highly nutritious diet for a Sutika. Following are the suggestions to improve the nutritional status.

  • Iron rich food – Spinach, nuts etc. helps to combat with blood loss during delivery.

  • High carbohydrates & protein rich diet- To meet the requirements of lactation.

  • Probiotics like Yogurt

  • Animal meat soup or fish curry for non-vegetarian mother

  • Fluid intake at least 2-3 liters a day: It helps to improve the breast milk production. Drinking

    warm water/milk/fruit juice.

  • Cranberry juice helps for urinary tract infection

  • Avoid fried, spicy, stale food packaged food and gas forming food items.

Ayurveda herbs for digestion & reduction of vata & kapha – Pipali, Pippalimul, Chavya, Chitraka, Ginger + Ghee or Oil or Jaggery as per digestive ability of a Sutika.

Ayurveda herbs for milk secretions are known as Stanyautapatti & stanyavardhak (galactagogues) aushadhi. Following are some herbs that stimulate mild secretions in the mother: Shatavari, Fenugreek Fennel Seeds, Garlic, Ragi and kanji Plenty of milk& Almonds etc.

Breast care in feeding mother –

  1. Nipple should be cleaned well with tripala water twice a day.
  2. Well fitted or feeding bra specially designed should be used to adequate support to breast.

  3. Inverted nipple should be taken care of by a doctor or trained lactation nurse.

  4. Signs like crack nipples, painful breast feeding or difficulty in latching (It is the important process of breast feeding or the way child attaches to mother’s breast) should be dealt early.

  5. Breast feeding should be established as early as possible after childbirth, within first two hours of delivery.

  6. Breast milk in first 3 days is called colostrum. It is very high in antibody which should always be given to new born child.

Care of genital organs & prevention of vaginal infection:

  1. Perennial area care – One should take bath daily with cleaning of local genital area & the place should be kept dry.
  2. Chemical or antiseptic cream use- One should avoid using any kind of chemicals like Dettol etc. or strong reagent powder or talcum or any chemical at the local site of episiotomy.
  3. Local antiseptic cream like soframysin, metrogyl & betadine ointment can be applied as per the doctor advice.
  4. Sexual abstinence is advisable for at least a six week of child birth

Sutika Paricharya (Postnatal Care –Ayurveda & Yoga)

  • One should use clean sanitary pads which should be changed every 4-6 hrs. One can use homemade sanitary pads also but care should be taken regarding hygiene measures to prevent infection.

  • Warm water Seitz bath is helpful to release pain.

  • One should avoid sitting cross legs to prevent strain on stitches.

  • Danger signs: Excessive bleeding, passage of clots, passage of smelly, greenish yellowish discharge, excessive pain at the episiotomy site & fever. Presence of any of above signs warrant urgent medical attention and one should approach the doctor immediately

  • After two weeks, pelvic floor exercise (kegal exercise) should be started to prevent urinary incontinence & future prolapse.