Grown-ups take lessons for unborns

Posted on January 17, 2011 by Curtis Williams

Published: Sunday, Jan 9, 2011, 13:20 ISTBy Divya Mangwani | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

Learning is a life-long process and there are many who believe that it begins right from the moment the baby is conceived. Hoping to get a head start, many to-be parents in the city are teaching their unborn babies while still in the womb. Garbha Sanskar is a Vedic concept used to impart good principles and values to the foetus.

The parents are also taught the power of positive thinking as it is deemed to have an effect on the unborn child. Today, childbirth is an informed process and along with the ancient methods, modern concepts are being used to get a healthy baby.

Doctors who conduct pre-natal and Lamaze (technique which believes women have a right to give birth free from routine medical interventions) classes believe in educating the mothers and preparing them for childbirth. Gynaecologist Dr Jyothi Unni says, “We teach the mother to take care of herself and her diet, inform her about labour and delivery, which helps her take care of the baby.”

Dr Anagha Pai Raiturkar holds exercise sessions in her pre-natal classes which has not only physical benefits for the pregnant mothers but also acts as a mood elevator by releasing endorphins. The doctor who believes that positive thinking is important says, “The foetus responds to positive vibrations which can help it develop into a positive person,” she says. Dr Unni says babies in the womb respond to stimulations and sensations but is wary of believing that they can be educated and taught values. “I’m a scientist and need substantial evidence to understand and believe in the concept,” she says.

Mother of six-and-a-half-month old Siddhanth, Arati Lahoti, who had registered for pre-natal classes, says, “If you have faith, it has to work.” Her son is calmer, more active and is already learning to walk and explore the world around him.

Gajanan S Kelkar, executive trustee of Manashakti Kendra, which conducts workshops to educate about various stages of pregnancy in Lonavla, believes in Vedic science of Garbha Sanskar. He has two distinct concepts regarding the foetus: separate existence and consciousness from the moment of conception. “The idea is to change the parents’ thinking so that they will have a considerate and good natured child that immediately adapts to their environment,” he says. He attributes the heightened sensitivity and sharpness of the new born to the education it has been subjected to in the womb.

Mythological stories reaffirm the ideology of Garbha Sanskar, dating its origin from the Garbha Upanishads. The Mahabharata tells of Abhimanyu, who mastered the Chakravyuha (a strategic battle tactic) while still in the womb by listening to Krishna recite the technique to his pregnant mother.

On the other hand, scientific studies show that the foetus can be stimulated by the different senses of touch, taste and hearing and recall them after birth. A study carried out in the Netherlands at the turn of the century proved that babies can recognise and remember sounds while still in the womb. Now, music therapy is regularly used to make the child calmer even after birth and to assist in its overall development.

Dr Jayashree Suryavanshi, who holds Garbha Sanskar workshops in the city, uses CDs with selected ragas of Indian classical music and different mantras in the sessions. “Music helps the mother rein in her stress and fears and helps her think and feel positive which is important for the foetus,” she says.

Whether a believer or a sceptic of the ideology, one thing that all doctors agree on is that the father’s involvement is essential during the pregnancy classes. “It is important for the father to know his role and connect with the baby right from the womb,” says Suryavanshi.

Sanjana Jamdade’s husband Santosh was always by her side during her pre-natal classes and conversed with the foetus regularly. Sanjana, whose seven-month-old baby Siya is close to her father, says, “My baby recognised my husband immediately.”

Raiturkar says learning can’t be measured. “Nobody can teach you to be a parent; it’s a constant learning process. The love and care you give a child will ensure it grows up to become a better human being.”

Read the original article at Daily News and Analysis

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