In Ayurveda concepts childcare begins even before conception. Both parents should nurture themselves with good food, thoughts and contact with divinity. They also should take fertility herbs like aswagandha (Withania somnifera), Satavari (Asparagus racemosus) etc to ensure normal hormonal levels, vitality and health. The health and mental bearing of the parents will be transferred to the children.
Woman and childcare in Ayurveda aims at providing the most nurturing environment for the mother and baby. Childcare starts before a woman conceives a child and lasts till a few years after childbirth.
Parents, especially mother should take nutritional diet, do modest levels of exercise and avoid stress. This is necessary for good health of the baby.
Ayurveda suggests pregnant women take herbs like shatavari. It improves the immune system of the mother and the baby. Chyavanaprash nutritional supplement is also suggested for the healthy growth of the fetus. Whole grain food items, milk, honey, ghee etc are also recommended for pregnant women.
The branch of Ayurveda that deals with pregnancy is Prasoothi Tantra. It tells about the nutrition and exercises a woman must follow during pregnancy. Ante natal care in Ayurveda includes suggestion of simple exercises, lifestyle balance etc to give a healthful, beautiful child. There are specific herbs and nutrition to take during different stages of pregnancy. Towards the end of pregnancy, there will be different processes going on to make labor easier.
Post natal care includes caring the mother and baby with medicated oil massages. Mother is also given herbal decoctions, medicines and nutrient supplements for immunity, proper lactation and quick return to health. The baby is also given proper massages to open up the pores of the skin, strengthen immunity and for complexion of skin.