Dr. Jyoti Kumbar
Introduction – Child’s rearing and development doesn’t begin after its birth, rather it begins from the time it is conceived. In fact, all the basics of life are learnt through the pregnant mother. Her joys and suffering, her food and exercise, her thoughts and emotions, everything has an impact on the fetus. That is why since time immemorial they say that a mother during pregnancy must devote her time in spiritual/religious practices.
“Garbh Sanskar” is a specialized branch of Ayurveda which deals with pre-conceptional and antenatal care. In the present era each pregnancy is precious as the average age of the mother for the 1st conception has increased to 35 years and the number of children has reduced. ‘Reproduction by choice and not by chance’ is the moto of Garbha Sanskar. Ayurveda has mentioned different Sanskaras and Paricharyas at different stages of women’s life. ‘Sanskaro Hi Gunantaradhanam’–which means to transform the qualities for betterment. The Sanskar which improves the qualities of the Garbha is known as ‘Garbha Sanskar’.
Supraja Nirman is a protocol for maternal care which leads to birth of the best and healthy progeny. Ayurveda has explained Ahar, Vihar and Sadavritta which should be followed by the lady before, during and after conception. The health for expectant mother is ensuring, prevention and treatment of pregnancy related diseases, avoiding any obstetric complications, and smooth delivery of a healthy child. The various ancient Ayurvedic texts provide detailed description for the development of healthy uterus, conception of healthy ova and sperm in the uterus followed by normal development of the fetus. The ideal situations are related to wholesome diet and regimen depending on the digestive powers and mental condition of expectant mother. For the sake of better, healthy, and ideal society, it is important to have the best progeny or “Shreshtha Praja”. This development of best progeny should be planned even before conception.
The Garbha Sanskar is offered in the following ways:
1. Garbhadana Sanskar (Preconceptional Care)
2. Garbhini Paricharya (Antenatal Care)
Pre conceptional care can be defined as the care or advice to couple planning a pregnancy well before the actual conception. As there is an increasing incidence of congenital anomalies and prenatal deaths, Ayurveda can contribute with the effective pre-conceptional care. Which includes:
- Shodhana of male and female partners- i.e. the Panchakarmas (bio-purificatory measures) to cleanse the whole body
- Sansarjana Krama- Special diet and lifestyle to be followed after the purificatory measures for a certain period of time
- Garbhadana Nasya for females- Ayurveda medications for the attainment of pregnancy
The Antenatal care is the care given during the pregnancy period. It has the following components which makes it an Unique way of taking care of pregnant lady and her baby.
Even today’s medical research affirms whatever pregnant ladies would be told eras ago. According to a famous mythological tale, during the historic battle of Kurukshetra, Arjuna’s son could courageously take up the challenge of entering the Chakravyuha which was a dangerous spiral plan laid by the enemy camp, because when his mother was pregnant, she heard how the entire layout was. Thus, according to this tale, a child learns and recalls even what is heard while in the womb. We, at SGT Ayurveda Hospital as a part of Garbha Sanskar make the expectant mothers aware about pregnancy, changes occurring in the body during pregnancy and about the baby which is growing in her womb.
MUSIC AND MANTRA THERAPY – AN ESSENTIAL PART OF GARBHA SANSKAR:
Music is the universal language. It influences all levels of human existence. The specialized use of music in pregnancy can relax, refresh and specially can bring sound physical and mental health. The fetus in the womb registers everything that the mother goes through – mental, emotional, physical etc. It registers everything in the form of impressions that also form the basis of life. The fetus registers what makes the mother happy and what brings her sorrow. Various mantras and music calm the mind and bring a feeling of harmony.
Medicines and Diet: Ayurveda places an enormous emphasis on the importance of caring for the mother before, during and after pregnancy. It is the woman who procreates children and propagates the human species. In Ayurveda special regimens are prescribed for each month in the sub section Garbhini Paricharya. In this specific ‘Aushadhis‘ and nutritional measures in the form of Ahara (Diet), Vihara(Lifestyle) and Aushadhis (Medications) are dealt. In one of its most famous teaching analogies, Ayurveda compares human conception to the germination and sprouting of a seed and its transformation into a sapling. The expectant mothers should consume the diet of their requirement in the natural form and the diet that contains all the nutrients for the healthy growth and development of the fetus, as good health of the expectant mother is a prime requirement. Ayurveda has tailored the diet month wise keeping in view the growth of the fetus and requirements of the pregnant lady every month. By inculcating the Garbhini Paricharya prescribed by Ayurveda, the woman gains proper strength and complexion and delivers easily at proper time, desired, excellent, healthy child possessing all the qualities and long life.
YOGA & PRANAYAM:
Prenatal and Antenatal yoga is a healthy way of taking care of oneself through the pregnancy tenure, thereby ensuring the healthy growth and development of the fetus. Yogic postures help the pregnant ladies to go through a rather less strenuous labor process during childbirth. The various stretching postures make comfortable space for the fetus & importantly it prepares the mothers body for the traumas of labor, strengthening and toning the muscles.
Apart from the postures, various breathing techniques relax the mind under all circumstances. This is important because pregnancy can rather be stressful for the mind and body. Because of the irregular hormonal patterns, mood swings, the regular day-to-day stress and tension can be brought down by the regular practice of YOGA and PRANAYAM. Even the physical aches, pains and discomfort disappears almost instantly when the mind is at peace. The correct breathing methods also ensure complete oxygen flow for the baby forming within. The yogic sessions are divided in to three sections- first, second and third trimester. Apart from the well shot demonstrations and explanations, the experts also advise about the dos and don’ts during the pregnancy.
Ayurveda-the science of life could contribute significantly to improving mother’s and newborn’s health as well as reducing diseases and disabilities. The holistic regimen advised during various stages of pregnancy and childbirth comprising of thoughts, action, dietary modifications, and herbs aims to ensure a healthy and smooth childbirth at the same time sustain the overall health, nutrition, and wellbeing of both the woman and the baby. The measures are simple, easy to follow by women and families at the household level since the emphasis is on the use of locally available resources. The focus of this regimen is woman herself, if she is healthy; the child is going to be healthy. The use of locally available resources in preventive and promotive regimen reduces cost of curative obstetric services. The approach underlying this regimen can become one of the core strategies essential to improve overall health of the women and upcoming generation.
(The author is Professor & HOD, Dept of Prasuti Tantra & Stree Roga, Faculty of Indian Medical System, SGT University, Gurugram)