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PRENATAL CARE IN AYURVEDA

Gauri and Shankar hail from Bangalore. Both had an arranged marriage after receiving a green signal from their community purohit, who saw that the partners in a marriage did not belong to the same family heritage gotra and were not related to each other ideally.

This theory, (can be equated with the modern theory of genetics) described in ayurveda, has an excellent practical utility in preventing chromosomal anomalies, genetic diseases, and specific inherited diseases in the offspring. Partners of the same constitution also not allowed to marry. For example, Shankar cited above is of dominating pitta constitution and has soft scanty hair, delicate body and is unable to bare heat. Whereas Gauri is dominating kapha character has a well built body hair. The purohit predicted the offspring born to Gauri and Shankar would possess a mixture of their qualities.

After the marriage, family members created an atmosphere conducive to Gauri. Special care was taken month during her monthly period. She would follow the principle of ahimsa (non-violence) spend her time in meditation, observe celibacy and was cheerful on those three days. The main aim was to avoid congenial anomalies and beget good progeny.

Philosophers of ayurveda believe that physical, psychological and environmental condition of the mother pregnancy do influence the offspring. Special care was taken of her diet, mode of life, etc., even before conception. After conception, appropriate care as per ayurvedic classics resorted to. She was encouraged to continue with domestic and social activities to keep her physically fit but not over do work or exercise. She was asked to avoid over eating as it increases the body weight of both the mother and the foetus thereby increasing the risk toxemia. Over eating meat, pulses, hot milk, heavy or hot spicy substances, garlic, onion etc stale, wet, pungent and heavy food , use of alcohol were discouraged. Bathing wit boiled with vathagtia herbs like cotton leaves, castor leaves alleviates all the aches an one relaxed.

Visiting lonely places, going to riverbanks alone, thoughts and disputes which provoke anger and, can harm both mother and the foetus and should always be avoided. Looking at the setting sun, stars, solar and lunar eclipses are contraindicated during pregnancy, as ultra-violet rays emitted during this period can prove harmful to the foetus.

The sounds (words, music etc) heard by women repeatedly during pregnancy effect the mind of the progeny and hence constant association with desired people and sounds would be effective. The following special measures are adapted by a pregnant woman as a routine to facilitate the accomplishment of a healthy child of the desired sex of excellent qualities.

Pumsavana Karma: It is a special procedure adopted between 8-11 weeks of pregnancy. The aim of pumsavana karma is to stabilize pregnanacy and have a baby of one’s choice. The treatment consists of instilling a special portion in the right nostril for begetting a son and into the left nostril to have a daughter. Even Charaka, the authority of ayurvedic medicine says that if the methods prescribed in the Vedas for choice child are used before the conspicuousness of organs, the change is possible. Modern, embryologists too believe that the genitals of the foetus begin to develop only in the 11th week of pregnancy.

Homable Yoga: The complexion of the child depends upon the race, place of residence of. the parents, time of conception, semen of the father, egg of the mother and the regimens of the mother during pregnancy. However, this yoga is given to improve the complexion of the baby – a recipe prepared out of unfermented juice of coconut flower spike. This preparation gives a complexion to the child that is better than the parents. This preparation is given in the 3rd-4th months of pregnancy.

Garbastapaka drug: It helps in the maintenance of pregnancy. Especially in the intra-uterine growth retardation. In the sixth month of pregnancy, milk or ghee processed with a herb gokshura is given in addition to other supplements. This helps in preventing renal diseases in pregnancy by improving the glomerular filtration rate and effective renal plasma flow.

In the seventh month of pregnancy, svarna yoga is given to improve the uterine blood flow and foetal oxygenation. In 8th. and 9th months of pregnancy, in addition to various nutritional supplements, careful monitoring of water carbohydrate, protein, fat and mineral metabolism is taken care of as this is the most delicate period where even slightest error can prove harmful to both the mother and the foetus.

Preparation of the genital, tract for the expulsion of the placenta and the foetus is done with pichudharana and enema therapy in the 8th and the 9th month. Due to the pressure of the gravid uterus and the effect of the progesterone hormone, pregnant women experience constipation. The niruha and. anuvasana type of enema helps in alleviating constipation. Enema facilitates the appropriate functioning of vatha and apanavatha which have some effect on autonomous nervous system governing myometrium and help in regulating their function during labour.

Pichudharana is a medicated tampon used to mitigate pathogenic bacteria of vaginal canal and to prevent puerperal sepsis and facilitate softening of the vaginal passage so that delivery becomes easy without friction.