Pregnancy Diet Advice …
Below Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani shares her pregnancy diet … in an excerpt from her article, “The Yoga of Motherhood.”
… I was careful of my diet, eating a lot of fresh foods and drinking a lot of fruit juice and vegetable juice and eating many salads. I was eating only whole grains and chewed the food carefully. If I was what I ate, then surely, my child would be what I ate as well! I was a vegetarian, and though my parents expressed concern about my pregnancy diet, that there would not be enough protein in my diet to build a child properly, our little Ananda later proved that all their fears were false.
I used to see, occasionally, European women in Pondicherry who were expecting, sitting in the coffee shops smoking, and gorging themselves on pastries and ice cream. Many of our students coming from the West had horror tales to tell of the lifestyle of many expectant mothers who thought nothing of drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, taking drugs and eating the grossest of foods during their confinement.
The Importance of a Good Diet During Pregnancy
Swamiji (who was also a medical doctor) cautioned me that I must be very careful of what I put into my system. He explained that everything that entered my blood would pass via the umbilical cord into the child’s body!
”Those women who smoke in pregnancy are pouring nicotine into the clean, pure tissues of their child! Then they wonder why their child cries so much after delivery! The poor thing is suffering from “nicotine withdrawal”, he said.
Apparently, pregnancy in the West is a traumatic time for most women. What a terrible shame! I was most grateful, when I heard those tales, and remembered my own experience, that I was privileged to experience this wonderful time in “Mother India”, where a pregnant woman is treated as a “priceless jewel”.
The Hindu style of life, spending much of the time squatting on the floor, or sitting on the floor; the light, cotton saree, which makes such a graceful and beautiful maternity dress, the vast amounts of time spent outdoors in lovely, cheerful sunlight and fresh air, and the great innate respect that the Hindu people have for all “mothers” is a reassuring, comforting and supportive atmosphere in which to bear one’s child.
I felt sorry for all those women who found pregnancy so traumatic that they needed tranquillizers to get them through the experience I was finding so rewarding and spiritually enlightening!
My Emotional Pregnancy Diet
I was fortunate to have my guru as my husband. It was he who really initiated me into the spiritual subtleties of “motherhood” and made me aware of the more subtle aspects of mother-child relationships.
‘You must be very careful of your emotions and thoughts during this time”, he said, “If you are happy and contented, your child will also feel those positive feelings as surely as if he is being bathed in sunlight. If you keep your mind on a high level of thought, your child will also imbibe those spiritual aspirations from his birth itself.”
He told me stories of the wives of Rishis in ancient days, and how they would sit for hours during their confinement, listening to their husbands chant the VEDAS and the sacred scriptures, deliberately exposing the unborn child to the holiest of vibrations.
I especially loved the beautiful story of Ashtavakra, who, when he was but a child in his mother’s womb, not only listened consciously to his father chanting the sacred scriptures, but actually called out one time, “Father, you are making a mistake! It is not chanted like that at all!”
Such charming stories are common in India, along with delightful paintings, drawings and sculptures of the various gods and goddesses in their infant stages, drawing the mind and the heart to rest upon their beauty …
About the Author:
Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani is the resident Acharya of Ananda Ashram in Pondicherry, India. She is also the Director of the International Centre for Yoga Education and Research (ICYER), the Director of Yoganjali Natyalayam, and Editor of Yoga Life, a publication of Ananda Ashram. For more information, visit: