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Part 1: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn  >  Holistic Bonding with Your Unborn Child

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 visualisation techniques.


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.


MEDITATION
The Holistic Pregnancy Relaxation Programme


I recommend this at my mothercraft classes. Each session has 3 phases

  • Meditation
  • Auto-hypnosis and Auto-suggestion
  • Breathing exercises (pranayam)


Meditation Techniques
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 health.
  • 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 autosuggestions.
  • 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.


Breathing Exercises
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

  • Guided 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.
  • Labour affirmations:
    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

 
Part 1
Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn
Planning A Baby
Pregnancy
Making Preparations
Labour and Delivery
Management of the Newborn
Normal Variations in a Newborn
Care of the Newborn
Holistic Bonding
 
Guide to Child Care
Home
Introduction
1 Pregnancy, Childbirth ...
2 The Growing Years
3 Feeding Infants, ...
4 Keeping Your Child Healthy
5 Keeping Your Child Happy
About Dr. R. K. Anand
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