During the successful union between a healthy male and female, the female
egg (ovum) and the male reproductive cell (sperm) come together in the uterus,
and unite to form the fetus or the embryo. This process is known as fertilization.
The fertilized mass, embryo, gets enlarged and embedded in the uterus. It
contains all the qualities of both the parents, which are transferred through
the genetic code (DNA/chromosomes) embedded in the egg and the sperm.
Signs of Pregnancy
There is stoppage of the monthly menstrual flow (amenorrhoea), weakness,
lethargy, and muscular cramps, accompanied by mild to severe nausea and
vomiting commonly known as morning sickness. In second and third trimester
of pregnancy, signs such as darkening of the nipple and milk secretion,
lower backache, due to stretching of the spine caused by the gradual enlargement
of the uterus, stretch marks on abdomen etc. are observed.
Monthly development of fetus as per Ayurveda
After the initial stage of fertilization when the zygote is formed, further
cellular division takes place forming a small mass of cells. It further
grows in size and gets embedded in the uterus. As per Ayurveda, the soul
and mind enter this mass or the fertilized egg and impart life force,
causing further development of the fetus.
Second & Third Month
The fetal mass starts assuming a distinct shape - showing four limbs and
the head. Once the fetus gets embedded in the uterus, placenta is formed
usually in the third month, which connects the uterine wall and the fetus
through a rich supply of blood vessels and thus supplies all the nourishment
required for the growth of the fetus.
Fetal heart gets developed in this month and the mother develops a craving
for various kinds of food during this period.
The mind and five sense organs are developed. In addition, blood and muscles
of fetus are developed and nourished during this month.
Sixth & Seventh Month
The growth of the fetus is complete. Therefore, if, due to any reason,
delivery takes place after seventh month, it is capable of survival and
leading a normal life, if proper care is extended.
Eighth & Ninth Month
Ideally, a normal delivery takes place by end of the ninth month. If labor
pains do not start after that time, the fetus becomes mature in the uterus
with increased chances of complications during delivery. Therefore, surgical
intervention is advised in such cases.
Dos and don'ts during pregnancy
Ayurveda has given a detailed description of the rules to be followed
After conception, the woman is advised to have controlled sexual
contact with safer positions for the first three months, since the fetus
is not stabilized during this period and if proper care is not taken,
chances of abortion are very high.
Also, she should maintain personal hygiene by taking baths regularly;
wearing clean, and loose clothes, and maintain mental peace and have a
positive attitude, by avoiding stressful conditions.
She should avoid physical exertion such as excessive exercises,
lifting of heavy objects for a long time; postures which cause stress
or compression on abdomen such as continuous standing or bending for a
long time; and any other trauma, so as to avoid bleeding, abortion or
Diet during Pregnancy
As per Ayurveda, the intake of milk ensures the production of milk
after the childbirth; therefore, milk should be taken along with nutritious
food supplements like ghee (ghrita) and rejuvenating herbs such as Shatavari
(Asparagus recemosus) and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera).
The daily diet of a pregnant woman should comprise of food that
is of high nutritional value, such as recipes that contain meat, green
leafy vegetables, eggs, clarified butter (ghee) and fruits.
Very oily, deep fried, pungent food and foods that are hard to
digest, should be avoided.
Medicines or home remedial measures, which cause diarrhoea must
be avoided, as these can also cause abortion.
All drugs should be taken strictly after consulting a physician,
as many simple drugs such as anthelmintics (deworming drugs) also have
a harmful effect on the fetus.
The house of a pregnant woman should be kept clean, free of mosquitoes
and other insects to avoid infectious diseases.
Medication During Pregnancy
Ancient Ayurvedic gynecologists formulated special decoctions to
promote the growth of fetus, to maintain good health of the pregnant woman,
to avoid abortions and intra uterine fetal death, and to aid the birth
of a normal and healthy child.
A thorough monthly check up is necessary right from the first month
of pregnancy, which includes checking of weight, blood pressure, and monthly
development of the fetus within the abdomen, along with various blood
tests and ultra sound technique (sonography).
In order to have a normal pregnancy, timely management of various diseases
or pathological conditions like swelling over feet (edema), dysentery,
hyperemesis gravidarum (vomiting during pregnancy), convulsions (due to
ecclempsia and toxemia of pregnancy, urinary obstruction, asthma, is necessary.
Of these, minor health problems should be tackled with diet restriction
or alterations, since most medicines have an adverse effect on the fetus.
Medicines should be prescribed carefully and only when the dietetic restrictions
fail to subdue the symptoms of the disease.
It is always desirable to have a normal delivery so as to minimize the
strain to the mother as well as to the child. Still, surgical procedures
should be employed in cases like twins; breech (feet first) presentation,
uterine inertia (inability of the muscles of the uterus to contract rhythmically
to expel the baby) and other complicated conditions.