Women should not travel long distances during the first trimester of pregnancy. This is also true of the critical last two months of pregnancy, during which the foetus has grown very much in size. In the remaining four months in between, a pregnant woman should only travel when it is necessary and only in conditions that will be very comfortable for her.
Direct injury or impact of any kind to the abdomen can injure the foetus.
She should wear loose and comfortable garments, not tight fitting clothes that will impede circulation. Jeans, skirts and petticoats that tend to tighten around the abdomen should be avoided. Although very much in vogue, high-heeled shoes or sandals may cause backaches, and hence should be avoided. As the foetus grows in size, it becomes more difficult for the mother-to-be to maintain a straight posture; high-heeled shoes aggravate the situation, and she could lose balance easily while wearing them.
Smoking should be given up entirely. It is a scientifically proven fact that smoking during pregnancy can have a devastating effect, hampering the mental, physical, and intellectual development of the baby.
Staying up late at night and sleeping during the day, especially in the afternoon, should be completely avoided during pregnancy. Late nights increase vata and pitta, and sleeping during the
It is not good for the pregnant woman to roam about without reason. The most ancient Ayurvedic texts note that this may have undesirable psychological effects on the child, and specifically increase the possibility of epilepsy in the child.
The expecting mother should not pay attention to things that are unpleasant, irksome, and disturbing to her. Discord and resentment in the family, and discussing disagreeable topics should be avoided in her presence. She should refrain from involving herself in such discussions.
It is important that she does not read books meant to excite or thrill, or watch horror films, which could generate fear. The unborn child is very sensitive and could easily be affected by these. She should also avoid watching television programmes that show deceit, stressful situations, unhappiness and immorality. Books and films have a deep impact on the mind, and are able to affect people both negatively as well as positively. Such influences on the unborn baby could result in the child being weak or fainthearted. In extreme cases, the excitement caused may even lead to miscarriage.
The pregnant woman should not stay in or even visit, unprotected places or deserted areas for the entire duration of the pregnancy.
It is best to avoid sexual intercourse throughout pregnancy. It is strictly prohibited by Ayurved during the first three months, when the embryo is not yet stable and miscarriage could be brought on quite easily. And in the final trimester, when the foetus has grown in size, sexual intercourse should also definitely to be avoided. During the entire pregnancy the vagina and uterus are extra- sensitive and susceptible to injury. These organs need to remain intact and protected from injury or imbalance. The sexual act is unnecessary exertion and could impair the growth of the child.
I t is important that the mother-to-be should remain happy and joyful. Feelings of grief or anxiety could cause her child to be fearful or apprehensive by nature, have a narrow outlook on life, or even a short life span. Anxiety and grief are undesirable in any case, but more so during pregnancy. Some women are more anxious or apprehensive and hence more easily disturbed than others. Thinking too much or worrying does not improve things. For the habitually anxious, it is important to break out of this vicious cycle. Music, meditation and reading spiritual and inspirational literature is sure to help. Listening to healing and vocal music helps noticeably. Albums by Santulan Music such as Spirit of Harmony, Yoga Nidra - for Peace and Meditation, Santulan Meditation, Aumkar Gunjan, and Garbha Sanskar, have been composed for these purposes and each has a specific effect. Such music soothes and restores peace to the mind on the whole, and the mental capacities of the unborn child are improved.
If the mother becomes jealous, angry or entertains negative thoughts it could cause the child to develop corrupt or unethical tendencies or anenvious and scheming nature. So it is best to avoid the possibility of the mother even getting into such a situation.
Sleeping too much (i.e. more than eight or nine hours), causes laziness, listlessness and even mental retardation in the child. It also slows the child's metabolism.
The environment around the pregnant woman should be perfectly clean and tidy, and she should avoid places where there are obnoxious or unsavoury smells. She should not come in contact with menstruating women as far as possible.
Some trees, such as the Banyan and Tamarind, are to be avoided, especially at twilight. She should not visit areas unknown to her.
And of course, apart from all these external factors, she should not harm herself by shouting or raising her voice, getting angry or irritated. In Indian culture, it is custom that a pregnant woman should not look at snakes. Whether it is harmful, or if the snake 'casts a shadow' on the woman, is not known, but the sight certainly instills fear and makes one temporarily mentally weak, and this is definitely harmful to the foetus growing inside.
After going through this chapter you might feel that there are too many things to do and remember if one wants to follow the entire process. But once you start actually doing these things, you will find that not only are they not so difficult, but also that they come naturally and easily to you. In fact, if you try and remain aware of the results in your body and mind when doing all these things, you will realize how much they are beginning to help you and the child growing inside you!