Many things we need can wait, the child cannot.
Now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, his mind is being developed. To him we cannot say tomorrow, his name is today.
— Gabriela Mistral, Chilean poet
Ayurveda, the ancient scientific system of Indian medicine, recommends that expectant mothers should be happy, pleased, always calm and satisfied. Ayurveda also suggests that their wishes should be fulfilled to keep their body, mind and spirit, in a blissful state.
It is a time-tested truth that what an expectant mother experiences has an impact on the baby to be born and present-day research confirms it.
Pregnancy: A gift of a lifetime
A little sacrifice now – or, call it caution on your part – will bring you a gift of a lifetime. Your healthy precious baby!
The mother-to-be should hear or sing melodious songs, read revered books or beautiful literature, which is not stressful, wear beautiful and comfortable clothes, adorn herself with fragrant flowers, ornaments and always be in a happy and serene atmosphere. Being creative and engaged in productive, but light activity is also highly advocated.
T Mythily, chief music therapist, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, reports that music therapy ensures smooth and natural delivery. It also increases the chances of giving birth to children who have better cognition, spatial and depth perception, grasping of concepts and mathematical ability and significantly higher APGAR [Activity, pulse, grimace, appearance, and respiration] scores that describe the baby’s thinking levels at birth.
The expectant mother should eat sattvic [pure, good food] – food that is easy to digest. Mothers-to-be should avoid packaged food with excessive sugar and salt and include more of milk, ghee, rice, wheat, buttermilk, moderately sweet dishes, fresh vegetables and fruits. They should eat less, or restrict, meat, eggs, fish, fried food and spices. Alcohol, or smoking, or drugs is taboo. It would be best to follow a virtuous lifestyle, keeping temper under control, being kind, concerned, not greedy or cruel. All this can beget healthier, happier, more creative and talented offspring.
Be positive, happy and calm
A study, published in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, suggests that stress and anxiety can cause subtle changes in an unborn child’s development. Mothers who showed higher signs of stress – such as high blood pressure – more frequently had foetuses with increased heart rates than did non-stressed mothers.
Research studies prove the theory that foetuses recognise their mother’s voice and start learning while they are still in the womb. Now, what do they learn and from whom? The first teacher is always the mother and, of course, the family. So, when expecting a newborn into the family, it is everybody’s responsibility to be at their best behaviour, following certain rules and regulations. Positive, peaceful homely atmosphere ensures that the expectant mother is happy and calm. This is very essential for her to enjoy perfect health.
Children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy are more likely to show decreased-newborn Apgar scores, mental or academic performance at age one. Their scores at the school- going age show reduced IQ, shorter stature and smaller head circumference, increased learning difficulties, behavioural problems and hyperactivity. Children are also 25 per cent more likely to have learning disabilities if their mother smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day. If both parents smoke, baby’s SIDS [sudden infant death syndrome] risk is three-and-a-half times greater than if neither parent smoked. Experts also say that when mothers smoke, the risk is two times greater and if only the father smokes the risk is one-and-a-half times greater.
Dos & Dont’s
Sitting, standing, walking or any physical activity should be graceful, slow and sure and not stressful. Physical and mental exertion must be avoided always. Ayurveda recommends a natural effortless lifestyle for all and a scientific routine for an expectant mother. Try to avoid all medications, especially those which are not prescribed. And, say no to food or beverages with excessive preservatives and artificial colours. Keep away from strong chemical fumes, smoke, paints, pesticides, allergens, fertilisers, alcohol and drugs.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy should be avoided. Drinking may cause foetal alcohol syndrome [FAS] or foetal alcohol effects [FAE].
This means your child could be born not only with physical malformations but also learning disabilities.
Drugs like cocaine, heroin, methadone, crack ecstasy, LSD and PCP can cause serious harm to the developing foetus and the pregnant mother. By having a drug-free pregnancy, you can help ensure the safety of your child and avoid long-term developmental problems including chronic diarrhoea, irritability, excessive crying, neurological and behavioural problems, motor development deficits and low intelligence. It is also a way to prevent miscarriage, premature labour, and still birth.
If you were to see a pregnant woman exercising in a gym, would you be shocked or would you barely notice her? The response from many people is surprising. Isn’t it harmful for the baby? The truth is: pregnant women can exercise and should exercise throughout their pregnancy.
By exercising during your pregnancy, you are helping yourself to a less intense labour experience; also, better and healthier life.
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after your work-out. Your baby needs the fluids
- Remember to breathe. If you hold your breath for more than a few seconds, you are doing too much and your baby loses precious oxygen
- After the first trimester, do not do any exercise that requires you to be on your back. It puts too much pressure on your organs and the growing foetus
- Do not perform squats. It can cause the separation of the placenta from the uterus
- Perform each exercise slowly. Avoid jerky movements.
– Team CW
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