Pregnancy brings an enormous change to a woman's life. It brings in happiness to the mother-to-be and leaves her with personifications about what her child would be like, from the day one after she breaks the 'good news'. The development of the fetus brings in changes in her physical and mental health, in a number of ways. While carrying the child in her womb, she needs to learn many things regarding pregnancy. In Ayurveda, foetal development is described comprehensively. Health problems pertaining to the mother and the growing womb as well as dietary recommendations find prominent place in a number of texts of Ayurveda. In the following lines, we have discussed about fetal development.
Fetal Development In Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda, the gradual and proper development of foetus is most important for the child's health. The development of foetus depends totally on mother's health. During the crucial stages of foetal development, it is said that a woman needs to have a sound mind and be in good physical condition. Everything a mother experiences - whether it is pleasant thought or a negative one, the fetal development is directly affected by her. The recurring anxieties of the mother about pregnancy are unknowingly passed onto the unborn child. One should never underestimate the power of transferring these emotions into the make-up of the unborn child.
As per Ayurveda, the pregnant women should indulge herself in gentle leisure activities for relaxation and calmness, in order to impart stability to the unborn child, both at the physical and mental level. She should avoid situations that create anger and frustration, circumstances that provoke unnecessary stress and tension in the body. The science of life also suggests that pregnant women should avoid habits, which are not beneficial for her health, because such habits directly affect the growth of the child.
The growing fetus gets all the nutrition from the umbilical cord connected to it, which in turn is attached to the rasvaha nadi (maternal part of the placenta) of the mother. This way, the nutrition is indirectly supplied to the fetus. From the time of conception until the zygote is attached to uterus, the nutrition depends on the nutritive parts carried by sperms and ovum. Charaka, one of the renowned Ayurvedic texts, says that the fetus obtains its nourishment from rasa that is supplied by mother. The nourishment of the fetus depends upon all the six factors of conception, use of appropriate diet and lifestyle of the pregnant woman.
Ayurvedic practitioners prescribe herbal concoction of three to four herbs, for the mother, to consume in every month of pregnancy. The combination of the herbs is different for different month and may depend upon the physical health of the pregnant woman as well. The herbs are generally prescribed for the physical and mental development of the fetus as well as to ensure good health of the mother-to-be. One of the most common herbal medicines is Sida retusa, which serves as a single drug recommended throughout pregnancy. While consuming any such drug, it is suggested to take advice of an authorized Ayurvedic practitioner.