Monday, January 9, 2017

Babies Learning Before Birth :

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Babies are learning their native language before birth. This is made possible by the development of hearing as early as 16 weeks gestational age. A mother's voice reaches the uterus with very little distortion as the sound waves pass directly through her body. Acoustic spectroscopy, which makes possible elaborately detailed portraits of sound similar to fingerprints, has documented prenatal learning of the mother tongue. By 27 weeks of gestation, the cry of a baby already contains some of the speech features, rhythms, and voice characteristics of its mother. Newborn reactions to language are based on the sounds heard in utero: French babies prefer to look at persons speaking French while Russian babies prefer to watch people speaking Russian.

Babies can learn their mother's emotional state. 

life in the womb is extremely active and interactive and the womb is, in fact, a classroom.

Babies in the third trimester can already hear very well, and studies  show that they recognise their mother’s voice, and newborns remember and show attentiveness to nursery rhymes that were read to them by their mother during the last trimester of pregnancy. The baby becomes familiar with the rhythm of the lines, and with the unique melody of the reader’s voice, and responds to the sound after she’s born. Yes, you really will be bonding with her well before birth, and she’ll be soothed by these same stories as a newborn.

Studies also show that reading to babies in utero is particularly powerful. Newborns have been found to respond to rhythmic, rhyming stories that were read to them regularly in the last weeks before birth. When your newborn baby cries, you can read her a poem or story you’ve practiced repeatedly during pregnancy and she will immediately be stilled by the familiar beat and the beauty of the voice she has been listening to for months. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one more way of comforting your new baby when she gets fussy? If you start talking, singing, and reading to your baby in the womb, you’ll see her face light up when she hears you in person! Until then, you can know that she is already loving, and learning from, the sweet sound of her mother’s voice

“If we aim to create a nonviolent world,”  “we must begin with love and nourishment in the womb.” In other words, if you foster calm and peace in your baby’s environment even before she’s born by communicating with her consciously, the effects can last through her childhood, perhaps carrying that deep-seated feeling of well-being throughout her life. Imagine a world where all babies experienced this “magical beginning”! It could become a reality, starting with you. Now, that opportunity is a lot to be thankful for.


Sensitivity to Touch
The maternal womb is an optimal, stimulating, interactive environment for human development. Activity never ceases and a fetus is never isolated. Touch, the first sense, is the cornerstone of human experience and communication, beginning in the womb (Montagu, 1978). Just before 8 weeks gestational age (g.a.), the first sensitivity to touch manifests in a set of protective movements to avoid a mere hair stroke on the cheek. From this early date, experiments with a hair stroke on various parts of the embryonic body show that skin sensitivity quickly extends to the genital area (10 weeks), palms (11 weeks), and soles (12 weeks). These areas of first sensitivity are the ones which will have the greatest number and variety of sensory receptors in adults. By 17 weeks, all parts of the abdomen and buttocks are sensitive. Skin is marvellously complex, containing a hundred varieties of cells which seem especially sensitive to heat, cold, pressure and pain. By 32 weeks, nearly every part of the body is sensitive to the same light stroke of a single hair.

The Fetus In Motion
The first dramatic motion, one that has come to symbolize life itself, is the first heartbeat at about three weeks after conception. This rhythmic activity continues while valves, chambers, and all other parts and connections are under construction--illustrating an important fact about development: parts are pressed into service as they become available. Furthermore, use is necessary for development. Between week six and ten, fetal bodies burst into motion, achieving graceful, stretching, and rotational movements of the head, arms and legs. Hand to head, hand to face, hand to mouth movements, mouth opening, closing, and swallowing are all present at 10 weeks (Tajani and Ianniruberto, 1990). By 14 weeks, the complete repertoire of fetal movements seen throughout gestation are already in evidence (deVries, Visser, and Prechtl, 1985). Movement is spontaneous, endogenous, and typically cycles between activity and rest. Breathing movements and jaw movements have begun. Hands are busy interacting with other parts of the body and with the umbilical cord. From this early stage onward, movement is a primary activity, sometimes begun spontaneously, sometimes provoked by events. Spontaneous movement occurs earliest, probably expressing purely individual interests and needs. Evoked movement reflects sensitivity to the environment. For example, between 10 and 15 weeks g.a., when a mother laughs or coughs, her fetus moves within seconds. The vestibular system, designed to register head and body motion as well as the pull of gravity begins developing at about 8 weeks. This requires construction of six semicircular canals, fluid-filled structures in the ears, which are sensitive to angular acceleration and deceleration, and help maintain balance.

Tasting and Smelling
The structures for tasting are available at about 14 weeks g.a. and experts believe that tasting begins at that time. Tests show that swallowing increases with sweet tastes and decreases with bitter and sour tastes. In the liquid womb space, a range of tastes are presented including lactic, pyruvic, and citric acids, creatinine, urea, amino acids, proteins and salts. Tests made at birth reveal exquisite taste discrimination and definite preferences. Until recently, no serious consideration was given to the possibilities for olfaction in utero, since researchers assumed smelling depended on air and breathing. However, the latest research has opened up a new world of possibilities. The nasal chemoreceptive system is more complex than previously understood, and is made up of no less than four subsystems: the main olfactory, the trigeminal, the vomeronasal, and the terminal system, which provide complex olfactory input to the fetus. The nose develops between 11 and 15 weeks. Many chemical compounds can cross the placenta to join the amniotic fluid, providing the fetus with tastes and odors. The amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus bathes the oral, nasal, and pharyngeal cavities, and babies breathe it and swallow it, permitting direct access to receptors of several chemosensory systems: taste buds in three locations, olfactory epithelia, vomeronasal system, and trigeminal system (Smotherman and Robinson, 1995). Associations formed in utero can alter subsequent fetal behavior and are retained into postnatal life. The evidence for direct and indirect learning of odors in utero has been reviewed by Schaal, Orgeur, and Rogan (1995). They point to an extraordinary range of available odiferous compounds, an average of 120 in individual samples of amniotic fluid! In addition, products of the mother's diet reach the baby via the placenta and the blood flowing in the capillaries of the nasal mucosa. Thus, prenatal experience with odorants from both sources probably prepare this sensory system to search for certain odors or classes of odors. In one experiment, babies registered changes in fetal breathing and heart rate when mothers drank coffee, whether it was caffeinated or decaffeinated. Newborns are drawn to the odor of breastmilk, although they have no previous experience with it. Researchers think this may come from cues they have learned in prenatal life.

Listening and Hearing
Although a concentric series of barriers buffer the fetus from the outside world--amniotic fluid, embryonic membranes, uterus, and the maternal abdomen--the fetus lives in a stimulating matrix of sound, vibration, and motion. Many studies now confirm that voices reach the womb, rather than being overwhelmed by the background noise created by the mother and placenta. Intonation patterns of pitch, stress, and rhythm, as well as music, reach the fetus without significant distortion. A mother's voice is particularly powerful because it is transmitted to the womb through her own body reaching the fetus in a stronger form than outside sounds. For a comprehensive review of fetal audition, see Busnel, Granier-Deferre, and Lecanuet 1992. Sounds have a surprising impact upon the fetal heart rate: a five second stimulus can cause changes in heart rate and movement which last up to an hour. Some musical sounds can cause changes in metabolism. "Brahm's Lullabye," for example, played six times a day for five minutes in a premature baby nursery produced faster weight gain than voice sounds played on the same schedule (Chapman, 1975). Researchers in Belfast have demonstrated that reactive listening begins at 16 weeks g.a., two months sooner than other types of measurements indicated. Working with 400 fetuses, researchers in Belfast beamed a pure pulse sound at 250-500 Hz and found behavioral responses at 16 weeks g.a.--clearly seen via ultrasound (Shahidullah and Hepper, 1992). This is especially significant because reactive listening begins eight weeks before the ear is structurally complete at about 24 weeks. These findings indicate the complexity of hearing, lending support to the idea that receptive hearing begins with the skin and skeletal framework, skin being a multireceptor organ integrating input from vibrations, thermo receptors, and pain receptors. This primal listening system is then amplified with vestibular and cochlear information as it becomes available. With responsive listening proven at 16 weeks, hearing is clearly a major information channel operating for about 24 weeks before birth.

Development of Vision
Vision, probably our most predominant sense after birth, evolves steadily during gestation, but in ways which are difficult to study. However, at the time of birth, vision is perfectly focused from 8 to 12 inches, the distance to a mother's face when feeding at the breast. Technical reviews reveal how extraordinary vision is in the first few months of life (Salapatek and Cohen, 1987). Although testing eyesight in the womb has not been feasible, we can learn from testing premature babies. When tested from 28 to 34 weeks g.a. for visual focus and horizontal and vertical tracking, they usually show these abilities by 31-32 weeks g.a. Abilities increase rapidly with experience so that by 33-34 weeks g.a., both tracking in all directions as well as visual attention equals that of babies of 40 weeks g.a. Full-term newborns have impressive visual resources including acuity and contrast sensitivity, refraction and accommodation, spacial vision, binocular function, distance and depth perception, color vision, and sensitivity to flicker and motion patterns (Atkinson and Braddick, 1982). Their eyes search the environment day and night, showing curiosity and basic form perception without needing much time for practice (Slater, Mattock, Brown, and Gavin, 1991). In utero, eyelids remain closed until about the 26th week. However, the fetus is sensitive to light, responding to light with heart rate accelerations to projections of light on the abdomen. This can even serve as a test of well-being before birth. Although it cannot be explained easily, prenates with their eyelids still fused seem to be using some aspect of "vision" to detect the location of needles entering the womb, either shrinking away from them or turning to attack the needle barrel with a fist (Birnholz, Stephens, and Faria, 1978). Similarly, at 20 weeks g.a., twins in utero have no trouble locating each other and touching faces or holding hands!

The Senses in Action
Sense modalities are not isolated, but exist within an interconnecting, intermodal network. We close this section about fetal sensory resources by citing a few examples of how fetal senses work in tandem. We have already indicated how closely allied the gustatory and olfactory systems are, how skin and bones contribute to hearing, and how vision seems functional even with fused eyelids. When prenates experience pain, they do not have the air necessary to make sound, but they do respond with vigorous body and breathing movements as well as hormonal rushes. Within ten minutes of needling a fetus's intrahapatic vein for a transfusion, a fetus shows a 590% rise in beta endorphin and a 183% rise in cortosol--chemical evidence of pain (Giannakoulopoulos, 1994). Ultrasonographers have recorded fetal erections as early as 16 weeks g.a., often in conjunction with finger sucking, suggesting that pleasurable self-stimulation is already possible. In the third trimester, when prenates are monitored during parental intercouse, their hearts fluctuate wildly in accelerations and decelerations greater than 30 beats per minute, or show a rare loss of beat-to-beat variability, accompanied by a sharp increase in fetal movement (Chayen et al, 1986). This heart activity is directly associated with paternal and maternal orgasms! Other experiments measuring fetal reactions to mothers' drinking one ounce of vodka in a glass of diet ginger ale show that breathing movements stop within 3 to 30 minutes. This hiatus in breathing lasts more than a half hour. Although the blood alcohol level of the mothers was low, as their blood alcohol level declined, the percentage of fetal breathing movements increased (Fox et al, 1978). Babies have been known to react to the experience of amniocentesis (usually done around 16 weeks g.a.) by shrinking away from the needle, or, if a needle nicks them, they may turn and attack it. Mothers and doctors who have watched this under ultrasound have been unnerved. Following amniocentesis, heart rates gyrate. Some babies remain motionless, and their breathing motions may not return to normal for several days. Finally, researchers have discovered that babies are dreaming as early as 23 weeks g.a.when rapid eye movement sleep is first observed (Birnholz, 1981). Studies of premature babies have revealed intense dreaming activity, occupying 100% of sleep time at 30 weeks g.a., and gradually diminishing to around 50% by term. Dreaming is a vigorous activity involving apparently coherent movements of the face and extremities in synchrony with the dream itself, manifested in markedly pleasant or unpleasant expressions. Dreaming is also an endogenous activity, neither reactive or evoked, expressing inner mental or emotional conditions. Observers say babies behave like adults do when they are dreaming (Roffwarg, Muzio, and Dement 1966).

Through many windows of observation, we can now see--for the first time in human history--what is actually happening in the womb. There is good news and bad news. We can no longer think that the placenta can protect the prenate from anything bad going on in the mother's body, or that the mother's body can protect the prenate from bad things going on in her world. Mother and baby face together the perils of air, water, and earth compromised by the toxic residues of modern chemistry and physics. Parents are perhaps the last ones to learn (and their children the first ones to suffer) these tragic realities of modern life. Pollution has many sources, beginning with the physical environment surrounding the mother and father. Numerous chemicals loose in the environment reach them where they work or find them in the garage or in cleaning supplies in the kitchen. Solvents, metals, pesticides, preservatives, fumes, and various forms of radiation are capable of interfering with reproduction. Chemical pollution also reaches us in the medical system through prescribed drugs which may put the well-being of the prenate at risk. Some medicines, like aspirin are hazardous at birth, as are some powerful anesthetics. Not long ago, an antibacterial soap used widely in hospitals and dispensed in public areas was discovered--after years of use--to be neurotoxic. Parents, too, can be a source of contamination and injury to the unborn baby as a consequence of their personal habits and lifestyle choices. Drugs thought to be harmless to adults can be harmful to babies because they are not able to handle these chemicals in adult doses. Nicotine, caffein, and aspirin, substances ubiquitous in adult life, can affect the course of growth and development of babies. The damaging effects of alcohol have been known for centuries and the most recent research (2005) warns that no level of alcohol in the pregnant mother is safe. Not so well known, and perhaps not yet even tested, are the toxic effects of experimental “street drugs” which damage parents as well as babies. All these discoveries are revealing the profound importance of very early parenting, beginning, not at the time of birth, but even before the time of conception when it is still possible to avoid a host of serious problems. An additional reason for parents to begin active parenting at conception is the discovery that babies in the womb are also developing more rapidly than previously thought possible. From the second month of pregnancy, experiments and observations reveal an active prenate with a rapidly developing sensory system permitting exquisite sensitivity and responsiveness. Long before the development of advanced brain structures, prenates are seen interacting with each other and learning from experience. They seem especially interested in the larger environment provided by mother and father, and react to individual voices, stories, music, and even simple interaction games with parents. The quality of the uterine environment is determined principally by parents. The opportunities for parents to form a relationship with the baby in the womb are significant and remarkable. This contrasts sharply with the previous view that prenates did not have the capacity to interact, remember, learn, or put meaning to their experiences. Only a decade ago, doctors typically told pregnant mothers and fathers that talking to a baby in the womb was useless and unrealistic. Now there is mounting evidence for memory and learning in utero and for precocious communication before the stage of language. These abilities of unborn babies underlie the successes reported in a series of scientific experiments with prenatal stimulation and bonding. They are also a basis for the personal stories occasionally shared by children and adults about their experiences before birth.

David B Chamberlain

Atkinson, J. and Braddick, O. (1982). Sensory and Perceptual Capacities of the Neonate. In Psychobiology of the Human Newborn. Paul Stratton (Ed.), pp. 191-220. London: John Wiley.

Birnholz, J., Stephens, J. C. and Faria, M. (1978). Fetal Movement Patterns: A Possible Means of Defining Neurologic Developmental Milestones in Utero. American J. Roentology 130: 537-540.

Birnholz, Jason C. (1981). The Development of Human Fetal Eye Movement Patterns. Science 213: 679-681. Busnel, Marie-Claire, Granier-Deberre, C. and Lecanuet, J. P.(1992). Fetal Audition. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 662:118-134.

Chapman, J. S. (1975). The Relation Between Auditory Stimulation of Short Gestation Infants and Their Gross Motor Limb Activity. Doctoral Dissertation, New York University.

Chayen, B., Tejani, N., Verma, U. L. and Gordon, G.(1986). Fetal Heart Rate Changes and Uterine Activity During Coitus. Acta Obstetrica Gynecologica Scandinavica 65: 853-855.

deVries, J. I. P., Visser, G. H. A., and Prechtl, H. F. R.(1985). The Emergence of Fetal Behavior. II. Quantitative Aspects. Early Human Development 12: 99-120.

Fox, H. E., Steinbrecher, M., Pessel, D., Inglis, J., and Angel, E.(1978) Maternal Ethanol Ingestion and the Occurrence of Human Fetal Breathing Movements. American J. of Obstetrics/Gynecology 132: 354-358.

Giannakoulopoulos, X., Sepulveda, W., Kourtis, P., Glover, V. and Fisk, N. M.(1994). Fetal Plasma Cortisol and B-endorphin Response to Intrauterine Needling. The Lancet 344: 77-81.

Montagu, Ashley (1978). Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin. New York: Harper & Row.

Roffwarg, Howard A., Muzio, Joseph N. and Dement, William C. (1966). Ontogenetic Development of the Human Sleep-Dream Cycle. Science 152: 604-619.

Salapatek, P. and Cohen, L.(1987). Handbook of Infant Perception. Vol. I. New York: Academic Press.

Schaal, B., Orgeur, P., and Rognon, C. (1995). Odor Sensing in the Human Fetus: Anatomical, Functional, and Chemeo-ecological Bases. In: Fetal Development: A Psychobiological Perspective, J-P. Lecanuet, W. P. Fifer, N. A., Krasnegor, and W. P. Smotherman (Eds.) pp. 205-237. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Shahidullah, S. and Hepper, P. G. (1992). Hearing in the Fetus: Prenatal Detection of Deafness. International J. of Prenatal and Perinatal Studies 4(3/4): 235-240.

Slater, A., Mattock, A., Brown, E., and Bremner, J. G. (1991). Form Perception at Birth: Cohen and Younger (1984) Revisited. J. of Experimental Child Psychology 51(3): 395- 406.

Smotherman, W. P. and Robinson, S. R.(1995). Tracing Developmental Trajectories Into the Prenatal Period. In: Fetal Development, J-P. Lecanuet, W. P. Fifer, N. A. Krasnegor, and W. P. Smotherman (Eds.), pp. 15-32. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Tajani, E. and Ianniruberto, A. (1990). The Uncovering of Fetal Competence. In: Development Handicap and Rehabilitation: Practice and Theory, M. Papini, A. Pasquinelli and E. A. Gidoni (Eds.), pp. 3-8. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers.

The sole purpose of these blogs is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call us or e mail. 
Dr Unnati Chavda 
(Promoting pregnancy wellness)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Pregnancy, & Early Childhood Cavities: Understanding the Connection

Dental and gum health (or lack thereof) is strongly associated with many aspects of our health including cardiovascular, glucose metabolism, reproductive, and respiratory health. During pregnancy, poor dental health and gum disease has been associated with premature labor & low birth weight babies, pre-labor rupture of membranes, and pre-eclampsia. Preterm labor and pre-labor rupture of membranes is often caused by vaginal dysbiosis and/or urogenital infections – often associated with oral dysbiosis and gum disease. Further, early childhood cavities are actually a chronic infectious disease that can be passed from parent to child (especially from mother to child via transmission of microbiota during pregnancy, birth, and early parenting).

So what can be done? 

One of the first steps in prevention of childhood cavities is balancing your own microbiota and supporting the microbiota in your baby or child. The bacterial balance (or imbalance) in your baby’s mouth will affect their likelihood of developing early childhood cavities (and influence a variety of other health-related issues). Certain strains of Streptococcus bacteria, especially S. mutans are a primary cause of tooth decay. Balancing parents and babies’ oral microflora can prevent proliferation of these bacteria and the resulting decay. While there are many aspects to preventing early childhood cavities, I’ll focus on a few tips for preventing oral dysbiosis in babies.

First, for parents who have dental issues and want to avoid passing them to children, it is essential to floss once per day after brushing and finish with an herbal mouth rinse to inhibit the growth of cariogenic (cavity-causing) bacteria.

Second, avoid antibiotic use during pregnancy, labor and in young babies unless absolutely necessary. A child’s microflora is established within the first two years of life and exposure to antibiotics can disrupt this process. Proactive strategies for the mom during pregnancy and breastfeeding as well as during the child’s first two years of life are critical to correct dysbiosis and set the child up for a healthy mouth and healthy immune system. If antibiotics must be used or if parents have signs of oral dysbiosis (cavities, bleeding gums, chronically enlarged tonsils, bad breath, GBS positive during pregnancy) rebalancing the microflora is recommended to prevent transmission to babies during or after birth. Babies who are born by cesarean are also prone to dysbiosis due to use of antibiotics during surgery and altered microflora caused by not passing through the vagina at birth. There is emerging evidence on the benefits of “seeding” the microbiome of a baby following cesarean using gauze inserted into the vagina before the surgery. Pregnant and postpartum moms can also take up to 100 billion CFUs of probiotics (focusing on both lactobacillus and bifidus strains) for a minimum of 3 months following a disruption such as antibiotic use or cesarean surgery. 

Infants exposed to antibiotics during pregnancy or birth should ideally be breastfed to help normalize the flora, and also, consider supplementing with bifidus strains of probiotics (up to 5 billion CFUs per day) formulated for infants – the powder can be mixed with breastmilk. All infants should have their gums “brushed” twice per day with a clean damp washcloth wrapped over the parent’s finger and gently massaged around all surfaces of the gums. The washcloth can be dampened with warm chamomile or fennel tea – especially good for teething infants.

General Recommendations

Here are a few other general recommendations for anyone experiencing signs of oral dysbiosis, gum inflammation or poor dental health:

Avoid/minimize sugars in the diet (especially highly refined sugars)
Stevia (the actual herb – green powder or dried green leaves – not some of the synthetic extracts on the market) not only tastes sweet but is anti-cariogenic (anti-cavity).

Floss well once per day – this one is so important and too easily ignored!

Eat lacto-fermented foods daily (and consider taking probiotics and/or gently swishing an opened up probiotic capsule mixed with a little water in the mouth)

Eat a whole foods diet rich in minerals & vitamins (especially vitamin D3, vitamin K2, calcium and phosphorus)

Receive regular dental cleanings with a holistic-oriented dentist

Consider tongue scraping in the morning

Reduce any nasal congestion in order to avoid mouth breathing which dries out the mouth and allows cariogenic and periodontogenic bacteria to flourish (consider neti-pot, decongestant herbs, and sleeping with warm-mist humidifier if mouth breathing is an issue).

(Herbs are available for pregnanant ladies at my hospital for mouth rinse to prevent cariogenic bacteria from adhering to teeth and the process of Oil Pulling is also available. Call +919825463394)

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body: Gum Disease Can Affect Your Unborn Child

For many women, pregnancy is a time that’s part blissful… and part stressful. As your body begins a process of dramatic changes, you may start paying more attention to your overall health and well-being. That’s good!

What’s not so good is that, with all the demands of pregnancy, it can be hard to take care of every little detail. Perhaps, with everything else that’s going on, you may be tempted to slack off on your oral hygiene routine. Here’s why you shouldn’t.

You probably know that many of the physical and emotional changes in pregnancy are mediated by hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. These chemicals, produced by the body, help regulate how cells use energy, grow and change. Hormone levels increase naturally during pregnancy; but while necessary, these high hormone levels can have a few unwanted side effects—including an increased susceptibility to gum disease. This can cause a condition, relatively common in expectant mothers, called “pregnancy gingivitis.”

Hormones aren’t solely responsible for this type of gum disease; pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria must be present in the mouth already. Under normal circumstances, regular brushing and flossing may be enough to keep these harmful bacteria under control. In the absence of good oral hygiene, however, a sticky substance called plaque starts to build up on the surfaces of your teeth—and that’s where harmful bacteria can flourish. Put plaque bacteria together with gums that are affected by pregnancy hormones, and you’ve got a recipe for a more aggressive gum disease than normal.

Gingivitis, if left untreated, can progress to a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. This is a bacterial infection that can attack not only the gums, but also the bone that supports the teeth; the loss of supporting bone can eventually lead to tooth loss. But moms aren’t the only ones who feel the effects of gum disease: A number of studies indicate that it may cause health problems in unborn children as well.

While the exact mechanism isn’t yet clear, research suggests that harmful oral bacteria can pass through the placenta into the fetus, triggering an inflammatory response. This can cause labor to begin prematurely, and may result in low birth weight. Some studies also point to a link between gum disease and a condition called pre-eclampsia—a form of dangerously high blood pressure that may occur during pregnancy.

The good news is: There are several things you can do to help keep gum disease from getting out of hand. First, try to control your diet as much as possible. Eat plenty of fruits, whole grains and vegetables, and avoid sugary treats—especially between meals. If you smoke, quit. Tobacco users are far more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers; your gums (and your new baby) will thank you.

Be sure to keep up your regular oral hygiene routine during pregnancy. That means brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and flossing every day. But even with consistent at-home care, you still need to see your Dental Surgeon regularly—especially during pregnancy. At the dental office you’ll get a thorough cleaning, a thorough exam, and, if needed, appropriate treatment—including effective treatment for gum disease. Following your Dental Surgeon advice is the best way to make sure that your gums will stay healthy throughout your pregnancy—and to make sure you keep healthy smiling after your baby’s birth.

Is Your Breast Fed Baby at Risk for Early Childhood Caries?

It is important for Moms who breast feed their baby to know that just because a baby is breast fed, does not mean they are immune to early childhood caries.

Mother Breastfeeding Baby In NurseryTooth decay can arise when a young child nurses from the breast, because breast milk also has sugar in it.  However, breastfeeding is associated with a low risk of developing tooth decay, compared with bottle feeding. Nevertheless, breast milk does contain sugars and some infants who breast feed for long periods throughout the day or night may develop tooth decay.

For Breast-fed Babies

Avoid :  feedings that last more than 30 minutes.
Avoid :  prolonged and unrestricted night time feeding.
Avoid :  frequent, on-demand (“at-will”) feedings once the first teeth erupt.
Avoid:   nursing your child to sleep.  If your baby is breastfed, and won’t fall asleep without being nursed, try to avoid letting him/her sleep with the nipple in his/her mouth. After he/she falls asleep, remove the nipple to prevent pooling of liquid.
After each feed, wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth.    You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first teeth come in.  Gently brush with a child-sized toothbrush and water.

“Lift the Lip” to check for signs of Early Childhood Caries  Once the primary teeth have erupted, parents can lift the baby’s upper lip and visually check both front and back of the four upper front teeth at least once a month.


Checking a child’s teeth takes only a minute. It is helpful to have one adult hold the baby while a second adult looks at the teeth. A small dental mirror can help in viewing the back surfaces of the teeth. White spots on the surface of the upper front teeth or whitish lines at the base of the teeth along the gum line are indicators of Early Childhood Caries. If a parent notices any white spots on the teeth, a dentist visit is warranted. At this stage, Early Childhood Caries may still be reversible with prompt treatment. If left unchecked, the “white spot” lesions can rapidly develop to brown spots and general decay of the teeth.

How to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay


If you must give the baby a bottle as a comfort at bedtime, it should contain only water.

If your child won’t fall asleep without the bottle and its usual beverage, gradually dilute the bottle’s contents with water over a period of two to three weeks, progressing to strictly water in the bottle.

Baby-Care-and-Cleaning-TipsAfter each feed, wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth.    You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first teeth come in.  Gently brush with a child-sized toothbrush and water.  Rinsing the mouth is an option you can try with older children.

Fluoridated toothpaste can be used safely when you are sure that your child spits out all of the toothpaste after brushing. Older children can use a toothbrush with soft, nylon bristles. Use a very small amount of toothpaste (no more than the size of a pea). (You should consult the child’s dentist before considering using fluoride toothpaste).

Avoid letting your infant walk around using a bottle of milk or juice as a pacifier or security object.  Do not allow your child to sip on a bottle filled with juice, milk, or formula for long periods of time as a pacifier

Start to teach your child to drink from a cup at about six months of age. Plan to stop using a bottle by 12 to 14 months at the latest.

Always be sure your baby’s pacifier is clean. Don’t ever dip it in anything (such as sugar or honey). Don’t clean your baby’s pacifier by sucking on it yourself, a common but unhealthy practice, since you are passing bacteria from your mouth over to your baby!

Since some medications are more than 50% sugar, they can also cause cavities to form. Be sure to have your child rinse or brush after taking medications.

Inspect your baby’s teeth frequently and have them checked by your child’s doctor or a dentist.

Start dental visits by your child’s first birthday.

The sole purpose of these blogs is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call us or e mail. 
Dr Unnati Chavda 
(Promoting pregnancy wellness)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child

1. Pediatricians and parents should be aware that exclusive breastfeeding is sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months of life and provides continuing protection against diarrhea and respiratory tract infection. Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child."

2. Based on the research, breastfeeding for a total of 12 to 24 months can reduce your risk of ovarian cancer by about one-third.

3. Breastfeeding requires an average of 500 extra calories per day and breastfeeding mothers who eat a normal diet lose the extra weight they gained during pregnancy faster than moms who choose to bottle feed. In one study, mothers who breastfed exclusively or partially had significantly larger reductions in hip circumference and were less above their pre-pregnancy weights at 1 month postpartum than mothers who fed formula exclusively.

4. Breastfeeding protects against Crohn's disease (intestinal disorder)

Crohn's Disease is a chronic intestinal disorder. It is a form of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation extending into the deeper layers of the intestinal wall. It is difficult to treat, but several studies have shown that breastfeeding may help babies avoid developing the disease in later life.

5. Formula feeding increases risk of children developing diabetes

There are many studies linking development of insulin dependant Type I diabetes (formerly referred to as "juvenile diabetes") to lack of breastfeeding. The results of a study from Finland suggest that the introduction of dairy products at an early age, and high milk consumption during childhood increase the level of cow's milk antibodies in the children's systems. This factor is associated with an increased risk of insulin dependent diabetes. Now a new study has indicated that breastfeeding in infancy may help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. This sort of diabetes was formerly referred to as "adult onset" diabetes, but has been mysteriously occurring in more and more youngsters.

6. Breastfeeding baby helps decrease insulin requirements in diabetic mothers

Reduction in insulin dose postpartum was significantly greater in those who were breastfeeding than those who were bottle feeding

7. Breastfeeding may help stabilize progress of maternal endometriosis

Endometriosis is a disease in which the endometrial tissue in a woman's body begins to form in places other than her uterus, such as on her ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the outer surface of the uterus. This tissue continues to function like uterine tissue would in the uterus, and sheds once a month during the woman's menstrual cycle. Since there is no vaginal outlet for this blood and tissue, painful complications, including sterility, may result. There is much clinical research showing that pregnancy temporarily stops the progress of this disease. Many women say that the disease also seems to be alleviated by breastfeeding. It certainly makes sense that the delay in the return of a woman's menstrual cycle would be desirable in preventing the endometriosis from starting up again. Some women even claim a permanent cure

8.Baby's suckling helps prevent post-partum hemorrhage in mother

Nursing her baby causes the mother's body to release oxytocin, which stimulates contractions which help shrink the uterus back to pre-pregnancy size while expelling the placenta. These contractions also shut off the maternal blood vessels that formerly fed the baby and discourage excessive bleeding. Women who choose not to breastfeed must be given synthetic oxytocin to insure against hemorrhaging.

9. Not breastfeeding increases mother's risk of developing endometrial cancer

A World Health Organization study has shown that the longer a woman breastfeeds, the less likely she is to get endometrial cancer.

10.Formula feeding increases chances of baby developing allergies

"Breastfed babies have fewer allergies than artificially fed babies. This is especially important if your family has a history of allergies. Many babies are allergic to cow's milk formulas. Some babies are even allergic to soy formulas. Breastfeeding protects against other allergies, such as atopic eczema, food allergies, and respiratory allergies."

11. Breast milk lowers risk of baby developing asthma
A number of studies have linked lack of breastfeeding to asthma. According to one study, six year old children were more likely to have asthma if they had not been exclusively breastfed for at least 4 months.

12. Formula feeding increases baby's risk of otitis media (ear infections)

Research has shown that ear infections are up to 3-4 times more prevalent in formula-fed infants.

13. Breastfeeding protects baby against diarrheal infections

Numerous studies have shown that diarrheal infections are much more common in formula-fed babies. This is true throughout the world, despite a common misconception that only people living in areas with contaminated water need be concerned with this issue. Such infections are more likely to be fatal in developing nations, but all formula-fed infants are at greater risk than their breastfed peers.

14. Breastfeeding protects baby against bacterial meningitis

Meningitis is an infection which causes the inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by a type of bacteria called Hemophilus influenzae type b (HiB). Breastfeeding is protective against infections caused by this bacteria, and the meningitis which may result.

15. Breastfeeding protects baby against respiratory infections

Breastfeeding effectively protects nurslings from many life-threatening respiratory infection including those caused by rotaviruses. Studies have shown breastfed babies are less than half as likely to be hospitalized with pneumonia or bronchiolitis, and have one-fifth the number of lower respiratory tract infections compared to formula-fed infants. According to a recent meta-analysis of studies from developed countries, the risk of severe respiratory tract illness resulting in hospitalization is more than tripled among infants who are not breastfed, compared with those who are exclusively breastfed for four months.

16. Formula fed babies have a higher risk of developing certain childhood cancers

In a study done by researchers at the University of Minnesota it was found that babies who were breast fed for at least one month had a 21% less chance of getting leukemia than formula fed babies. The risk was 30% for children breast fed for 6 months.

17. Breastfeeding decreases chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis

Recent results from a Swedish study indicate that breastfed babies were less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis as adults. An earlier University of North Carolina/Duke University study had indicated breastfed children were only 40% as likely to develop juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

18. Breastfeeding decreases child's chances of contracting Hodgkins disease

Hodgkins disease is a type of lymphoma, or cancer of the lymph system. It can develop in children, although it is less likely to do so in children who were breastfed as infants.

19. Breastfeeding protects baby against some vision defects
In a study in Bangladesh, breastfeeding was a protective factor for night blindness among preschool-aged children in both rural and urban areas. Breast milk is generally the main, if not the only source, of vitamin A during a child's first 24 months of life (or for the duration of breastfeeding).

20. Breastfeeding decreases chances of osteoporosis

According to many studies, both breastfeeding mothers and their children will be less at risk for development of this disease. One study found that the odds that a woman with osteoporosis did not breastfeed her baby was 4 times higher than for a control woman. In another study, Dr. Alan Lucas, MRC Childhood Nutrition Research Center of London, found that 8-year-olds who were fed formula rather than breast fed as infants, had less developed bone mineralization than those fed breast milk. "Bone mineral density decreases during lactation, but after weaning showed higher bone mineral density than those who did not breastfeed."

20. Breast milk aids in proper intestinal development

The gastrointestinal system of a newborn baby is not yet mature. It is still permeable, allowing bacteria, viruses and toxins to pass through. This intestinal permeability decreases more slowly in formula-fed babies. According to Dr. Jack Newman "...certain hormones in milk (such as cortisol) and smaller proteins (including epidermal growth factor, nerve growth factor, insulin-like growth factor and somatomedin C) act to close up the leaky mucosal lining of the newborn, making it relatively impermeable to unwanted pathogens and other potentially harmful agents. Indeed, animal studies have demonstrated that postnatal development of the intestine occurs faster in animals fed their mother's milk. And animals that also receive colostrum, containing the highest concentrations of epidermal growth factor, mature even more rapidly."

21. Formula-fed babies are more at risk for obesity in later life

A study of 32200 Scottish 3 year old children found that the incidence of obesity was significantly lower among those who had been breastfed, after adjusting for socioeconomic status, birthweight and gender. Another study, this one of Czech children, found that the even older children (6 -14) who had been breastfed were less at risk for overweight/obesity. Additionally, a German study found that 4.5% of formula fed children are obese, while only 0.8% of breastfed children have this condition.

22. Breastfed babies have less chance of cardiopulmonary distress while feeding.

Bottle-fed babies are at increased risk of cardiopulmonary disturbances, including prolonged airway closure and obstructed respiratory breaths due to repeated swallowing. According to one study, infants can experience oxygen saturation below 90% when bottle feeding. Nine of 50 healthy term infants in one study experienced bradycardia during bottle feeding. Six of these episodes were preceded by apnea, three showed hypopnea (marked reduction in ventilation) and one had certral apnea (no respiratory efforts)

23. Breastfed babies have less chance of developing ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that causes ulceration and inflammation of the inner lining of the colon and rectum. A number of studies have shown that breastfed babies are less likely to develop this disease.

24. Breast milk protects against hemophilus b. bacteria

Hemophilus influenzae type b is a bacteria which can grow in the respiratory tract with no symptoms, but may spread into the throat, ears or blood and cause grave illness. Breastfed babies are much less vulnerable to such an overgrowth. . Interestingly, a 1999 Swedish study found that even 5 - 10 years later, children who had been breastfed were much less likely to contract hemophilus b.

25. Breastfeeding enhances vaccine effectiveness

Breastfed infants showed better serum and secretory responses to oral and parenteral vaccines than those formula-fed.

26. Breastfed babies have less chance of developing necrotizing enterocolitis

This disease occurs most commonly in premature or sick newborns. In NEC the lining of the intestinal wall dies and sloughs off. Premature infants fed their own mother's milk or banked human milk are one sixth to one tenth as likely to develop NEC. One Australian study has estimated that 83% of NEC cases may be attributed to lack of breastfeeding.

27. Breast milk always has the right proportions of fat, carbohydrates and protein

Formula companies are constantly adjusting these proportions looking for the best composition. The reality is that a mother's milk composition changes from feeding to feeding depending on the needs of her child. No formula can do that! According to the American Dietetic Association "human milk provides optimal nutrition to the infant with its dynamic composition and the appropriate balance of nutrients provided in easily digestible and bioavailable forms."

28. Breast milk acts like a natural tranquilizer for baby

Mother's milk contains chemicals that seem to work like "knock-out drops" for tired babies. Even if baby doesn't fall asleep, he/she will certainly calm down and become more agreeable. If you choose to breastfeed into toddlerhood, you may find that the "terrible twos" never materialize

29. Breastfeeding may lower the risk of developing high cholesterol

A recent British study found that breastfeeding seems to be associated with lower levels of damaging cholesterol in adulthood. The authors concluded that breastfeeding may have long-term benefits for cardiovascular health.

30. Breast milk aids in the proper development of a baby's gastrointestinal tract
"The cells of the mature intestinal lining are tightly packed together so that potential allergens cannot seep through into the bloodstream. But in the early months, the lining of a baby's immature intestines is more like a sieve, allowing potential allergens to get through, which sets the infant…up for allergies and infections. Breast milk contains a special protein called imunoglobulin A (IgA), which acts like a protective sealant in the digestive tract…Breast milk also contains a special substance called epidermal growth factor (EGF), which promotes the growth of the cells lining baby's intestines as well as other surface cells, such as the cells of the skin."

31. Breast milk provides natural pain relief for baby

Breast milk actually contains chemicals that suppress pain (endorphins). Aside from this, the comfort a baby derives from being held close and suckling is remarkable. Many a bruise or scrape has been soothed away almost instantly by a few moments of nursing. If you choose to have your child vaccinated, it is a good idea to nurse immediately after he/she receives a vaccination. This soothes the hurt, as well as enhancing the vaccine's effectiveness.

32. A breastfeeding Mom gets more sleep

Especially if she sleeps with baby, but even if she doesn't. No bottles to prepare and warm. Less time comforting a crying baby suffering from gas and allergies.

33. Fresh breast milk is never contaminated with bacteria

In fact, it has antibacterial properties.

34. Facilitates proper dental and jaw development

Nursing is good for a baby's tooth and jaw development. Babies drinking from the human breast have to use as much as 60 times more energy to get food than do those drinking from a bottle. Obviously, a nursing baby's jaws are receiving much more exercise as she pulls her mother's milk into her mouth. Apparently, this constant gentle pulling assists the growth of well-formed jaws and straight, healthy teeth. Among breastfed infants, the longer the duration of nursing, the less chance of dental malocclusion.

35. Breastfed babies have less tooth decay

Breast milk contains bacteria fighting cells that may help kill the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Furthermore, bottle-fed babies "are at increased risk for baby bottle caries, a destructive dental condition which occurs when a baby is put to bed with a bottle containing formula, milk, juice or other fluids high in carbohydrates." Furthermore, breast milk contains bacteria fighting cells that may help kill the bacteria that cause tooth decay.

36. Better speech development

Tongue thrust problems often develop among bottle-fed babies as they try to slow down the flow of milk coming from an artificial nipple. This can lead to speech problems later on. "Early weaning may lead to the interruption of proper oral motor development provoking alterations to the posture and strength of the speech organs and harming the functions of chewing, swallowing, breathing, and articulation of speech sounds. The lack of physiological sucking on the breast may interfere in the oral motor development, possibly causing malocclusion, oral respiration and oral motor disorders."

37. Less chance of baby getting eczema

A number of studies have indicated that breastfed babies are
less likely to develop eczema - an itchy skin rash

38.  Breastfed babies have great skin

You don't have to refer to the many studies showing that breastfed babies have less eczema and fewer rashes. Check out the skin of a breastfed baby and see what you think.

39. Decreased risk of baby developing urinary tract infections

Breastfed babies have fewer urinary tract infections than their bottle fed peers. According to one study, infants who were exclusively bottle fed were more than five times as likely to develop urinary tract infections compared with those that were breastfed.

40. Breastfeeding protects mothers against anemia (iron deficiency)

Since many exclusively breastfeeding mothers do not begin to menstruate for a year or longer their iron stores are not depleted by monthly bleeding during this time.

41. Breastfeeding satisfies baby's emotional needs and increases bonding between mother and baby

All babies need to be held. There is no more comforting feeling for an infant of any age than being held close and cuddled while breastfeeding. In fact, studies have shown that premature babies are more likely to die if they are not held or stroked. Breastfeeding stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin in the mother's body. "It is now well established that oxytocin, as well as stimulating uterine contractions and milk ejection, promotes the development of maternal behavior and also bonding between mother and offspring.

42. Not breastfeeding increases mother's risk of developing ovarian cancer

Based on the research, breastfeeding for a total of 12 to 24 months can reduce your risk of ovarian cancer by about one-third.

The sole purpose of these blogs is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call us or e mail.
Dr Unnati Chavda
(Promoting pregnancy wellness)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Planned Parenthood : Prepare the ‘Womb Room’

Planned Parenthood

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” ~ Elizabeth Stone.

For many, the time to have a child is thrust upon them rather than consciously chosen. Some say there’s never a perfect time to have a child but that fate schedules it, along with the moment of birth and death. Couples ambivalent about having children rather than following a calling may be called up to parental duty by destiny. Others can eagerly prepare for a child who never appears. Ayurveda sees children as a precious gift from the gods to be welcomed whether invited or not. They are gurus who can prompt parents to cultivate qualities that may have otherwise lay dormant, virtues like unconditional love. In many ancient cultures becoming a parent is considered an enriching rite of passage, a momentous milestone presenting an opportunity for spiritual growth and deeper relationships. As Peter De Vries appreciated “The value of marriage is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults.” Though the prospect of parenting may seem overwhelming many couples say that once they arose to meet the challenge and accepted the lifestyle adjustment the blessings far outweighed the sacrifices.

Preparing psychologically and physically for the little angel’s arrival optimises the mother and child’s state through the childbearing process. Just as a healthy seed bears healthy fruit, if the parent’s sperm and ovum are pure then the child is more likely to inherit a strong constitution and immunity. Conversely if parents conceive when mentally or physically weak this may impact negatively on the child’s condition. With the intention of giving their child the happiest and healthiest genetic inheritance ayurveda suggests parents observe a preconception regime called vajikaranam. The ancient text Charaka Samhita explains- "The aim of vajikaranam is to enable a couple to produce healthy progeny who can assist them to perform their life's mission (dharma)." About six months before conception an ayurvedic physician prescribes a personalised purification and rejuvenation regime for the couple to ensure optimal ovum and sperm quality and quantity.

This may include lifestyle changes, a nutrition plan, herbs, cleanses, yoga and meditation. The couple avoids chemicals such as in food or personal care products and wean off pharmaceutical medicine when possible. Energising exercises also increase fertility and virility but must be done in moderation. To prepare the ‘womb room’ for the special guest women can balance their menstrual cycle and take cleansing and fortifying herbs and supplements. Essential fatty acids, Calcium, Magnesium, Folic acid, Iron, B12, B6 and Zinc are particularly vital to prevent birth defects. General female tonics include Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Ashoka (Saraca indica). Men are advised to take virilizing herbs such as Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Sariba (Hemidesmus indicus) and Kapi Kachu (Mucuna pruriens).  There are also many compound formulations for optimum fertility. General reproductive tonic foods recommended include warm unhomogenised milk, ghee, yoghurt, black sesame seeds, urad dal, mung dal, honey, dates, almonds, ginger, garlic, onions and saffron. Hot spices should be avoided. Daily self massage and sufficient rest is observed to charge the body with positive hormones.

Couples who share their expectations, excitement and fears about having a child will forge deeper bonds of understanding to sustain them through the experience. Couples who attune their desires for parenthood are more mentally ready for the new phase of their life and are less likely to resent the sacrifices and compromises that may be demanded. Sharing the commitment to create a loving and supportive environment makes it a more positive experience for all. This is the time to iron out any relationship rifts by spending quality time together aligning hearts and future intentions realising that a happy couple are more likely to make happy parents, transmitting contented energy to their receptive baby. Spending time together around babies can reinforce the realities and joys of the decision for them both. Another way to build excitement is to think of their child’s character and envisage a fulfilling future for the family unit. Though this may not manifest precisely it builds a positive expectation that inspires couples to maintain faith and enthusiasm through any trials. This shared sankalpa or powerful intention for a beloved baby also generates a powerful magnetic attraction for the soul to enter the womb. Love is the best libido booster to set the mood according to ayurvedic sage Charaka who says “the best aphrodisiac for a man is a woman who loves him.”

Another Vedic belief is that one can connect with ancestors to invoke their blessings and support for the child. Annual rituals to appease forebears also help to clear detrimental familial karma.

Making a Miracle
A relationship ripe with mutual love and commitment may naturally grow into the co-creation of a child. This is why the Vedas calls the married phase expansion or garhastyam. The sacred ceremony for impregnation is known as Garbadhana samskara. Ideally the field is fertile to germinate the seed through the preparatory purification, rejuvenation and emotional practices.
The prime time for procreation is calculated by the woman’s ovulation phase. Women with regular menses and awareness of their cervical mucus changes and temperature shifts can often sense their most fertile time. Alternatively one can purchase a pharmacy ovulation test or seek guidance from a natural fertility consultant.

An Indian astrologer (Jyotish) can also advice the most auspicious time called rtu-samaagam for successful conception. Ayurvedic texts warn that it is detrimental to conceive at certain times including after a heavy meal, within 96 hrs of the menstrual period, during dawn or dusk, at midnight, on a full moon, new moon, fasting days and when the woman is bleeding. Days considered lucky for conception are on the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 12th, 14th and 15th days after the end of the menses. If you have a gender preference the Vedas states conceiving on an odd day will produce a daughter and an even day a son. To optimise the man’s sperm volume and motility it is best if he can conserve his sperm for three to seven days before the conception day. Because the couples’ consciousness partially determines the type of soul attracted to them and imbues the zygote with its first subtle influence it is recommended that they elevate their spirits and connect with divine grace by meditation, offerings or rituals. On this significant day they should feel contented and deeply connected. If either feels thirsty, hungry, fearful, sad or angry it is better to wait. After preparing the ‘love nest’, bathing, dressing in fresh white garments and applying essential oils and flower garlands they can recite the following prayer from Charaka Samhita in unison.

Aum ahirasi ayurasi sarvata  pratishthasi dhaata tvam, dadhaatu vidhaata tvam, dadhatu bramhavarcasa bhava
Brahama brhaspatir vishnu soma surya tatha asvinau
Bhagotha mitra varunau veeram daddaatu me sutaam            

This is translated as“O creator and the cosmic truth! Please bless us with a courageous/strong child with a long life and health, with the qualities of Brahma (power to create), Brhaspati (power to alter the future), Vishnu (power to maintain), Soma (power to flourish), Surya (power to be succeed), Mitra (power to love) and Varuna (power to nurture)”.

They can focus on welcoming the child to it’s new home and on tender feelings for each other. If the man then breathes through his right nostril and the woman through her left this is said to optimise conception chances. Alighting the bed with his right foot first the woman joins him by placing her left leg on the bed. Intimacy infused with blissful abandon will instil the child’s initial cells with the same essence of ecstasy, giving it a positive start to existence and a sound foundation for a satisfied spirit. First they enjoy leisurely foreplay to stimulate the juices of arousal and establish an energetic connection. During intercourse the woman should not lie on her side or kneel as disturbed vata (air and ether) will affect the genitals when lying on the right side and on the left side pitta (fire and water) can overheat the sperm and ovum. Lying on her back with her legs straddling her partner promotes the upward flow of sperm.

After making love the woman lies down for 30 minutes and for a comfortable duration she can rest her raised legs at a 45O angle to optimise chances of conception. To rejuvenate they may then have a bath and eat sweet rice, saffron and honey. The woman takes it easy for the next three weeks and an Indian custom is to keep the news of conception a secret until the first trimester is complete.

Source :  Dr Rama Prasad 

 Factors Involved in Creating a Healthy Child

What are the factors involved in creating a healthy child? According to Maharishi Ayurveda, conception takes place due to healthy sperm, a healthy ovum, and a healthy uterus. For both men and women, reproductive health depends on the health of the shukra dhatu, or reproductive tissue. In women the shukra tissue creates the ovum as part of the monthly cycle, and in men the semen is formed due to sexual stimulation.

The shukra tissue itself is created as part of a long chain of metabolic transformations, starting with the digestion of food and including the transformation of food to nutrient fluid, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow and finally, to shukra tissue.

Healthy shukra tissue, then, according to ayurveda, depends on the health of all the other tissues (dhatus) in the body.

Diet and Behaviors to Boost Fertility

There are two kinds of foods and herbs that help enhance shukra dhatu, and therefore help enhance fertility. One is called bringhana, and these foods enhance shukra by enhancing all the seven dhatus. Vrishya foods and herbs target shukra dhatu in particular.
Because the first six dhatus are the raw material for forming the reproductive dhatu, all of the dhatus must be completely healthy in order to form healthy reproductive tissue. That's why the bringhana diet, which nourishes all the seven dhatus, are so important if you wish to conceive.

Foods to Nourish All Seven Dhatus (Bringhana)

  • Fresh, organic fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Dairy proteins, including milk, lassi, and panir (a fresh cheese made of milk)
  • Mung dhal
  • Soaked almonds or soaked walnuts (you can grind them and add them to your vegetables)
  • Sweet, juicy fruits such as mangoes, peaches, plums, and pears
  • Dried fruits such as dates, figs, and raisins
  • Stewed apple for breakfast
  • If your digestion is strong, eat urad dhal (available at Indian grocery stores) cooked with equal parts turmeric, cumin,coriander and fennel.
  • A banana cooked in ghee, cinnamon and cardamom is a tasty and wholesome dessert for people with strong digestion.
Foods to Enhance the Reproductive Tissue (Vrishya)
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Milk
  • Date milk shake
  • Mango milk shake
  • Rice pudding
  • Spices such as ajwain  powder, cumin (which purifies the uterus in women and the genitourinary tract in men), turmeric (to improve the interaction between hormones and targeted tissues), and black cumin.
In general, it's important to eat a wide variety of foods in order to receive all the essential nutrients. Keep trying new vegetables and fruits, and rotate your menus to make sure you're not eating the same thing day after day.

Source : Maharishi Ayurveda


1. Cleanse (Months 1–3)

Before any growth or progress, a cleansing of the things that do not serve you well must occur. This is an opportunity to start new, on a blank slate, so that you can offer your highest self to the passage of pregnancy and to parenthood. Anger, grief, toxins, emotional heaviness, and more all have a profound impact on your pregnancy. In fertility cleansing, there is a specific effort to remove toxins and excess doshas from the field, the nutrients and fluid, and the seed, which are deeper tissue layers and therefore require deeper cleansing.

“Following panchakarma [Ayurvedic cleansing], a person’s perception and understanding become clear and the ego becomes mellow as love, compassion, and clarity unfold in the mind. The mind returns to its home, which is conscious awareness.” — Dr. Vasant Lad 

Emotional Cleansing

Allow these three months to give space for cleansing any past hurt or resentment in your relationship with your partner. Together, commit to purging the relationship of dysfunctional habits and beliefs so that your child enters a healthier, more supportive atmosphere. As you go deeper into the cleanse, do not be surprised if many things that were once long forgotten begin to resurface. For women, the womb is a very strong emotional center. A few tools for this process include the following:
  • Marriage counseling. The preconception cleansing process needs support, and sometimes navigating through the emotions can be overwhelming. Having a neutral, yet compassionate, third party can help bring light to deep-seated pain or simply bring a perspective that is insightful and refreshing.
  • Daily sits. Spend a few minutes reflecting on your relationship every day. Practice gratefulness for all that your partner gives you, and practice the art of genuine apology for any wrongdoings, being completely vulnerable and transparent with each other. You will see sincerity, trust, and compassion grow in your relationship from this practice.

Spiritual Cleansing

This is also a time to cleanse yourself of any dysfunctionalities within—any anger, greed, attachment, or excess pride and ego. Release all expectations of life and of yourself and even any expectations that you may have of your future child.
  • Daily affirmation and prayer. During these three months, strengthen your resolve to cleanse by beginning your day with the following affirmation:
    I am free of any bondage from the past. I have the opportunity to be born new every moment, and I choose to release all forms of pain that keep me from being fully present. I forgive all those who have hurt me and ask for forgiveness from those whom I have hurt. Give me strength to cleanse and be free so that I may offer my highest self to the child that is to come.
  • Ashoka baths. Ashoka is known as the “remover of sorrow,” and thus the herb heals both physical and psychological pain, particularly in the female reproductive tract. Boil three tablespoons of herbal powder in two cups of water until one cup of water remains. Add the decoction to a hot bath and soak in it. While in the bath, try to suck in the perineum to draw the herbal water and its effects close to the uterus.
  • Solarized water. Men tend to hold pain in their heart center. It is said that the heart chakra vibrates at the same frequency as the color green, and thus drinking solarized green water with intention cleanses the heart chakra. Store filtered water in a green bottle and let the bottle sit in the sun for a day. As you drink the water, focus on your connection with all beings through the heart center.

Physical Cleansing

The cleanse serves to clear toxins (ama) and excess doshas so that channels flow freely and toxins do not inhibit the proper functioning of any tissue.  For the purpose of fertility, the same principles hold true. Traditional Ayurvedic cleansing for fertility lasts for several months in order to cleanse and revitalize the deepest tissue layers. Try your best to adhere to the following structure, allowing for flexibility and modifications as you need it:
  • Month 1: Gentle cleansing. Eat an easy-to-digest diet that is well cooked. Completely eliminate—or at least avoid as much as possible—gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. Follow the  the routine of self massage abhyanga  and gentle yoga.
  • Month 2: More intense cleansing. If a panchkarma  center is accessible to you, then undergo panchakarma for a minimum of two weeks. Otherwise, two weeks to a month-long home cleanse with a monodiet of kitchari and cooked vegetables (to the best of your ability) will serve you well. 
  • Month 3: Gentle cleansing. Ease back into the routine of a more gentle cleanse, as in month 1.
Here are a few more tips for an effective fertility cleanse:
  • Minimize, or if possible abstain, from intercourse. Yup, you read that right. This is a time of cleansing, which requires a lot of energy and reserves. Abstinence is a yogic practice used to conserve physical energy, ojas, and mental energy so that a more introspective and clear mind-set is maintained.
  • Practice meditation and yoga  regularly. Be sure to practice more gently while cleansing, particularly during month 2. 

The Seed (Bija)

The seed, or bija, of fertility refers to the egg and sperm. According to Ayurveda, this reproductive tissue is the very last tissue in our bodies to be created. It is the most refined, most complete tissue after we digest and process all the food, thoughts, and emotions that we ingest. As such, its perfection requires the best of the best—the best food, the best thoughts, the best environment. This is especially true for men, since fully mature sperm are produced, on average, every two months. For women, maintaining a healthy environment protects the quality of the eggs that they were born with.
Source : Banayan Botanicals

The sole purpose of these blogs is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call us or e mail.
Dr Unnati Chavda
(Promoting pregnancy wellness)