Ayurveda Tips for a Healthy Baby — 4 Important Steps Before You Conceive

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Good parenting begins before a child is even conceived. Ayurveda offers knowledge to help parents enhance the health of their offspring before conception occurs.

Food and Digestion

Sex cells are produced long before intercourse. According to the Ayurvedic texts, it takes six weeks for the entire process of digestion and then the formation of the tissues to take place. Ayurveda outlines seven steps of the digestive process through which all the tissues of the body are formed. The last, the seventh step, is responsible for the formation of the reproductive tissue. All six prior steps need to be balanced and complete in order for the final step to be balanced and complete. For parents to provide balanced, healthy genetic material, attention needs to be paid both to the quality of their digestion and to quality of the food they eat. Ayurveda recommends fresh, organic, cooked foods during this time.

Purification

More and more studies are finding that toxic chemicals are abundant in pregnant mothers – and subsequently in their newborns. Therefore it is essential to detoxify your body before you decide to get pregnant. Prevalent chemicals in pregnant women include pesticides, flame retardants, phthalates (found in many plastics and artificial fragrances), pollution from car exhaust, PFCs used in non-stick cookware, and PCBs, toxic industrial chemicals that were banned in 1979 yet still persist in the environment.

Just recently testing has found high levels of glyphosate in the breast milk of American moms. Glyphosate-containing herbicides are the top-selling herbicides in the world and are sold under trademarks such as Monsanto’s ‘Roundup’. Monsanto’s sales of Roundup jumped 73 percent to $371 million in 2013 because of its increasing use on genetically engineered crops (GE Crops).

These toxicants pose a danger to the health and well being of the child. For example, BPA (an estrogen-like ingredient in plastic) was found in 96% of pregnant women. The Food and Drug Administration has expressed concern that BPA affects both the development of the brain and behavior in children exposed to these toxins both before and after birth.

In addition, many women in their 30’s and 40’s are having a difficult time conceiving because of low amounts of progesterone in their bodies. While this can be a natural result of perimenopause, this can also be due to presence of certain estrogen-mimicking environmental chemicals such as pesticides, plastics, and herbicides. When the body absorbs these, it gets tricked into thinking that estrogen levels are too high and compensates by lowering progesterone levels. Progesterone levels are very important for conception.

Ayurveda recommends undergoing traditional detoxification treatments, called Panchakarma, eight weeks prior to conception. These Ayurvedic purification treatments are available at Ayurveda Health Spas in the US and India. A published study in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Sept/Oct. 2002 showed that a five-day program of Panchakarma resulted in a 50% reduction of blood levels of fat-soluble toxins such as PCBs, DDT and dioxins. Currently modern medicine offers no means of removing these fat-soluble environmental chemicals from the body. The half-life of these chemicals in the human body is thought to be 7 to 11 years. (A half life is the time required for a given substance to fall to half its initial value.)

Once the impurities are removed from the tissues, the body is more able to respond to the dietary and behavioral changes of the parents-to-be.

Behavior

For six weeks following Ayurvedic detoxification treatments it is recommended to follow a pure, organic, vegetarian diet, to abstain from negative influences (like alcohol and cigarettes), to go to bed early, and to practice celibacy. This allows the sperm to become strengthened during the six-week period.

The ideal sequence of steps is to purify the body and then to nourish and build up the tissues. This is the ultimate step in prevention. The best approach to creating a strong, healthy baby is by strengthening the basic material that creates the child.

The Raj, Ayurveda Health Center in Fairfield, IA offers a special 8-week program for couples wanting to conceive a child. The program includes one week of in-residence treatments and individualized diet and life-style recommendations.

For more information, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa web site:

www.theraj.com

How the Health of Your Child May Be More in Your Control Than You Think

This week a news headline caught my eye: “Mother’s Diet Affects Silencing of Her Child’s Genes”. The research, conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, took place in Gambia and showed a clear link between a mother’s diet before she becomes pregnant and the life-long health of her child.

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I’m always excited when I see modern research that underscores knowledge promoted by Ayurveda. For over 20 years The Raj, Ayurveda Health Spa and Treatment Center has been offering a Pre-Conception Program. This program is recommended to begin eight-weeks before parents try to conceive a child. The program begins with Panchakarma, the traditional Ayurveda detoxification and purification treatments, to remove harmful toxins and promote balance in the physiology of the parents. The parents then follow a specific diet, lifestyle changes and herbal supplements recommended by an Ayurveda expert. By the time the child is conceived, an ideal environment has been created from which to create the child and in which to nurture its development.

To me the idea always seemed driven by common sense as much the data on levels of environmental toxins found in wombs and research on specific vitamins and nutrients that support fertility and child development. (See the blog post “Optimizing Fertility with Ayurveda“). But this new research took things to the level of “epigenetics”.

Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene activity that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence. Without altering the underlying DNA sequence, genes can actually be turned off. These epigenetic changes may last through cell divisions for the duration of the cell’s life, and may also last for multiple generations. The press release from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine explained, “While a child’s genes are inherited directly from their parents, how these genes are expressed is controlled through ‘epigenetic’ modifications to the DNA. One such modification involves tagging gene regions with chemical compounds called methyl groups, which results in silencing the genes. The addition of these compounds requires key nutrients including foliate, vitamins B2, B6 and B12, choline and methionine.”

This means that what we eat and how we live our lives can turn off or turn on the genes we are born with. And it can also turn off the genes that we pass on to our children.

One interesting outcome of the study was that what the mother ate before pregnancy was more important than what was eaten while carrying the child. Researcher Andrew Prentice, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “The key message is that a mother’s nutrition before she becomes pregnant is super-critical…There is a lot going on before the moment of conception.”

He also noted that pre-pregnancy diet has been linked to the chemistry of genes involved in obesity, cancer and the immune system and that these early days could shape a child’s chances of everything from developing diabetes in their 40s and 50s to having a heart attack in old age.

This study only focused on the diet of the mother, prior to conception. Ayurveda recommends that both the mother and the father attend to their diet and to the balance of their physiology before trying to conceive a child. Since 50% of the child’s DNA comes from the father, it seems obvious that that too plays an important role in determining the future health of a child.

For more information on the Pre-Conception Program at The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa go to:

http://www.theraj.com

 

 

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