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  • Writer's pictureVaishali A. Patel


Updated: May 3, 2021

If you are one of the lucky ones who was fortunate enough to have a mom or mother-in-law around after you delivered your baby and if you are Gujarati, you ‘had’ to –rather ‘got’ to– do the following:

  • You were forced to drink suuva methi (water boiled with Dill seeds and fenugreek leaves) nu pani…

  • You had to eat methi (fenugreek) or soonth (ginger) na laadva…You had to eat coconut and jaggery ( Koparu and gaud)…

  • You were not allowed to leave the house for savaa mahino (5 weeks) after the baby is born, except for doctor’s visits…

  • Your first official outing had to be a visit to a temple with the baby…

  • You and the baby got massages with oil…

  • You were put on a simple diet, puda(gramflour pancakes), raab and seero (wheat, ghee and jaggery), no outside food…

At the time, you may or may not have appreciated these gestures, as without explanation of the “why” you have to do this, it can all seem forced and meaningless. Our mothers are wise, and sometimes, caught up in the habit of tradition, they just may not have been able to explain it all to us.  They just were confident in its effectiveness.

According to Ayurveda, during the pregnancy, the natural balance in a woman’s body is lost, and it is in the “cold stage,” due to loss of blood during child birth. Thus, after the baby is born, you are given all foods that are warming for your body to support regaining your balance. Ghee, gaud,methi, suuva and other foods are all warming for the body. Coconut and Suuva (dill seeds) are helpful in promoting milk production for breastfeeding the baby.

The “after-baby confinement” is a tough one to deal with for many of us 21st century, working women, especially living outside of India.  It was for me, and I have come to know how beneficial it can all be. After the baby, it is difficult to take care of yourself, and so our ancestors  came up with a tradition that allows a woman to regain her stamina, strength and balance for the busy years ahead of her.

The oil massages for the mother and the baby are more than soothing; they are beneficial for bringing more balance in those muscles and bones that go through the traumatic experience of child birth.  Massage promotes recovery, which is much needed.

Of course, to have a successful pregnancy, you can do it completely differently and not follow any of these.  But now at least, you understand why our mothers insist on doing these things. And in return, you may find you can teach your mothers new things that have been learned such as that mild exercises during and after pregnancy are helpful for the body. That more leafy greens in our diets are great as well.

Today’s woman has the beautiful and fortunate opportunity to combine the benefits of the new age with the wisdom of traditional cultural ways as well.

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