A Beginner’s Guide to Garbha Sanskara
Pregnancy is the most important phenomenon in a woman’s life and delivering a healthy progeny is the precious event. During pregnancy, tremendous changes are happening in the physio-pathological and psychological state of a woman. The utmost care must be given to a pregnant woman throughout her pregnancy period for the good and healthy well-being of both the mother and the child.
Garbha Sanskara is one such practice that was mentioned ages back during the Vedic period and is a complete protocol right from maternal care till a healthy baby is delivered. The word Garbha Sanskara is derived from the words ‘Garbha’ and ‘Sanskara’. ‘Garbha’ means the womb and ‘Sanskara’ is the act of imprinting the fetus in the womb.
A brief insight into understanding Garbha Sanskara
Garbha Sanskara aims to provide an environment for the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of the baby. The ancient texts and traditions believed and quoted that the well-being of a baby is dependent on its mother’s thoughts, emotions, nutritional state, and physical state.
Garbha Sanskara primarily focuses on prenatal education and creating a positive and healthy environment for the baby in the mother’s womb. In the present discussion, the contemporary techniques of Garbha Sanskara in short will be highlighted.
The practice of Garbha Sanskara along with thorough antenatal checkups is helpful to a woman and her entire family to get a healthy baby. This practice should not be done without the guidance and advice of experts.
The first and foremost is the appropriate age of marriage and conception for both men and women. Classical references of Ayurveda say 25 years of age is appropriate for males and 16 years of age for females to get married and for conception as well. But, in the present era, the age limit for marriage and conception is different.
The next is the sexual intercourse period for proper conception. The partners desiring a good and healthy progeny should have coitus with a happy, clear mind. The body must be well groomed by bathing and anointing with fragrant oils or powders to keep the mind pleasant and calm.
The contraindicated time and positions should be considered during coitus. The other essential factors for conception are kshetra (reproductive system), ritukaala (ovulation period), beeja (sperm and ovum), and Ambu (nutritional factors).
During pregnancy, diet and lifestyle play a vital role in the overall health of the mother and the child. In the references to Ayurveda texts, a proper diet and lifestyle regimen from the first month of pregnancy till nine months is explained. Food that is healthy and does not disturb the growth and development of the child along with the mother’s health is advisable.
The pregnant woman must include a good amount of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals in her diet. Fresh vegetables, fruits, plenty amount of water, and other fluids such as milk, fruit juices, soups of vegetables or pulses, cereals like rice, wheat, jowar, and pulses like green gram, lentils, and black gram are very essential. Avoid eating excess pungent, spicy, deep-fried, oily foods, junk foods, bakery products, stale food, left-over food, too cold or too hot foods, etc.
Lifestyle regimens include optimum sleep, healthy activities like yoga and exercise, meditation, pranayama, music therapy, aroma therapy, positive affirmations, visualizing techniques, emotional bonding therapies like talking, singing having conversations with the child and other family members, reading positive mindful books, massages, and the activities such as gardening, knitting, painting, mantra recitations.
Contra-indications during pregnancy:
Avoid excess anger, grief, worry, sexual intercourse, exercise, avoid visiting crowded places, staying in very hot or windy areas for a prolonged time, sitting in squatting position, abnormal postures, supine position for a long time, avoid fasting, therapies like Vamana (emesis), Swedana (sudation), etc. Avoid eating excess spicy, pungent, deep-fried, left-over food items.
Effects and benefits of Garbha Sanskara
Garbha Sanskara’s practice can prevent pregnancy-related disorders like gestational hypertension, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, pre-term labor, miscarriages, etc.
There have been numerous studies carried out to validate the effects of Garbha Sanskara on pregnancy:
- As per Dubey et al. (2013) yoga and meditation practices of Garbha Sanskara can have a positive impact on fetal growth and development, reducing complications during pregnancy.
- Kulkarni (2018) in their study revealed that music therapy can enhance the cognitive development of the fetus.
- As per the studies of Bhagat (2017) and Upadhyaya et al. (2018), Garbha Sanskara training can lead to improved cognitive, mental health, and behavioral outcomes in infants and children.
- According to the study done by Singhal et al. (2019), it revealed that Garbha Sanskara training had a lower incidence of preterm labor and low birth weight infants.
- A study done by Desai (2022) found that women who received Garbha Sanskara had lower rates of complications during pregnancy and a lower incidence of cesarean deliveries.
- Some theories also propose that Garbha Sanskara can enhance fetal sensory competencies and promote emotional bonding between the pregnant mother and the fetus.
Ancient references of Garbha Sanskara
- In Mahabharata, during the pregnancy of Subhadra, the wife of Arjuna, with their son Abhimanyu, the narration of Chakravyuha (a trap formation during war) was told to Subhadra. The narration went on until Subhadra was awake and she listened to the entry into Chakravyuha, but the exit of Chakravyuha was not listened to as she went to sleep.
- Kayadhu was taught to Prahlad by Saint Narada while he was in his mother’s womb.
Garbha Sanskara is imbibing good vibes (Sanskara) to the fetus in the womb. It is the practice of nurturing the baby and providing a conducive environment for both the baby and the mother. It aims for the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual development of a child while it is still in its mother’s womb.
The procedure of Garbha Sanskara prevents pregnancy-related complications like preterm labor, helps in the cognitive development of the fetus, and enhances the emotional bond between the mother and the child. This unique technique, treasured for ages, is a need of the era and every expectant for a smooth and happy journey of pregnancy throughout the nine months and giving birth to a healthy child. The practice needs to be carried out along with evidence-based medical care and must be done under the supervision of experts.
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