Pre-natal Samskaras (जन्मात्पूर्वसंस्काराः)

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The Samskaras performed before the birth of the child, starting from conception can be grouped under this heading. We learn from the ancient Indian texts the immense importance given to the pre-natal rites and ceremonies. The Saṁskāras of ancient times have been referred to as sacraments, though other terms such as ceremony, rituals, and rites are also employed. In the concept of sixteen Saṁskāras (Śodaṣa-Saṁskāras) three Saṁskāras comprise the pre-natal sacraments; Garbhadhāṇā, Puṁsāvana and Simāntonayana.[1]

परिचयः ॥ Introduction

Genesis is perhaps the most astonishing event that could have occurred in nature. Needless to say, why birth in Indian traditions is regarded as such and celebrated with much vigor, enthusiasm and generosity. For generations together the set traditions have been followed by communities, even by those who are unfamiliar with its relevance, social significance or even origin. Lokacharas have also been added over the centuries of development of these sacraments. Many times we find that the procedures involved in Samskaras they differ slightly based on the Veda Shakas and the Sutra literature followed by people. While there appear to be some parts of these sacraments which are presently beyond the reach of logic; hence are neglected for myths and fables, there are aspects that were previously unexplored but lately many logically plausible explanations are being uncovered to explain the rationale behind these samskaras. It is highly significant to delve deep into these sacraments as we discern that they arose not as fabrications of a fanciful mind but have been guided by logical, biological, medical, social and psychological deliberations. It is even more important to understand that from the earliest Rigvedic times ancient seers were compiling these sacraments to promote but not undermine anyone belonging to a specific place, gender, varna or ashrama.

The Three Pre-natal Samskaras

The three pre-natal samskaras include

  1. Garbhadhana (गर्भाधानम्)
  2. Pumsavana (पुंसवनम्)
  3. Simantam (सीमन्तः) or Simantonnayana

Garbhadhāṇā, the ceremony of conception is not only about encouraging the procreation and keep the cycle of life on earth moving, rather it is about giving the free vent to natural tendency of any beings, to replicate, to reproduce, create family, community and ultimately a niche which could make things a lot easier from the perspective of leading life. Thus natural instincts, socio-economic, and biological reasons mainly drove the formation of such a sacrament.[1]

The two genders on which the grhasthashrama was reliant on, were physically distinct identities each with a specific role and function in the bigger unit of the society. However, the birth of male child, as it started as a predominant practice of engendering, was perhaps conceived to be advantageous for the community, which later on became a fixed tradition to give rise to Pumsavana Samskara.

Deliberations to cause progeny at any cost, even by going to the extent of recommending the punitive measures points to the economic and political need for manpower but some scholars also perceive these differently, as a tool to reflect upon the condition of women in early societies. But there is another perspective to it; societies in early India were comparatively smaller in size with vast land resources and scanty human power to control and harness them. Vast tracts of land were burnt (though this practice was condemned and prohibited in later periods) and brought under extensive cultivation and habitation as the societies grew in size. Such a scenario demanded expansion in societies which could settle in far flung areas given the availability of resources and the fertility of the soil suitable for agriculture. Preference of male child over a female at this juncture could perhaps have been more to satiate the economic and political rather the social one. The need for human resource was so much so that every birth was considered to be the blessing of the divine and extinction of the family was inauspicious and the one who caused it, was a sinner. The male child was given more importance keeping in mind his economic importance, the intensity of labour he could contribute and social aspects were attached to it subsequently. With it the rites for engendering the foetus gained prominence. It was because of such economic and political conditions that sacraments like Garbhadhana and Pumsavana were made a binding practice. Almost every Gṛhyasūtra has touched upon the question of Puṁsāvana in ancient India, Āśvalayāna , Gobhilā, Baudhayana and Pārāskara Gṛhyasūtras have highlighted it in particular.[1]

Purpose of the three Samskaras

As seen in the previous section where Garbhadhana samskara involved a complex web of social, economic, dharmik and political situations in the development of this rite, here we come across people who approached their wives with a definite purpose of procreating children, in a definite manner calculated to produce the best possible progeny and with the religious serenity which, they believed, would consecrate the would-be-child.[2]

The significance of the Pumsavana consisted, in its main features. It should be performed when the moon was on a male constellation. ‘This time was. regarded as favourable for producing a male issue, inserting the juice of the banyan tree was a device meant for preventing abortion and ensuring the birth of a male child. Jn the opinion of Susruta the banyan tree has got the properties of removing all kinds of troubles during pregnancy, e.g. excess of bile, burning etc. The Nasya vidhi where three or four drops of medicinal juice is instilled in the right nostril of the pregnant woman has been mentioned commonly in Ayurvedic medicine texts. Therefore, it is evident that the ritual prescribing it was undoubtedly founded on the' medical experience of the people. Putting a dish of water on the lap was a symbolical performance, nevertheless, such activities promote psychological health of the expectant mother. A pot full of water denoted life and spirit in the would-be child. Touching the womb emphasized the necessity of taking every care by the expectant mother, so that the foetus should be healthy and strong in the womb and abortion may not take place.[3]

The purpose of the Simantonnayana Samskara was partly superstitious and partly practical. People believed that a woman in her pregnancy was subject to attacks of evil spirits and some rite should be performed to ward them off. The primary objective of the ritual appears to be to wish a healthy development of the baby and safe delivery to the mother, although the ritual does take into consideration to destroy factors that want to destroy the foetus.[4]

Aspects about Maternity

The Smrti-writers realized that every conduct of an expectant mother influenced the unborn child. So, after laying down rules and regulations about the pre-natal Samskaras, they prescribed the duties of a pregnant woman and her husband. These duties can be grouped into three classes.

  • supra-natural beliefs - based on the superstitious belief that evil spirits try to injure the pregnant woman. Therefore, she should be protected from them.
  • limiting physical activities - rules aimed at maintaining the health of the mother, preventing physical overexertion
  • preserving the physical and mental health of the mother

To begin with the first class, we find in the Markandeya-Purana the following, observation:

“There are terrible fiends and witches bent on devouring the foetus of a pregnant woman. Therefore, she should be always protected from them by ever observing purity, writing sacred mantras and wearing beautiful garland. 0 Brahmana, Virupa and Vikrti generally dwell in trees, trenches, ramparts and seas. They are always in search of pregnant women. Hence they should not visit these places. The son of Garbhahanta is Vighna, and Mehini is his daughter. 'The first (Vighna) enters the womb and eats away the foetus. The second (Mehini) having entered it causes abortion. From the mischief of Mehini are born snakes, frogs, tortoises from the womb of a woman.”[4]

Garbhasamskara or Kshetrasamskara

The authorities are divided in their opinion whether, some of these pre-natal samskaras should be performed in every pregnancy (Garbha samskara) or it should be performed only in the first conception (Kshetra samskara). Garbhasamskara refers to the purificatory rites for the Garbha or embryo. Hence such samskaras are to be performed for every garbha or embryo. A Kshetrasamskara refers to the consecration of the wife; hence once the Ksetra is purified it need not be done for subsequent pregnancies.[2]

Manu and Yajnavalkya opine that Garbhadhana was a Garbhasamksara because “religious rites of the twice-born from the conception to the funeral should be performed.’’ According to the second school of thought “Having once co-habited with the wife ceremoniously one should approach her in future ordinarily ( without any ceremony)." They believe that Ksetra (the wife) once consecrated lends purity to every conception in future. Logically speaking, the Garbhadhana was a Garbha-Samskara in the beginning, and the second school represents the tendency of simplifying and omitting the Samskaras appear to be of later origin.[2]

According to Saunaka, Pumsavana rite should be repeated in every conception, because by touching and feeding, the foetus becomes purified ; moreover by the force of the mantras uttered in this Samkara, one obtains the "memory of the past lives. So, it is prescribed in every conception.[3]

In the Mitaksara on the Yajnavalkya, we find an eliminating tendency where Vijnanesvara says, “These Pumsavana and Simanta being, Ksetra Samskaras should be performed only once.”[3]

Also read Suprajanana Samskara (सुप्रजनन संस्कारः)

गर्भिणीधर्माः ॥ Rules for the Expectant Mother

In Samskararatnamala we find Kashyapa's advice to Aditi as mentioned in the Padmapurana. Here find the duties of the expecting mother. A summary is given below.[4]

नावस्करेषूपविशेन्मुसलोलूखलादिषु । जलं च नावगाहेत शून्यागारं विवर्जयेत् ॥

वल्मीकं नाधितिष्ठेत न चोद्विग्नमना भवेत् । विलिखेन्न नखैर्भूमिं नाङ्गारेण न भस्मना ॥ न शयालुः सदा तिष्ठेद्व्यायामं च विवर्जयेत् । न तुषाङ्गारभस्मास्थिकपालेषु समाविशेत् ॥

वर्जयेत्कलहं गेहे गात्रभङ्गं तथैव च । न मुक्तकेशा तिष्ठेत नाशुचिः स्यात्कदाचन ॥

न शयीतोत्तरशिरा न चैवाधःशिराः क्वचित् । न वस्त्रहीना नोच्छिष्टा न चार्द्रचरणा तथा ॥

नामङ्गल्यं वदेद्वाक्यं न च हास्याधिका भवेत् । कुर्याच्छ्वशुरयोर्नित्यं पूजां माङ्गल्यतत्परा ॥

तिष्ठेत्प्रसन्नवदना सदा भर्तुर्हिते रता" इति । (Sams. Ratn. 2.2)[5]

  • She should not sit on ordure (excreta, dung etc), a mace or pestle and a mortar ; nor on an antihill
  • she should not bathe in a river, nor she should go to a deserted house;
  • she should never be mentally disturbed ;
  • she should not be sleeping and dormant always ;
  • she should not scratch the earth with her nails, charcoal and ashes ;
  • she should avoid physical exercise ;
  • she should not touch husk, coal, ashes and skull;
  • she should avoid quarrel in the family and cutting of her limbs ;
  • she should not leave her hair dishevelled and never remain impure
  • she should not utter inauspicious words nor laugh too much
  • while sleeping she should not place her head towards north and downwards and remain naked, disturbed and wetfooted
  • she should always be busy with good work, worship her father-in-law and mother-in-law, and wish for the welfare of her husband; and remain happy.[4]

In the Bhavishya Purana, Kashyapa mentions some more duties of the expectant mother to his second wife, Diti.

संध्यायां नैव भोक्तव्यं गर्भिण्या वरवर्णिनि । स्थातव्यं न च गन्तव्यं वृक्षमूले च सर्वदा ॥

न दुर्मुखी सदा तिष्ठेत्खट्वाछायां विवर्जयेत् । सर्वौषधीभिः कोष्णेन वारिणा स्नानमाचरेत् ॥

कृतरक्षा सुभूषा च वास्तुपूजनतत्परा । दानशीला तृतीयायां पार्वत्या नक्तमाचरेत् ॥

गर्भिणी कुञ्जराश्वादिशैलहर्म्यादिरोहणम् । व्यायामं शीघ्रगमनं शकटारोहणं त्यजेत् ॥ शोकं रक्तविमोकं च साहसं कुक्कुटासनम् । व्यवायं च दिवास्वापं रात्रौ जागरणं त्यजेत् ॥ अतिरुक्षं तु नाश्नीयादत्यम्लमतिभोजनम् । अत्युष्णमतिशीतं च गुर्वाहारं परित्यजेत् ॥

इतिवृत्ता भवेन्नारी विशेषेण तु गर्भिणी । यश्च तस्यां भवेत्पुत्रः स्थिरायुर्वृद्धिसंयुतः ॥ अन्यथा गर्भपतनमवाप्नोति न संशयः॥ (Sams. Ratn. 2.2)[5]

A pregnant woman

  • should not take her meals during twilights
  • she should not stand or pass by under a tree ; avoid the shade of a tree
  • she should not be always sleeping ;
  • she should bathe with warm water mixed with medicinal herbs, remain protected and decorated
  • she should worship the deities and have danasheelata (quality of offering charity) ; she should observe Parvati-vratas on the third day of a month ;
  • she should avoid mounting an elephant, horse, mountain and many-storeyed buildings ;
  • she should give up exercise, swift-walking, journey in a bullock-cart, sorrows, blood-letting, sitting like a cock, exertion, sleeping in the day, and keeping awake in the night
  • she should avoid highly saline, sour, hot, stale and heavy food.

The son of a woman observing the above rules becomes 'long-lived and talented ; otherwise abortion takes place without doubt.[4]

In other Smrtis,[5] it has been mentioned that the pregnant lady should not

  • climb up or down the trees
  • cross rivers by swimming
  • climb on a wheel
  • consume strong medicines
  • engage in sexual intercourse
  • carry heavy weights.

The Varaha Smrti prohibits consuming meat during pregnancy.[4]

According to Samskara Ratnamala, an expectant mother has some religious restrictions also.

दानं पक्वान्नभिक्षायाः परिवेषणमेव च । पचनं च न कर्तव्यं गर्भिण्या सर्वथैव तु ॥ (Sams. Ratn. 2.2)[5]

She cannot give dana (physically), serve the food cooked by others but cannot cook and serve food.[5]

Other Nibandhas like Dharmasindhu advocate that a preganant lady should avoid going out or watching an eclipse (Solar or Lunar). She should remain indoors well protecting her womb using Kusha grass or Darbha bed.

गर्भिणीपतिधर्माः ॥ Duties of the Husband

The first and foremost duty of the husband was to fulfil the wishes of his pregnant wife.

गर्भिणीवाञ्छितं द्रव्यं तस्यै दद्याद्यथोचितम् । सूते चिरायुषं पुत्रमन्यथा दोषमर्हति इति ॥ (Sams. Ratn. 2.2)[5]

According to Yajnavalkya,

दौहृदस्याप्रदानेन गर्भो दोषं अवाप्नुयात् । वैरूप्यं मरणं वापि तस्मात्कार्यं प्रियं स्त्रियाः । । ३.७९ । (Yajn. Smrt. 3.76)[6]

By not meeting the wishes of a pregnant woman, foetus becomes unhealthy ; it is either deformed or miscarried. Therefore, one should do as desired by her.[4] As per Kalavidhi text,

क्षौरं शवानुगमनं नखकृन्तनं च युद्धं च वास्तुकरणं त्वतिदूरयानम् ।उद्वाहमौ(औ)पनयनं जलधेर्वगाह आयुष्क्षयो भवति गर्भिणिकापतीनाम् इति ॥

The husband after the sixth month of her pregnancy, should avoid cropping hair and nails, going in a funeral procession, participating in a war, building a new house, going abroad, marriage or Upanayana in the family, and bathing in the sea, as it would shorten the life of the husband of a pregnant woman.”[4]

आयुर्वेदे गर्भिणीपरिचर्या ॥ Pre-natal regime practiced in Ayurveda

Ayurveda scholars have proposed a nine monthly diet plan and a specific month-wise regime for an expectant mother. This is known as Garbhini paricharya. It is based on the growth of the fetus in the womb and at the same time ensures health of the mother at that stage of pregnancy. It is also designed in a way so as to safeguard the future health of mother and baby. Therefore garbhini paricharya refers to the pre-natal care or ante-natal care suggested by Ayurveda.

The conceived woman is advised to be treated with special care just like a pot filled with oil. As the slightest oscillati on of such a pot causes spilling of the oil, similarly the slightest exertions or excitements to the pregnant woman can initiate adverse pregnancy outcomes.[7] Therefore utmost care of the pregnant woman is to be taken. The pregnancy regime described in Ayurveda is as below,

गर्भिणीहितकरः आहारः॥ Diet of a pregnant woman

The food consumed by a pregnant woman plays key-role in nourishment of mother as well as child. Ayurveda opines that this food when gets digested is trandformed into 3 main parts. Each of the 3 parts of this food have specific role as below,[8]

  1. Provides nourishment to mother's body tissues
  2. Nourishes growing baby in womb
  3. Involved in development of breast milk which is the chief source of nourishment of baby post delivery.

Acharya Kashyapa in Kashyapa Samhita has suggested that, whatever diet the pregnant woman consumes becomes congenial to the baby in womb. Thus one should take utmost care while planning diet of a pregnant woman. The diet should be designed considering the digestive strength of the mother, the season, time of the day and area of residence.[9] Diet planned considering these points helps to maintain health of mother and baby both and prevents development of diseases.

The month wise diet for a pregnant woman has been suggested in all the Ayurveda treatises. There are some differences of opinion with regards the selection of food ingredients in different scholars but the widely popular and accepted diet regime has been discussed below.[10] [11] [12]However it is strongly recommended to consult a nearby Vaidya to get a customized diet plan and make alterations as per individuals prakrti and general health condition.

Month Dietary regimen
1st Month Sweet in taste, cold in properties and preferably liquid diet is suggested in the first month of pregnancy. Milk can be taken frequently in desired quantity as per one's digestive capacity. The women who dislike milk or have intolerance to milk can be suggested some alternative aby a vaidya considering the basic objective and health status of the woman. Medicated clarified butter extracted from milk is also very much beneficial in this month to be consumed by a pregnant woman. Some acharyas have also suggested to take honey mixed with butter and sweetened milk.
2nd month The diet from first month is to be continued with little change. The milk to be consumed is advised to be medicated with the herbs having sweet rasa (taste). The specific herbs have been listed in literature.
3rd month In the third month diet becomes little more nourishing and heavy. The milk should be taken mixed with honey and ghee. The rice of shashtika variety well cooked and then mixed with milk is to be taken. Some scholars also recommend consumption of Krishara (preparation like khichadi made with rice and pulses).
4th month In this month other milk derivatives like butter and curd are recommended. Milk is to taken with significant amount of butter. The quantity of butter mentioned in treatises is somewhat near 12 gms but in today's time according to digestive and physical strength of the expecting mother the quantity can be revised. Cooked rice with curd is also beneficial
5th Month Various preparations of rice like rice gruel, kheer/payasam (traditional preparation of sweetened milk and cooked rice) or simple cooked rice mixed with milk, ghee and meat of specific qualities is recommended in this month. Ghee prepared from butter which is directly obtained from milk is known to be beneficial in this month.
6th Month A specific recipe of ghee which should be consumed in this month has been given. The milk should be medicated with few herbs having sweet rasa (taste). The ghee should be extracted from such a medicated milk. It is called as ksheerasarpi. Rice gruel which should be taken in this month should be medicated with herbs like Gokshura (Tribulus terestris).
7th month Ghee similar to the one taken in 6th month i.e. ksheerasarpi is to be consumed. The ghee medicated with certain group of herbs is beneficial. (Your Vaidya can guide you select the ghee).
8th month Rice gruel mixed with unctuous substances like ghee and soup of wild meat is recommended. For vegetarians rice gruel can be prepared with milk abd ghee can be later added to it. Briefly, a woman is advised to take sufficient good fats into diet. Certain traditional sweet desserts can also be consumed in a controlled manner considering other aspects like digestive strength, weight etc.
9th month Rice gruel and Meat soup are the two preferable diets in this month. Those can be taken together. Sufficient amount of ghee should be added to the preparations. Use of different types of cereals is also suggested by some acharyas.

गर्भोपघातकराः भावाः ॥ Contra indications during pregnancy

Ayurveda points out the diet and lifestyle of a pregnant woman which can prove harmful for her health as well as baby's health if she adopts it during pregnancy. These factors are known as Garbhopaghatakara bhavas. (Garbha-baby in womb, Upaghatakara-harmful/damaging, bhavas-factors) It can be seen that such faulty practices can not just cause harm to the health of baby and mother but also have potential to cause abortions, premature births and even intra-uterine deaths.

प्रतिषिद्धः आहारः॥ Diet to be avoided

Following diet should be avoided by an expectant mother to ensure the well-being of mother and baby. [13] [14] [15]

  • अतिगुरुउष्णतीक्ष्ण - Excessive heavy to digest, hot and pungent substances
  • Intoxicating substances like alcoholic drinks
  • Excessive use of meat in diet
  • Food items that are putrefied, stale, dried (dehydrated) or wet (fermented on the verge of decomposition)
  • Food items that cause bloating and constipation
  • Food items that cause burning sensation or substances that are sour in taste, garlic, onion, yam (surana) pulses etc can cause gastric disturbances in a pregnant woman and thus can lead to ill health in some pregnant ladies. Hence these should be consumed cautiously and best avoided when the intolerance or allergy to these substances in known.

प्रतिषिद्धः विहारः॥ Activities to be avoided

Along with the diet mentioned in previous section, following activities of a pregnant woman can also prove potentially harmful for her health as well as baby's health. Thus following activities should be avoided for best pregnancy outcomes. [13] [14] [15] [16]

  • Heavy exercises
  • Sleeping during day time and keeping awake at late night.
  • Squatting posture for long time (In older times people in Bharata used to sit on the floor in this position for a long time. It can be seen in rural parts of India even in today's time.)
  • Coitus
  • Continuous exposure to heat, fire and sun.
  • Fasting
  • Suppression of vegas or natural urges like flatus, feces, urine, sneeze, hunger, thirst etc.
  • Lifting heavy weights.
  • Activities like walking on uneven path, riding over vehicle which can give jerks, violent activities
  • Wearing cloths of red color is prohibited and she is advised to wear as much whites as possible.
  • Traditionally it is said that a pregnant woman should watch pictures of white bull or horse daily. These 2 are the symbols of strength, appropriate physical body and charm.

गर्भिणीरक्षाविधिः॥ Amulet for pregnant woman

Kashyapa samhita offers knowledge of some methods that are beyond a regular pharmaceutical method of management. These methods are suggested to protect a pregnant mother and baby from evil forces that are beyond understanding of a normal human being but those can trouble the mother & baby and may lead to either premature birth or intra uterine death of a baby. For this few measures have been suggested by Acharya Kashyapa that include following things,

  • Varana Bandha (Protection band)- A protection band known as Varana bandha is recommended for pergnant ladies before 8th month of pregnancy. This is done by specialists who have learned and practice a form of vidya (knowledge system) known as Matangi vidya.[17] Matangi vidya is one of the mahavidyas known to the yogis who are expert in Tantra.
  • Amulet: Use of an amulet made from a medicinal herb Trivrut (Operculina terpethum) is also recommended for pregnant woman by Acharya Kashyapa before and after pregnancy. Before pregnancy the amulet should be tied to the waist while after delivery it is to be worn over the head by mother. [18]

Such practices are known as Daivavyapashraya Chikitsa (a type of treatment measure that includes use of gems, sacred threads, chanting mantras etc). Such practices although described in ancient scriptures are not practiced widely in today's time. It could be because of development of western medical science, lack of experts in specific tantras required to practice such traditions and disbelief in occult practices rampant as culture in ancient bharata. However newer insights in preventive antenatal care can be obtained if clinical studies are conducted on these methods.

गर्भिण्यां मानसस्वास्थ्यम्॥ Psychological dimensions of prenatal care (Mental health of a pregnant woman)

Ayurveda acharyas have deeply discussed about the mind set of a pregnant woman, her emotions, desires and their effect on her pregnancy and baby. They have put forward their findings and opinions about how a pregnant woman should carry herself psychologically in this delicate phase of pregnancy. The ultimate well-being of mother and child is dependent on mother's psyche, emotins, thoughts and behavior. Thus she is advised to try to maintain her overall attitude and behavior in a particular manner so as to get the best pregnancy outcomes. The guidelines are as below,[19]

  • A pregnant woman should try to be in happy mood and mindset throughout the pregnancy.
  • She should offer prayers and pay respect to devatas, guru, brahmanas. Respecting and treating elders in good manner is recommended.
  • She should always indulge into peaceful and pious activities.
  • It is best to avoid anger by a pregnant woman.
  • Activities that lead to generations of grief or scare should be avoided.
  • Talking very loudly should also be best avoided.
  • She should avoid engaging into the conversations or listening/watching something that excites, irritates or disturbs her.
  • She should be well behaved with everyone.

Social dimensions of prenatal care

Social dimensions of prenatal care include how an interaction or communication between a pregnant woman and people around her should be in order to get the best pregnancy outcomes. Ayurveda acharyas have also intricately discussed about structure of the room for the pregnant woman. [14] [15] [20]

गर्भिणीधर्मः॥ Behavior of a pregnant woman

  • She should offer prayers and pay respect to devatas, guru, brahmanas. Respecting and treating elders in good manner is recommended.
  • She should avoid engaging into the conversations or listening/watching something that excites, irritates or disturbs her.
  • She should be well behaved with everyone.

गर्भिणीपतिधर्माः ॥ Behavior of husband and attendants

  • The husband, family members and servants should have an affectionate and gentle behavior towards a pregnant woman. They should avoid talks that generate anger, fear or stress in a pregnant woman.
  • The desires of a pregnant woman which are valid and wholesome should be fulfilled by her husband and other members.

गर्भिणीगृहरचना॥ Room settings

A pregnant woman is advised to follow certain rules related to her daily activities which includes avoiding certain places and some restrictions on her physical activities. Considering these (already discussed in previous sections) the room of a pregnant woman should have certain elements deliberately employed taking into account the pregnancy state. These elements are as below,

  • Any objects that generate fear, stress, anxiety in her should be placed in her room.
  • The place should be free from insects like lizard, mosquitoes etc.
  • Pictures of or actual site of white horse or white bull (indicating superior physical attributes) should be easily available or visible to her which she can focus daily.
  • Sources that generate odor should be cleared away and pleasing fragrances should be sprinkled in the room making the atmosphere peaceful and positive.
  • Soft cushions and mattresses should be arranged in her sleeping and sitting place.
  • The place to sit and sleep should not be on very high level where she would have to climb or may find difficulty to get down. The sitting or sleeping place should be made comfortable by making
  • Music like instrumental music and Vedic mantras to be played or recited by artists and vedic scholar respectively so as to add more positivity to the environment. Effect of music on maternal psychology and fetal well being is a well explored area of research.  

The Medical Basis

The rules laid down for the health of the pregnant woman are based on the medical knowledge of the ancient people.[4] Most of the do's and dont's can be seen having some background related to the pregnancy physiology discussed in Ayurveda. Interestingly Ayurveda has discussed in depth about not just physical but also psychological and social dimensions of pregnancy and advised a set of rules to be followed or avoid by a pregnant woman in order to get the best pregnancy outcomes. This holistic view about pregnancy care described in Ayurveda empowers the Vaidyas, pregnant ladies and their family to plan, follow or implement the pregnancy regime carefully. Pregnancy regime discussed here in terms of managing physical, mental and social health of a pregnant woman along with the prenatal samskaras discussed earlier when followed religiously can ensure safe mother hood, delivery and healthy progeny. Thus every possible care was taken to preserve the health of the pregnant woman and the baby in womb.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Chahal, Mandeep (2020) Ph.D Thesis Titled: Samskaras in the Grihyasutras historical account of Jatakarma Upanyana Vivaha and Antyeshti. (Chapter 2)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Pandey, Raj Bali. (1949) Hindu Samskaras, A Socio-religious study of the Hindu Sacraments. Banaras: Vikrama Publications. (Pages 79-98)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Pandey, Raj Bali. (1949) Hindu Samskaras, A Socio-religious study of the Hindu Sacraments. Banaras: Vikrama Publications. (Pages 99-104)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Pandey, Raj Bali. (1949) Hindu Samskaras, A Socio-religious study of the Hindu Sacraments. Banaras: Vikrama Publications. (Pages 105-115)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Samskara Ratnamala (Adhyaya 2 Prakarana 2)
  6. Yajnavalkya Smrti (Adhyaya 3 Prayaschitta)
  7. Charaka Samhita (Sharirasthanam Adhyaya 8 Sutra 22)
  8. Charaka Samhita (Sharirasthana Adhyaya 6 Sutra 23)
  9. Kashyapa Samhita (Sutrasthana Adhyaya 18 Sutra 24-25)
  10. Charaka Samhita (Sharirasthanam Adhyaya 8 sutra 32)
  11. Sushruta Samhita (Sharirasthana Adhyaya 10 sutra 4)
  12. Ashtanga Samgraha (Sharirasthanam Adhyaya 3/3 Sutra 11)
  13. 13.0 13.1 Charaka Samhita (Sharirasthanam Adhyaya 4 Sutra 18)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Sushruta Samhita (Sharirasthanam Adhyaya 10 Sutra 3)
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Ashtanga Hrudaya (Sharirasthanam Adhyaya 1 Sutra 43-44 )
  16. Ashtanga Samgraha (Sharira Sthana Adhyaya 2 Sutra 60)
  17. Kashyapa Samhita (Kalpasthanam Adhyaya 6 Sutra 80)
  18. Kashyapa Samhita (Khilasthanam Adhyaya 10 Sutra 181)
  19. Sushruta Samhita (Sharirasthanam Adhyaya 10 Sutra 3)
  20. Kashyapa Samhita (Sharirasthana Adhyaya 5 Sutra 14)