Introduction to Healthy conception & pregnancy
Pregnancy has been given critical importance in Ayurveda. The preconceptional period which means the period just before pregnancy has a lot of significance. In simple words, it can be analyzed as the status of the body of the parents getting prepared for the pregnancy is very decisive to get a joyful pregnancy & healthy progeny. To beget a healthy progeny, the health of the couples has to be in good condition at the time of conception. It is said that the healthier the parents are, the healthier the progeny is. The preconceptional period is as important as the antenatal as well as postnatal period. Healthy offspring can be obtained if the reproductive apparatus of the parents is in strong conditions. Particularly the main entities, the ovum & the sperm have to be in their best quality. It is one of the unique specialties of Ayurveda medicine. Ayurveda is a way of living, it has recommendations for your daily diet, activities, body functions like reproductive functions unlike other branches of medicine. By following these principles, it promotes longevity & enhances wellbeing.
What is Beejshuddhi?
Beej shuddhi or the shodhana samskara is the process of attaining the best quality sperm & ovum, by following a certain healthy diet as well as regimen. It is a preconception procedure, which is done even before the actual sexual intercourse. This practice & procedure prepares the body of the couple to have a healthy reproductive system. This can result in the formation of a healthy progeny. Any defect in the reproductive organs, sperm, or ova can result in congenital abnormalities in the fetus.
Pregnancy by choice
Pregnancy should always be by choice & not by accident. Every couple has an immense desire to be a parent. Nowadays, people live a mechanical or robotic life. Stress & worries fill up the days. So, most of the time, pregnancy is not well planned. Planned pregnancy is a very good decision for your baby’s health as well as well-being. It is a way of getting a healthy & intelligent progeny. Ayurveda is not only a medical system, but it has very clear & specific reflections on every aspect of the individual. Physical, psychological, mental, & spiritual parameters. The preconceptional preparatory therapies in Ayurveda points towards longevity & building a healthy future generation.
Healthy conception & Bheejshudhi How can it be attained?
By suitable purificatory therapies, internal as well as external we can achieve Beej shuddhi or the best quality sperm & ova. In Ayurveda, panchakarma plays a vital role in cleansing the reproductive apparatus & helping in the formation of the best quality sperm & ovum. Conception is a complex process involving fertilization of the sperm & ovum followed by its implantation of the embryo in the uterine cavity. It can be simply explained as the process of getting pregnant.
For a successful conception to take place, there should be some contributing factors. Ritu, it can be correlated as the season, or the ovulatory period, kshetra, can be correlated to the uterine cavity, Ambu, can be compared to the ahara rasa, beej, the sperm & ovum. This is compared to the growth of a plant from a seedling by the acharyas. By the proper combination of all these, garbha or the conception occurs in a female.
Before conception for getting healthy offspring, the parents should attain purity of body as well as mind. The reproductive apparatus, circulatory channels, & mental state, should be in harmony for a healthy progeny. In the preconceptonal preparations explained in Ayurveda, the body, as well as the mind, is made prepared to welcome the pregnancy. The deep internal purifications balance the doshas by removing the ama in the body.
Aim of Beej shuddhi
Beej shuddhi aims to get Shudha artava as well as Shudhashukra for the conception. Various detoxification or panchakarma therapies have to be chosen wisely to attain Beej shuddhi
- Healthy offspring
- Educate & create awareness to the couples for a healthy reproductive life.
- Assuring optimum health conditions in the body of the couple.
- Rule out & treat the identified medical conditions before conception.
Factors governing Beej shuddhi
It starts from the selection of the right partners, who are reproductively active & in good health conditions. The seasonal regimen highlighted in Ayurveda as Ritucarya has to be followed. It can be correlated also with the period after menarche, the regimen which has to be followed during the menstruation period & after that. It is advised to avoid heavy work, physical exertion, & all sorts of stressful activities during the menstruating period. It is recommended to maintain good personal hygiene & wellbeing.
Key practices for Beej shuddhi
The intervention before conception is very important for attaining Beej shuddhi. It is a conglomeration of psychological, spiritual as well as physical entities. Physical interventions may be grouped into panchakarma therapies, pranayama, diet & regimen prescribed as per Ayurveda rules. Let us discuss the importance of panchakarma or purificatory therapy first.
The purificatory or detox therapies
It is a combination of Poorva karma, (preliminary therapy), Pradhana karma, main therapy, & the Paschat karma, the post purificatory therapy. The preparatory therapy includes oleation & fomentation. The main therapies include the Vamana, virechana, nasya, & vasti. The couple has to undergo snehana, the internal as well as the external oil therapies, followed by swedana, the fomentation therapy, then the emesis therapy, then the purgation therapy, last but not least the enema therapy, both Anuvasana vasti(nourishing enema )& Asthapana vasti, the purificatory enema. The nasya or nasal therapy removes the vitiated doshas from the upper body segment. It purifies the body channels & enables the normal function of Vata.
The pradhana karma – panchakarma for Bheejshuddhi
Panchakarma eliminates the body toxins by balancing the dosha, dathu, & mala. It enhances the body’s defense mechanism & prevents diseases. By the oil therapies & fomentation therapies, the vitiated doshas or the toxins distributed in different parts of the body gets liquified & are brought towards the main channel. Then by implementing suitable Vamana or virechana therapies they are ready for elimination from the main channels. The type of purification has to be determined by the physician following the Prakriti, strength, season, & dosha status of the couple. It enlightens the body & the mind. It also positively energizes the couple.
For females, Uttara vasti is done to regain uterine strength & power. It purifies the uterine cavity & energizes the uterine structures. It is a very good option for maintaining a healthy reproductive apparatus.
The post procedures
After the above-said therapies, the couple has to follow a satwic as well as organic – wholesome diet for at least 3 months before conception. This preparatory therapy makes the body systems work in harmony.
The diet to be followed
The dietary practices are equally important during the preconceptional period. The diet or regimen will have an impact on the couple’s physiological functions. Food is considered one of the important pillars of life.
For male partners, it is recommended to consume Ghee, milk, green vegetables, cereals, & herbs. All these foods enhance the vitamin- mineral proportion in the body. This in turn impacts the development & nourishment of bodily tissues. So, good quality sperms are produced in the body. The nourishing milk & ghee promote strength & vigor. The sperm quantity, as well as the quality, is greatly improved by following the diet recommendations.
Females are advised to take sesame oil, & black gram. They are a rich source of proteins & provide nourishment to the body tissues. It is best to consume wholesome & balanced food. Sesame oil is best for Vata vitiation. As Vata is the controller & regulator of reproductive functions & fetal delivery, Vata has to be in a balanced condition. It also pacifies the 3 doshas. It purifies the reproductive apparatus. It also corrects the menstruation & ovulatory cycles. It is a strength enhancer & aphrodisiac too.
Likewise, black gram is also a rich source of vitamin b12, calcium, iron, magnesium, & folic acid. These nutrient elements contribute to effective conception.
Contraindicated food & regimen during Bheejshuddhi procedure
The couples intending to be parents should avoid excessive caffeine consumption, avoid alcohol, quit smoking, exposure to X-rays, waking during the night, day sleep, stress, anxiety, tight clothing, & overuse of mobile phones or digital media. The spermatogenesis, as well as the oogenesis, have a great impact on the above-said activities.
It is the very best option to practice yoga during the preconceptional period. It boosts the body’s metabolism & stabilizes mental emotions. Certain yoga postures can be practiced daily at your comfort. It provides a complete physical, mental, emotional & spiritual retreat for the couples.
For females, Shavasana, Vajrasana, Trikonasana, Virsana, Padmasana, & Bhujangasana can improve circulation & muscle tone. It relaxes the abdominal as well as the reproductive muscles. It also boosts reproductive functions by stabilizing Vata. It also reduces fluid retention in the extremities & aid in proper lymphatic drainage.
Pranayama & meditation
The relaxing breathing exercises increase the oxygenation to body cells. It also relieves mental stress or anxiety. It provides sound sleep. It allows the body to heal itself. It can be done daily in a quiet environment. Regular practice enhances the lung capacity of the person.
It is very beneficial to practice meditation daily for 10 minutes. Sit in a comfortable & quiet environment, slowly detach from your thoughts & surroundings. This will detox the mind &invite fresh thoughts. It provides clarity to thoughts & improve the brain functions.
The thoughts & feelings must be very balanced before conception. All the feelings & emotions will influence the body of the baby. Stress or anxiety negatively affect ovulation, spermatogenesis -oogenesis, & fetal development. It causes the imbalance of reproductive hormones estrogen, testosterone & progesterone. It also affects immune responses. It hampers the capacity to reproduce.
Health education, awareness & counseling
Preconceptional counseling can be a great start to a successful pregnancy & uneventful delivery. But most of the time, it is not given so much importance as the prenatal as well as postnatal periods. This is because of the lack of awareness of the preconceptional period. This period is very crucial in a couple’s life. Proper measures taken during this period can prevent so many future complications. There are rising deformities in the fetus or other childhood diseases. The preconception program or the detox therapies can prevent all these complications & deliver a healthy baby. When healthy progenies are delivered, the overall health of the family or the future generation is enhanced. Partners should be educated towards a healthy conception. The importance of diet, activity, & hazards, should be openly shared with them. They should be allowed to share their concerns or any other body diseases without hesitation. They should be given all sorts of support to deliver a healthy progeny. They should be made aware of maintaining a disease-resistant body. It is also a good initiative to spread the benefits of the procedure among the family of friends so that everyone can be befitted through this.
During counseling sessions, the couple is free to open discussions. They can share their worries & get good advice timely. This can reduce anxiety or stress in the future. The common practice is that the stress or the problems are never shared & this causes too much mental problems.
Benefits of Beej shuddhi
- Couples attain good health before conception.
- Any underlying diseases are identified as well as corrected
- Healthy offspring are produced leading to a healthy generation
- Prevention of bodily diseases by boosting body immunity
- It is a holistic rejuvenation for the body, mind & soul
- It cures all body ailments by balancing the dosha, dhatu, & mala.
- It is a safe & very effective therapy devoid of any side effects.
- It improves the health of the community & society.
- If you have any underlying medical conditions, it is advised to treat them first
- Also, consult with your doctor if you are on any medications
- Follow a nutrient-rich diet & drink adequate liquids
- Increase the intake of good fats in the diet, that nourishes the tissues
- Listen & respond wisely to your bodily needs
- Stay calm & patient
- Seek medical advice when required
- All therapies have to be practiced under the medical supervision
- Do the needed physical activity regularly.
- Create awareness & educate the family regarding the benefits of Beejshudhi
- Quit alcohol, tobacco & smoking strictly
- Avoid stressful or panicking situations, as they trigger stress reactions & release the negative hormones
- Avoid strenuous work
- Avoid exposure to extreme climates
- It is best to rely on home-cooked fresh foods
- Quit all processed foods, artificial drinks, & junk foods.