In India, out of 27 million babies born every year (2010 data), 3.5 million babies born are premature.
“The life of living things is food; the entire world seek food, complexion, clarity, good voice, long life, understanding, happiness, growth, intelligence etc. are all because of food.” – Charak Samhita
Food sustains us. So neglecting food will trigger several unforeseen consequences in body. Some appears instantly and some take time. Some consequences are passed as legacy to next generation.
To avoid passing our weaknesses to next generation, Ayurveda focuses more on pregnant woman’s diet.
Pregnancy period is very special time for any female’s life.
गर्भिणी is a special state of female’s life. And since it is the state that sustains the link to the next generation, special emphasis is given on certain points which are ignored by modern medicine. Modern medicine is reductionist and only focuses on nutrient-level care. They are hardly prescribe anything to take care of प्राण & मन of Gabhini and the garbha.
Preterm birth is a leading cause of neonatal death and is associated with cognitive deficiencies and cardiometabolic problems later in life among survivors.
In Ayurveda, monthly diet is advocated. Milk and milk derivatives are glorified. Milk is deemed as total food. Ghee is not mere fat but प्राणपोषक, प्राणवाहक that helps in defect-free tissue formation. It actually helps unveiling best genes out of all available parental genes. Ghee also plays critical role in formation of nervous system. It is full of Vitamin A (Only when ghee is prepared by manual churning method that maintains optimum temperature, to not to break delicate nutrients under heat).
First Trimester: This is a formative stage. स्थापन समय. The way rice saplings take time to establish in land full of water, this 3 months are गर्भ-स्थापन time. Lipid play essential role. Ghee. Medicated ghee is prescribed. Which herb to use during this period?
What is the state of would-be mother?
- She is under stress
- She remains anxious and excited
- There will be rapid changes in Vata
So, अश्वगंधा घृत (ghee prepared using withania somnifera) is prescribed. 1 tea spoon , twice daily with hot milk.
Second Trimester: This is the time when body’s rasa and rakta are formed profusely. Heart is developed. Heart is seat of Prana. Ghee plays role here too but this beyond modern medicine’s understanding. Curds with rice and ghee to be consumed. During fifth and sixth month, mental faculties are developed where milk play role in making of mind.
Third trimester: 6th month is when memory is developed. Intellect and power of perception is developed. Here too ghee play a role.One should consume ghee with rice judiciously. (Rice should be non-polished.) This continues till the delivery.
In summary, ghee play critical role in every stage of child development. Unfortunately, we no more treat cows as mother and hence all these miracle benefits are gone. If we consider children as our future, our nation’s future, world’s future, we must make sure that enough ethically procured milk and ghee is available to pregnant women across all shades of society.
Let us see what modern medicine has to say:
Low plasma levels of omega-3 fatty acids associated with preterm birth
Pregnant women who had low plasma levels of long ardhain n-3 fatty acids in their first and second trimesters were at a significantly higher risk of early preterm birth when compared with women who had higher levels of these fatty acids, according to new research from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in collaboration with Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen. The study suggests that low concentrations of certain long chain fatty acids—eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (EPA+DHA)—may be a strong risk factor for preterm birth.
“At a time when many pregnant women are hearing messages encouraging them to avoid intake of fish altogether due to mercury content, our results support the importance of ensuring adequate intake of long chain omega-3 fatty acids in pregnancy. Consumers should consult the guidance issued last year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency to make informed choices about the best types of fish to consume and avoid in pregnancy,” said lead author Sjurdur F. Olsen, adjunct professor of nutrition at Harvard Chan School and head of the Centre for Fetal Programming at Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The study was published online August 3, 2018, in EBioMedicine.
Preterm birth is a leading cause of neonatal death and is associated with cognitive deficiencies and cardiometabolic problems later in life among survivors. For decades, it has been hypothesized that high intake of EPA+DHA, which is found in cold-water fish such as Atlantic mackerel, anchovies, salmon, and tuna and also in leaner species such as cod and haddock, can reduce the risk of preterm birth. While some studies have supported this hypothesis, research findings have been inconsistent.
For this new study, researchers examined data from the Danish National Birth Cohort, a nationwide study that follows 96,000 children in Denmark through questionnaires and registry linkages. They analyzed blood samples from 376 women who gave birth very prematurely (prior to 34 weeks of gestation) between 1996 and 2003 and 348 women who had a full-term birth. All of the women gave blood samples during their first and second trimesters of pregnancy.