PART 1: PREGNANCY, CHILDBIRTH AND THE NEWBORN
HOLISTIC BONDING WITH YOUR UNBORN CHILD
Guest Article – Dr. Geetanjali Shah
Dr. Geetanjali Shah, MD, DCH, DNB is a consulting paediatrician and neonatologist
practising in Mumbai. An allopath, Dr. Shah is also trained in alternative medicine.
The days when a foetus in a mother’s womb was
considered a passive, mindless creature are long gone.
Medical science has now woken up to the abilities of
this highly evolving being to understand, listen to and be influenced by its environment.
Good sansharas (exposure to ennobling influences) can be imparted to the unborn baby not just during pregnancy,
but also a good 3 months before conception.
Start Preparing Before Conception
I offer preconceptional counselling 3 months prior to
conception in accordance with the Supraja theory as described in Ayurveda. This involves improving the quality of the
parents’ gametes by purification or pindashuddhi, so that their
fusion may produce a healthy and intelligent baby. The counselling involves abstinence from alcohol,
cigarettes, drugs and excessive tea or coffee. It
includes eating nutritious homemade food, exercise and other
herbs for both the to-be parents, meditation and positive
Spiritual Health For The Baby In Utero
The baby in the uterus has its own special senses
developing, especially the hearing capacity. Henry Truby, former professor of paediatrics, linguistics and anthropology
at the University of Miami, USA, points to studies since 1960 showing that the foetus hears clearly from the sixth
month in utero and even more startlingly that it responds to the mother’s speech.
Resonant Sounds Have A Greater Effect
Experiments prove that resonant sounds (like a bell or a musical instrument) cause an immediate change in foetal
heart sounds. Which somewhat explains the ancient Indian tradition of teaching expectant mothers to loudly chant
mantras with beejaksharas like ‘om’,
‘brim’ , etc. These
sounds are understood to make the baby increasingly alert, thereby possibly stimulating greater intelligence development.
The Holistic Pregnancy Relaxation Programme
I recommend this at my mothercraft classes. Each session has 3 phases
- Auto-hypnosis and Auto-suggestion
- Breathing exercises (pranayam)
The best time to practise meditation is early in the
morning when the mind and the body are really relaxed. Take a comfortable posture, by lying on your back or sitting
with your eyes closed. Slowly allow your mind to slip into
the 3 stages of meditation:
- Focus your mind on your body, and be aware of it
slowly being completely relaxed, upward from the toes, all the way to your head.
- Concentrate your thoughts on your abdomen, then on
the baby inside and imagine it to be in a state of perfect
- Your body is in a state of inner alertness. Your
mind is relaxed. Meditate on the image/idol/vision/concept/idea
you believe in, either your
God/deity/saint/person/force/entity, the qualities of which you want your baby to imbibe.
- With your eyes closed, breathe slowly and deeply. As
you inhale, visualise your breath as a radiant white light filling your body. As you exhale, imagine the light passing out
of your body through the cells of your feet, carrying all tension away. Repeat this thrice, each time directing
the light to each part of your body and then to your baby.
Enjoy the feeling of complete relaxation for a few minutes.
Take one last deep breath, open your eyes and stretch. Visualisation helps induce relaxation and creates
positive, pleasurable images about childbirth.
Auto-Hypnosis And Auto-Suggestion Techniques
- Close your eyes and visualise yourself entering a
place of complete peace and tranquillity — like a garden or seashore. Imagine resting on the grass or sand and a
relaxing feeling spreading from your toes upwards. Your toes, ankles, knees, legs, thighs and then your abdomen,
back, chest, arms, from the shoulders to the fingertips, neck, face and head are getting completely relaxed.
Count numbers 1, 2 and 3 and prepare your mind for
- Give yourself the following suggestions: “With the
help of my higher self and energised mind, I will keep my mind free from negative thoughts about pregnancy and labour.
I will follow the right path and remain happy and content even in stressful situations. I know that every thought,
desire and action of mine may have a direct or indirect effect on the baby. I visualise my baby thriving,
gaining weight, enjoying moving about in the amniotic fluid
around her. Her respiratory, cardiac and central nervous system are forming well. Her immune system and special senses
are developing without any defect. I am sending my positive vibrations to the baby to grow well till the
ninth month of gestation is over, and then have a smooth
delivery and post-natal course.” Now, slowly count the numbers
1, 2 and 3. At the same time, talk aloud to the baby, sing to
her, and stroke her by touching the abdominal wall fondly.
This quietens the baby. Some children even recognise
lullabies played to them later, which they had heard only when
they were in the uterus.
Sit on a chair, reclining slightly. Take a deep breath through your nose, filling your lungs. Then blow it out
completely through your mouth, like an audible sigh of relief. As you do this, notice how your belly flattens
as you squeeze out every last bit of air. This full exhalation pushes out all the stale air from the bottom of the
lungs. Repeat this 3 to 5 times at each sitting, doing it
whenever possible during the day. This type of breathing
increases blood circulation to the baby and helps you relax.
HAVE A HOLISTIC LABOUR TOO
imagery relaxation exercises: It
is important to practise guided imagery exercises during the ninth month
of pregnancy prior to labour as follows:
Imagine yourself getting the initial labour pains at
your expected due date. You are completely prepared and ready in body and mind for the delivery and proceed to
the hospital after informing your doctor. Imagine
yourself in the hospital in a relaxed state, doing breathing exercises, walking and listening to music in the first
stage of labour. You are eagerly awaiting the birth of your baby and in complete control of yourself. Imagine
yourself getting a massage from a relative or an attendant and feeling relaxed. Your labour is now
progressing; contractions are getting stronger in
intensity and are coming frequently.
Close your eyes and visualise the following:
“With each contraction, my cervix is dilating more and more, and the baby is descending.
“The contractions of my uterus are massaging the baby, hugging it.
“My belly feels as if it is suspended in warm water, floating lightly.
“My breathing is slow and even.
“My legs, hands, face, shoulders, stomach and abdomen are relaxed. My belly and pelvis feel relaxed.
“I am open and relaxed, so that my baby comes out easily.”
- Childbirth affirmations:
“The baby is descending naturally. With each contraction, the baby descends a little more. Soon my
baby will be here.
“The baby and I are doing beautifully.
“My vagina stretches as the baby’s head crowns, then emerges. I think of coolness, coolness.
“Now the baby is here. My baby is beautiful.”
I have observed that all my patients who have practised this technique sincerely and regularly have had
relatively smooth and painless labour and lesser incidence of
operative interventions during delivery.
7 March, 2016