Pregnancy is a very precious and important event in a woman’s life. The concept of limiting the number of children is vital to an Indian woman today; hence pregnancy is no longer as casual a matter as it used to be decades ago. Today one can plan to become pregnant when needed and take good care to have a normal child.
With recent advances in obstetrics the little life inside the womb can be visualized from the very first day of fetal life, from the moment of conception until birth. It is indeed artistic, accurate and awesome; The new life taking shape and becoming active inside the mother-tobe is so vivid and complex.
At one time, the unborn was a person no one knew. Will it be a girl or a boy? Are the little organs well formed or defective? It was suspense all-through; But now each and every information about the growing baby can be made available.
It is true that the development of the baby is affected by several maternal as well as fetal factors. Hypertension, diabetes, malnutrition, chronic renal disease etc. can cause harmful effects on the fetus. Similarly chromosomal anomalies in the embryo, and infections in the mother is known to cause several birth defects. These are prone to several complications in the new born period and even later in childhood. Apart from these causes, tension, fear, anxiety and chronic stress in the mother can cause serious problems, resulting in poor outcome.
It is now well-recognised that stress causes psycho-neuroimmunological changes in the body leading to pregnancy complications. It can lead to irregular, in coordinate uterine contractions causing distress ending in operative surgery. Hypersensitivity of the mother leads to intolerance to pain, requiring heavy dosage of pain killers which are not safe for the unborn.
Yoga therapy is fast advancing as an effective tool in many physical and psychological disorders; the changes that take place in the human system at all levels by the practice of yoga and holistic living have been investigated by many scientists over the past several decades, and enough proof is available of the beneficial effects of yoga on the mind and body of the human beings.
Various countries have their own relaxation techniques for pregnant women. Pavlovian School of Russia was inspired by our yoga methods for girls and pregnant women. Hypnosis is one of the methods, which allows the subconscious mind to listen while the conscious mind takes rest and gets complete relaxation. Reiki, (Pronounced Ray-Key), is an ancient Tibetan healing art rediscovered in Japan by Dr. Mikau Usui. Reiki is a Japanese word describing “Universal life-force energy”. This method involves práïic healing. Transcendental Meditation (T.M) reduces the metabolic rate, lowers stress, and also lowers the concentration of various biochemicals in the blood which are associated with stress, such as cortisol. TM produces a state of rest better than even deep sleep or simple relaxation. Acupuncture is another ancient method, which involves inserting hair-thin steel surgical needles into specific points in the body, which are known to take away the discomfort and pain and thus relax the body and mind. Certain exercises recommended by American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) help in relaxing the pregnant woman.
Many centers all over the world have taken research work in the field of yoga. Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (sVYASA) Bangalore has evolved a simple, useful & safe module of basic yoga practices for mothers-to-be and extensive research is going on in one of the super speciality referral maternity hospital.
There is still a lot of apprehension and fear in the minds of doctors and obstetricians, much more than the pregnant women themselves; whether yoga exercises bring adverse effects, as there are many