It is entirely natural, that a woman who has had a baby looks very different from her earlier self. But now a days the after affects of the childbirth begins to show on a woman's body. It may be difficult to judge in this generation whether a woman is married or not just by looking at her, but it is much easier to tell whether or not she has had a child. However, Ayurvedic practices are effective enough to help make it very difficult for people to tell whether you have had a child or not. Every woman wants to be admired. Mothers love to hear compliments such as "you do not look like the mother of two children!" This can come true for any pregnant woman who follows pre-natal and post-natal guidelines set down in Ayurved.

The special and necessary post- delivery care, is described in the following lines:

After delivery, the new mother is very weak, sensitive and susceptible. She has provided nourishment and energy to the child during its entire development, undergone the exertion and resulting fatigue of labour, and blood loss, during and after delivery. Any health problem, arising during this time, could be difficult to treat, and in some cases, impossible to cure. Administering special remedies (to strengthen and protect her) can provide the necessary care and attention, right from the beginning of the post partum phase. There are three post-partum phases as described below:

1. The first ten days: Immediately after the delivery the new mother is tired and she will surely have some vaginal bleeding. She requires special attention at this time.

2. The first 45 days: It is important to follow the guidelines that are meant to help the uterus contract to its normal size again. Diet, medicine and body care that ensure the adequate production of breast milk are recommended during this time.

3. Until the reappearance of menstruation: The time until the recommencement of menstruation is included in the post-partum period, so the woman is 'sutika' during this entire phase. Paying careful attention to diet, behaviour and lifestyle, ensures the adequate production of breast milk and maintains hormonal balance. This also prevents weight gain, and helps her to regain her former physical shape.

TREATMENT FOR THE SUTIKA

Massage
Every morning for the first ten days she should apply Abhyang Oil all over her body and especially to her waist, back and breasts. If the weather is cool, the oil should be warmed prior to use. Applying oil on the entire body should take about 25-30 minutes, and the oil should be fully absorbed in the skin.

Herbal Bath
60 to 90 mins after the oil massage, take a bath with warm water. Instead of soap, use herbal pastes like San Massage Powder. The powder is to be mixed with chickpea flour and milk cream to be made into a paste (or as directed on the product). These herbs act like a skin moisturizer and help to balance vata and help to reduce stretch marks, the slackening of the skin and prevent the accumulation of fat.

After a bath smoke therapy with Santulan Shakti Dhoop for the genital area is recommended every day for at least the first ten days.

Smoke Therapy & Hot Fomentation
The next therapy is hot fomentation. When possible, the use of charcoal or dried cow dung cakes is recommended. These are lit, and pieces which do not release smoke, are to be used.

Method: a traditional bed (khaat), made of interwoven cord ropes, is the most suitable for this therapy. Cover the bed with a thin muslin cloth. The Sutika should lie down on it (see image). A metal container with hot charcoal embers is then placed below the bed. The fomentation is done in this way, for approximately ten to fifteen minutes, after which specific herbs should be added to these charcoal embers, to transport the smoke to the entire body. Some of the herbs, which could be used here, are balantshop (Peucedanum graveolens), ova (Carum copticum), vavding (Embelia ribes), etc. Santulan Shakti Dhoop.



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