Yoga a boon for maternal-child health

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Yoga has enormous potential to help expectant mothers prepare themselves physically, mentally, emotionally for this grand experience that can be a very spiritual one for so many. Yoga as a way of life focuses on right living and right thinking while utilizing various tools for the overall psycho-physiological health of the mother and child. Yogic diet with a stress on natural life-giving foods and adequate hydration helps the mother nurture the child growing within herself and fortify herself for the challenging events to come. A balanced lacto- vegetarian diet rich in calcium, iron and other essential vitamins and minerals is advocated with training in the preparation of soups, salads and sprouts. Foods of the Sattwic nature elevate the mother’s consciousness thus helping to create an uplifting psycho-mental-spiritual inner environment developing the inherent potential of the child in a wonderful manner. Preliminary evidence from various scientific studies supports Yoga's potential efficacy, particularly if started early in the pregnancy.

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Yoga a boon for maternal-child health

  1. 1. YOGA : A BOON FOR MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH CARE Yogacharya Dr. ANANDA BALAYOGI BHAVANANI MBBS, ADY, DSM, DPC, PGDFH, PGDY, FIAY, MD(AM) Chairman: International Centre for Yoga Education and Research (ICYER), Pondicherry, South India www.icyer.com & www.rishiculture.org
  2. 2. PREGNANCY : A SPECIAL TIME INDEED • Pregnancy is a special period of a woman’s life • It is an opportunity for the mother-child bonding that caries on into the whole lifetime • Human pregnancy lasts 40 weeks / 280 days from the LMP- with 3 trimesters • It is time of unique physical, mental & emotional experiences, each day of the whole period. • Smooth pregnancy and a natural childbirth are some of the benefits of Yoga. • It is the creation time of a firm foundation that will last for the whole of the child’s life
  3. 3. • Pregnancy and childbirth is a period of great change for the mother as well as the entire family. • It provides the opportunity to take another look at our life, bring about the necessary changes, and • Finally become a better human being as the result of this entire process that engineers a great sense of joy and confidence in the individual.
  4. 4. RESEARCH FINDINGS ON YOGA FOR MATERNAL-CHILD HEALTH Preliminary evidence supports Yoga's potential efficacy, particularly if started early in the pregnancy.
  5. 5. • Women practicing Yoga in 2nd trimester reported significant reductions in physical pain while women in 3rd trimester showed greater reductions in perceived stress and trait anxiety. (Beddoe AE et al. 2009). • Women who took part in Yoga reported significantly fewer pregnancy discomforts at 38-40 weeks of gestation. They also exhibited higher outcome and selfefficacy expectancies during active stage of labour and 2nd stage of labour. (Sun YC et al. 2009)
  6. 6. • Reduced perceived stress and improved adaptive autonomic response to stress in pregnant women (Satyapriya M et al. 2009) • Higher levels of maternal comfort during labor and 2h post-labor, and less labor pain. Shorter duration of 1st stage labor + total time of labor (Chuntharapat S. 2008) • Alternative therapies -effective for reducing pregnancy-related back and leg pain and nausea and for reducing depression + cortisol levels and associated prematurity rate. Research shows that alternative therapies reduce labour pain and thereby the need for medication (Field T. 2008)
  7. 7. • Occurrence of complications of pregnancy such as PIH, IUGR and pre-term delivery showed lower trends in Yoga group An integrated approach to Yoga during pregnancy is safe. It improves birth weight, decreases preterm labor, and decreases IUGR either in isolation or associated with PIH, with no increased complications (Narendran S et al. 2005) • Yoga information during pregnancy results in reduction in pregnancy discomforts with an improved childbirth self-efficacy. (Sun YC et al. 2009)
  8. 8. TRADITIONAL VIEWS ON PREGNANCY • Garbhopanishad is a treatise on embryology that explains the systematic growth of the embryo in the womb in the 2nd chapter • 3rd chapter of Sushruta Samhita explains – factors that determine the gender of the fetus – prohibited conducts during gestation – development of the fetus in detail – how the embryo feels pain in the same part of its body as the one in which the mother feels
  9. 9. Thirumoolar in Thirumandiram (480) says, “Paigindra vayuk kuraiyir kuralaagum Paigindra vayu villaikkin mudamaagum Paigindra vayu naduppadir koonaagum Paigindra vayuma tharkkillaip paarkkile” Birth Imperfections Explained as When after intercourse, the man is short of breath, infant is born a dwarf; when breath blows feeble, defective limbs occur; when breath halts mid-act, a hunch-back is born; All these apply not, to the woman’s rhythm.
  10. 10. Maadha udharam malamigil mandanaam Maadha udharam jalamigil moongaiyaam Maadha udharam irandokkil kannillai Maadha udharatthil vanda kuzhavikke (Thirumandiram 481) How Deaf, Dumb, and Blind are Born: When at the time of union, the mother’s bowels are heavy, a dullard will be born; if urine exceeds, a dumb child will be born; if both exceed, a blind child will be born; thus is it for the infant born according to the mother’s condition.
  11. 11. VITAL YOGIC TOOLS FOR MATERNAL-CHILD HEALTH • Asanas and loosening practices for healthy functioning of all systems • Pranayama for psycho-somatic harmony and Pranic energisation of every cell of body • Mudras and Bandhas- tone up pelvic musculature and induce a sense of inner wellbeing • Concentration and meditation for inner peace and to develop a deep sense of selfunderstanding • Deep relaxation to promote growth of the baby and facilitate healing at all levels of being
  12. 12. Parivritta Trikona Asana
  13. 13. Bharadwaja Asana
  14. 14. Baddhakona Asana
  15. 15. Supta Baddhakona Asana
  16. 16. Utkat Asana
  17. 17. Vyagraha Pranayama and Chiri Kriya
  18. 18. Eka Pada Uttanpada Asana
  19. 19. Nishpanda Asana
  20. 20. Meru Asana
  21. 21. Looseners & strengtheners for pelvic health
  22. 22. Pranayama • Vibhaga Pranayama • Bhramari Pranayama • Pranava Pranayama • Kukriya Pranayama
  23. 23. Aswini Mudra & Mula Bandha • Improves pre and post natal pelvic muscular tone • Evokes dormant spiritual forces from within • Alleviates urinary & anal incontinence • Helps reduce depression Nada Yoga and Mantra • Chanting helps release tensions • Soothes and calms the mind • Raises the consciousness • Has an extremely positive effect on the inner senses of the mother and the developing child creating a healthy bond though the vibrations.
  24. 24. Proper Diet • Easily digestible, balanced vegetarian diet • Variety of foods can be used to create a healthy diet for the expectant mother. • Diet must be low in fat, sugar and salt • Include more fresh vegetables, fruits, sprouts • Include more vegetable proteins in combinations • include fiber rich foods -whole grain, vegetables, wheat bran, legumes etc • Calcium and iron rich food is important • Include milk shakes, juices, soups and sprouts
  25. 25. Points to Remember • Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water. • Include variety of fruits • Eat small meals at regular intervals rather than large meals after long gaps. • Consumption of alcohol should be avoided. • Smoking is harmful to the growing fetus, • Be Confident, Committed and Creative • Develop a clear vision and clear understanding to overcome the fears about pregnancy
  26. 26. Postnatal Care • Yoga helps to restore the uterus, abdomen and pelvic floor to pre pregnancy levels • Post natal complications can be avoided • Relieves body pain and breast discomfort • Improves milk production. • Stretch marks after delivery is reduced • Yoga makes mothers vibrant with youthful energy of positive optimisim
  27. 27. Concluding thoughts • Indian culture understands and respects mother as 'First God', even before 'Father' and 'Guru'. • It may be said that motherhood is the Ultimate Yoga Sadhana as attainment of motherhood is height of ego-lessness, the goal of spirituality.
  28. 28. • To be such a ‘Mother’, consciously aware of the great spiritual nature of pregnancy and childbirth, our young girls must start Yoga early & continue it into adulthood. • Inculcation of healthy and positive attitudes towards child bearing and child rearing – a firm foundation for producing healthy and spiritually potent children who can transform the future of our planet into a ‘Garden of Eden’.
  29. 29. Thank you

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