The confinement period or the 30-40 days post-delivery is a period of mixed experiences. On one side, you will be pampered and fed and on the other side, your newborn will keep you busy with her constant demands. I call this confinement period a rejuvenation treatment. Why treatment? Because it is a ritual that helps clean your system, helps in lactation and helps you become strong after delivery. The foods that are fed are specially designed to help you regain strength after delivery.
I belong to a Marwari family that has been staying in Ahmedabad for a few generations now. Hence, my confinement ritual was influenced by both Marwari and Gujarati cultures.
I used to drink cow’s milk twice a day. But remember, cow’s milk is full of allergens, so discontinue if it doesn’t suit you.
It’s believed that what a mother eats passes on to the newborn via her milk. Hence, she should refrain from eating anything that could bother her baby as a new born’s digestive powers are not developed enough to digest Indian spices, oil and heavy to digest vegetables and pulses like potato, cauliflower, cabbage,
Ghee: My meals used to be simple, but rich with cow milk’s ghee (clarified butter). Ghee is believed to be pure, light to digest and full of benefits for a young mother. It is said that ghee is digestible even by people with lactose intolerance (however, do a check before you start ghee).
Gourds and yams: Only a few selected vegetables like bottle gourd (doodhi), ridge gourd (tauri), elephant foot yam (suran), pear gourd (parval) and Indian round gourd/apple gourd (tinda) are served.
Greens like fenugreek (methi) and spinach (palak) can also be taken in abundance.
Lentils and pulses: Only split moong lentils is believed to be light enough for a new mother. All these above-mentioned foods are easy to digest and don’t create wind. However, avoid kidney beans and chickpeas or grams.
Spices: Generally spices are avoided. Only spices allowed are turmeric, cumin seeds and ajwain (carom seeds). I used to eat grounded cumin seeds and carom seeds powder sauteed in ghee with powdered jaggery/sugar. It helps in digestion.
Hydrating with water
Drink lots of water. But it will benefit you more if you also boil tulsi leaves, ginger and dill seeds in the water. These ingredients help in digestion, improve immunity and increase lactation.
Dashmool Kadha: Morning after the delivery, I was given dashmool kadha and I took it every day for the next 10 days. It’s a black, murky and bitter concoction that has specially chosen herbs that help in regaining the strength of the uterus after the delivery. It’s available in powder and liquid form. The liquid can be taken straight from the bottle while the powder, you need to boil in water, strain and then consume.
Ganthoda: Many women ask me about ganthoda powder benefits during pregnancy. Ganthoda is also called peepramul. I have talked about taking ganthoda powder during pregnancy in this post. I used to take 1-2 tsp ganthoda or peepramul powder with warm milk. It helps build strength.
I tried peepramul powder in water after pregnancy. But I discontinued taking peepramul powder after delivery; it tasted weird in water.
Hirabol: Not much has been written about hirabol benefits after pregnancy. Hirabol is a jadibooti or a power herb according to Ayurveda which is supposed to be helpful in preventing joint pains, especially back muscles which take a beating during labour. Hirabol comes in a form of a rock which you need to break into tiny pieces. Wrap a few small pieces in a lump of jaggery and swallow it. Hirabol is bad for tooth enamel, hence you need to swallow it. There are hirabol capsules too available in the market. Take hirabol for a couple of months post pregnancy.
Dill: I even drank dill seed water daily for 15 days. Dill helps in lactation.
So, these are the foods that help to heal your body after pregnancy. Now let’s talk about exercises. Your gynecologist will suggest you start simple but effective exercise routine after 20-25 days to help you regain strength after delivery. If you have undergone a C-section surgery, it might take you longer to start an exercise routine.
There is a loss of muscle tone during pregnancy. I did simple exercises like walking for 15-20 minutes, leg raises, side stretches, neck exercises, crunches for post pregnancy ab workout, etc. However, I had a normal delivery, but if you have had a C-section, crunches won’t be advisable.
This is how to regain strength after delivery. Don’t expect miracles on day one, it will take time to heal your body after pregnancy and for your body to become strong after delivery.