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 Table of Contents  
REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 8-13

A Scientific Exploration of Psychological Development of Fetal Origin in Purview of Ayurveda


1 Department of Rachana Sharir, Ch. Brahm Prakash Ayurved Charak Sansthan, Delhi, India
2 Department of Anatomy, AIIMS, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Kaumarbhritya, Ch. Brahm Prakash Ayurved Charak Sansthan, Delhi, India

Date of Submission11-Jan-2022
Date of Decision14-Mar-2022
Date of Acceptance11-Apr-2022
Date of Web Publication15-Sep-2022

Correspondence Address:
Pooja Sabharwal
Department of Rachana Sharir, Ch. Brahm Prakash Ayurved Charak Sansthan, Delhi - 110 073
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/AYUHOM.AYUHOM_6_22

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  Abstract 


Ayurvedic aspects of the psychological development of the progeny should be studied under two major headings – prenatal and postnatal aspects of development. There are various factors which influence the mental state of the gravida and those will successively affect the fetus. A state of contentment is conducive to the health of the fetus, whereas discontent, exasperation, anxiety, and fear of the gravida will influence the fetus dreadfully. The well-designed maternal regimen with dietetic follow-ups, favorable maternal circumstances along developing a specific psychological force, such as desire and temperamental disposition of the mother gives anticipated results on the fetus in respect of its constitution, complexion, sex, and its psychological makeup. The aim and objectives of this study were to understand the Ayurvedic aspects of psychological and temperamental makeup of progeny, to explore the factors influencing the psychological development of progeny as per classical and contemporary science, and to suggest protocol to achieve appropriate psychological health of progeny. Ayurvedic literature and contemporary science on the subject of Garbhavakranti (embryology) were explored and physiological bases for prenatal child development were studied in detail, data obtained were critically analyzed and presented. Ayurvedic literature related to genetics and epigenetics advocates that conglomeration of mainly four procreative factors, i.e., Atmaja (~soul), Rasaja (~nutritional), Satmyaja (~wholesomeness), and Satvaja (~psyche), play a vital role in the appropriate psychological development of the fetus, during the prenatal period. Proper preconception and prenatal counseling, along with good antenatal care and a suitable mode of conduct of mother and father, have a major role in achieving appropriate psychological health of progeny.

Keywords: Dauhrida Avastha, Garbhavakranti, Matrija bhava, Pragyaparadh, Satvaja bhava


How to cite this article:
Diwedi N, Sabharwal P, Dada R, Bhoyar B. A Scientific Exploration of Psychological Development of Fetal Origin in Purview of Ayurveda. AYUHOM 2022;9:8-13

How to cite this URL:
Diwedi N, Sabharwal P, Dada R, Bhoyar B. A Scientific Exploration of Psychological Development of Fetal Origin in Purview of Ayurveda. AYUHOM [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Oct 7];9:8-13. Available from: http://www.ayuhom.com/text.asp?2022/9/1/8/356171




  Introduction Top


The mental health of an individual is a topic of major concern, especially in this pandemic period, as this COVID-19 pandemic has affected people in various ways and created chaos among them. The impact of this dreadful situation on the mental state of pregnant women can lead to the improper psychological makeup of the fetus. Pregnancy being a fortunate instance for the mother and family, can lead to undesirable consequences because of certain errors of nature and the inappropriate lifestyle of the mother. In Ayurveda, it has been well explained by Acharyas that in the intrauterine life, there is a constant relationship of a fetus with the mother for both physical-psychological growth and nourishment.

The milieu of gravida, as well as the conduct of the mother, has a profound effect on the psychological development of the fetus. The fetus entirely depends on maternal nutrition for its nourishment. The intrauterine period is very crucial for fetal development and health outcome later in the life of progeny. Inadequate fetal nutrition may land up to intrauterine growth restriction,[1] abortion, and fetal abnormalities, whereas “the quality of maternal diet during her gestational period has a positive association with the neurological and cognitive development of the child.”[2]

The unification of Shukra (sperm) and Shonit (ovum) along with the Jeeva (soul) inside the Kukshi (womb) is entitled the Garbha (fetus).[3]

The concept of Shadgarbhakar Bhava (six procreative factors), i.e., Matrija (maternal), Pitrija (paternal), Atmaja (soul), Rasaja (nutritional), Satmyaja (wholesomeness), and Satvaja (psyche), have been well explained in Ayurveda.[4]

Garbhinicharya (mode of conduct of gravida) has been explained by Acharyas, if Garbhini (gravida) follows the proper diet and daily regimen along with normalcy of Shadgarbhakar Bhava (six procreative factors) influenced by the time factor, the offspring grows appropriately in the Garbhashaya (uterus).[5]

Garbhaposhana (fetal nourishment) aided by Apara (placenta) and Nabhi-Nadi (umbilical cord) has been beautifully described in classical literature. The nutrition of the fetus (Rasaja bhava) during the intrauterine period depends on maternal nutrition.[6],[7]

“A sound mind in a sound body” emphasizes the significance of mental well-being in health, Acharya Sushruta, has counted the pleasant and happy state of Mana (~mind), Atma (soul), and Indriya (~senses) as major components of Swastha (health).[8]

Psychological, emotional, and social well-being come under the consideration of mental health. It influences the attitude toward various situations and also determines how the individual handles stress, responds to an adverse event, and makes choices. Mental health is the foremost concern at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Various factors contribute to psychological impairment, including genes, brain chemistry and other biological factors, family history of mental illness or psychological abnormality, and various adverse experiences of the individual (trauma or abuse).[9]

Aim and objective

  • To understand the Ayurvedic aspects of psychological and temperamental makeup of progeny
  • To explore the factors influencing the psychological development of progeny as per classical and contemporary science
  • To suggest a protocol for achieving appropriate psychological health of progeny.



  Materials and Methods Top


This was a pure literary study in which the classical literature of Ayurveda and contemporary science on the subject of Garbhavakranti (Embryology) and Mana (~psyche) were explored from the library of my parent institute and physiological bases for prenatal child development have been studied in detail with its modern psychological views for which other relevant sources were used. Data obtained were critically analyzed and presented.

Ayurvedic aspects of the psychological development of progeny should be studied under two major headings

  1. Prenatal aspects of psychological development of progeny
  2. Postnatal aspects of psychological development of progeny.


Prenatal aspects of psychological development of progeny

Preconceptional preparation

Anatomically, physiologically, and psychologically, women are designed to conceive, develop, and deliver a healthy progeny.

For the appropriate development of fetus, marriage and conception should be at the proper age of the mother. All Acharyas have mentioned the ideal age of female to conceive, and Acharyas Charak has well explained the fact that if a female at the age below 16 years is impregnated by a male below 25 years, either the woman will not conceive or she will have intrauterine death or the delivered baby will be of shorter life span and different kind of illness and deformities can occur.[5] Advanced maternal age, i.e., more than 35 years, is associated with aneuploidy such as trisomy 13, 18, and 21.[10]

Abnormal Bija (Gametes), Atmakarma (one's own deeds), Ashaya (Uterus), Kala (Ovulation-period), Ahaar (Diet) Vihaar (Mode of conduct) of mother, vitiated Doshas cause abnormalities in the progeny, which affects appearance, complexion, and Indriyas (~Senses).[11] The mental well-being of a couple during cohabitation has a major impact on the temperament of the child. As their relationship must have respect, empathy, harmony, compassion, and love for each other.[12]

Modern epigenetic research suggests that stress measured by cortisol levels impacts gene expression in the early stage of embryogenesis.[12]

  1. Prenatal aspects of psychological development of progeny.


Acharyas have described that there are various factors that play a role in appropriate mental makeup and psychological development of the fetus during intrauterine life, which includes – Shadgarbhakar Bhava (Six procreative factors), mainly Atmaja (Soul), Satvaja (Psyche), Satmyaja (Wholesomeness), and Rasaja (Nutritional).[4]

Atmaja Bhava

Sense organs and their perceptivity, spiritual knowledge, material knowledge, life, pressure, pain, etc., are the elements of Atmaja Bhava.[13]

People differ from each other in psycho-metaphysical aspects during their life span, in spite of being born in the same family, birth time, and got the same nutrition and environment during their growth period. Exactly the same initial pathological elements cause different diseases in a different individual, disease occurs quickly in some, whereas in others, there is a long latency period; here, Ayurveda gives a valid reason for the occurrence of such unpredictable events. The concept of Daiva and Purushakara have been well explained in classical literature.[14],[15]

The effect of deeds of the previous life is known as Daiva. The effect of deeds of the present life is known as Purushakara. If Daiva is unrighteous, an individual suffers in the present life; although Daiva is righteous, the individual enjoys a healthy life.[16] Idiopathic, unexplained, and indigenous factors come under Atmaja Bhava.

In Ayurveda, the concept of Atma (soul) in embryological and anatomical perspective has its own significance, as the transmigration of the soul from one body to another and alliance of Atma at the time of conception of a Garbh (embryo) have been beautifully explained in Ayurveda literature.

Daiva (Deeds of previous life): The process of transmigration of Jiva (soul) from one body to another body is synchronized in accordance with the Daiva.[17]

Sattvaja Bhava (psyche/mind) – Affection, impolite or polite nature, character, transparency, aversion, mindfulness, memory, confusion, sacrifice, suspiciousness, courageousness, anxiety, rage, profoundness, enthusiasm, fiery, and unsteadiness.[11]

Acharyas regarded Satva (psychic factor) as one of the major factors in determining if individual's temperament. Acharya Charak has described, Satva or the psyche factor is considered a link between the amalgamation and assemblage of various procreative factors. In the process of transmigration of the soul from one body to another, the mind plays a very significant factor.[18]

As it influences the attainment of all cognitive functions. According to Acharyas, it is the main linking force in the development of the fetus or it is associated with the individual just from the very beginning of embryonic life, in fact Satva (psyche) carries its influence from the preembryonic stage to the fetus, as well as performs a certain role in the embryonic stage too.

Psychosomatic temperaments of both the parents, milieu in which the mother lives and the impressions she receives during her pregnancy and the influence of one's own previous birth deeds and temperamental deposition of previous life, are the factors that determine the psychological makeup of progeny.[19]

In contemporary sciences, it is well recognized that maternal and paternal factors play an important role in the determination of individual personality traits by means of heredity; in Ayurveda, these factors are described as Garbhotpatti Bhava. Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine that is already given the theory which says that Satva (psyche) of gravida plays a significant role in the development of the fetus and psychological traits of an individual are, to some extent, the outline of mental dispositions of the mother and father. The meticulous nature of the mechanism is difficult to elucidate, Acharya Chakrapani well answered this as – “it happens through the phenomenon of Prabhava (~Impact/Influential-potential)” – it is beyond the compass of scientific exposition.[20]

It has been proven by modern genetics through its zealous efforts that some of the psychological traits are also sealed in genes and hereditary factors also influence the psychological development of an individual.[21] It is still a challenge for modern scientists to discover the process of transiting the temperamental traits of the parents into the progeny takes place. Whereas in Ayurveda, the concept of Prabhava (Impact/Influential-potential) gives a better explanation for the phenomenon of passing psychological traits from parents to progeny.[20]

A fetus is exposed to everything that gravida experiences during her pregnancy period, the feeling of happiness and calmness give a positive impact on the psychological health of the fetus, whereas depression, anxiety, jealousy, anger, etc., negative emotions can cause abnormal maternal hormonal variation which might affect the physical and psychological development of a fetus. The way a mother behaves during her pregnancy period inevitably influences the psychological development of the fetus. In Ayurveda, it has been beautifully explained that the mental status of the mother at the time of conception and during pregnancy has a deterministic influence on the psychological constitution of the progeny. Acharya Charak has mentioned that the psychology of the mother at the time of conception has a significant role in teratological abnormalities, as during conception, whichever living creature or animal the woman thinks of, so will be the child.[22] The inspiration and expiration of breath, emotional blues, desires, and dreams of the mother can affect the fetus.[23]

The concept of “Dauhrida Avastha” of Garbhini (gravida) is well explained in classical text, in which pregnant woman desires particular things. This is an evident manifestation of the Sattvaja Bhava. Suppression of desires of the Dauhridini (pregnant woman) may cause psychological impairment in the fetus.

Acharya Charaka has described that during the 3rd month of intrauterine life of the fetus, all the sense organs emerge together, at that point of time, “Satva” begins to function. Sense of Vedana (sense of pleasure and grief) in Manas (psyche) of the Garbha (embryo) get well established, attributable to the emergence of Indriyas (senses), and the fetus begins to yearn for things or events in accordance with the impression received in a previous life, the whole phenomenon is known as “Dauhrida-avastha.”[24],[25] This phase of fetal life has a deterministic role in the psychological constitution of a fetus, as transference of wishes of the fetus to the “Hrudaya” of the mother takes place and appears in the form of desires of the mother during her pregnancy period. Acharya Charak gave the physiological explanation of this phenomenon, as during the antenatal period inclination of the fetus conveyed to the Hrudaya of the mother through a nourishing channel. Any negligence or failure of fulfillment of desires of “Dauhurdani” can end up to some of the adverse consequences on the physical and psychological development of the fetus. It has been advised by Acharyas that the desires of “Dauhrudani” should be fulfilled to avoid adverse consequences and to deliver a physically and psychologically healthy child. Ignorance or refusal to desires of “Dauhrudani” may lead to many physical deformities such as lameness, defective vision, blindness, or psychological impairment.[24] Acharya Charak has explained the desires of “Dauhrudani” in the context of “Purva-janama-krit-karma,” and gave the indication of the future personality traits of the coming baby.[25]

Acharya Sushruta has also given an indication of some of the future traits of the personality of the coming child. These Douhrda cravings of the mother have been linked by Sushruta with the Purvakarma (previous deeds).[26]

The concept of “Douhrda-avastha” for modern embryologists and physiologists is very new and different, and modern science has recognized the fact that the whole organism remains in the stage of strain during intrauterine life. As it is a very delicate phase of life, the small unfavorable factor is sufficient to shift toward the direction of deformity in psychic aspects of progeny. Hence, the milieu of gravida influences the mental state of the mother and subsequentially the psychological development of fetal origin.

Acharyas have described three types of Satva (psyche), which are named, Satvika, Rajasik, and Tamasik and the individual gets the same dominant type Satva (psyche) in its next birth, in accordance to a previous life. It conveys that the dominant type of Satva of this life will definitely influence the psychological makeup of an individual in his/her next life.

The concept “Purvajanma-krita-karma” could be better understood as a preembryonic stage of life. “Jatismara”– Individual possessed of “Suddha satva,” i.e., Satvika satva (righteously wise), in his or her previous life, he or she can recall the past incarnation as well.[20]

Satmyaja bhava (wholesomeness)

Well-planned maternal diet and regimen are absolute essentials for the appropriate development of the Garbha (fetus). The Satmyaja Bhava is accountable for awarding good health, dynamism, serenity, self-restrained frame of mind, quality of voice, skin texture, reproductive health, etc.[11]

Satmya (wholesomeness) “practicing of such things, which do not create any harm to the body, even though those qualities are different from one's own constitution. The agreeable and acceptable presence of these various factors bring out the suitability for a new life and it is called Satmya for the Garbha (fetus).

There are three types of Satmya described in classical texts – Kalasatmya, Deshasatmya, and Sahaja.[16]

Kalasatmya – Proper time of Gharbhadhana-sanskara has been described by Acharyas for achieving a healthy progeny. Any lag in this, such as improper time, season, and age of conception, can cause harm to the progeny by creating epigenetic changes.

Deshasatmya – Some specific diseases are more common to the population of a particular region.

Sahaja – Particular tribal groups of India have their distinctive genetic makeup. Hence, these people suffer from specific health problems and genetic disorders.

Aloluptvam (~nongreedy), Medha (~intelligence), Santosham (~contentment), etc., various psychological traits of the child are governed by Satmyaja Bhava.

Rasaja Bhava (nutritional factors) – Sharira-abhinirvritti (~origin of the body), Sharira-abhivriddhi (~growth), Tripti (~satisfaction), Pushti (~nourishment), Utsaha (~enthusiasm), Alolyum (~contentment), Buddhi (~wisdom), Sharira-upachaya (~physic), Sthiti (~maintenance), Bala (~strength), and Hani (~decay).[11]

The nutritional status of gravida has a major role in achieving healthy progeny, as the fetus receives its nutrition from the mother through the process of upasneha (absorption/postfertilization) and upasweda (Histotrophic-transfer/postimplantation) during intrauterine life.[27] Acharya Sushruta and Charak have mentioned month-wise dietetics for the mother during her pregnancy period to deliver the requirements of the fetus for its appropriate physical and psychological development.

Tripti (~satisfaction), Utsaha (~enthusiasm), Alolyum (~contentment), Buddhi (~wisdom), etc.,[4] psychological traits of progeny are governed by Rasaja Bhava.

Postnatal aspects of psychological development of progeny

Childhood is a very crucial period and there are a lot of things to take into consideration to achieve ideal development. Broadly, three stages of childhood development are:[28]

  • Early childhood – from birth to 8 years of life (the newborn, infant, toddler, and preschool age)
  • Middle childhood – from 8 to 12 years of life
  • Adolescence – from 12 to 18 years of life.


Physical, linguistic, cognitive, and social emotional are major domains of development of the child, factors that influence these attributes are comprised as postnatal determinants for psychological traits of the child. The environment in which a child grows, socioeconomic status of the family, cross-cultural differences, religious beliefs, sociological concepts, etc., are major factors, which play a vital role in the physical and psychological development of the child.


  Discussion Top


There are various factors, which influence the mental state of the gravida and that will successively affect the fetus. Depression and anxiety of the mother will be transferred to the fetus and will later hamper the psychological health of the progeny. Emotional stress during the gestational period is associated with child stress responsiveness, which influences mother–child interface up to preschool age.[29]

The well-designed maternal regimen with dietetic follow-ups, favorable maternal circumstances along developing a specific psychological force, such as desires during Dauhurda-avastha and temperamental disposition of the mother gives anticipated results on the fetus in respect of its constitution, complexion, sex, and its psychological makeup. Physiological bases for prenatal child development should be studied in detail with its modern psychological views.[12]

The concept of Pragyaparadh (~intellectual error)[30] is beautifully described by Acharya Charaka-due to impaired Dhee (~intellect), Dhriti (~memory), and Buddhi (~wisdom), individual performs actions which give negative impacts on his/her body and mind, known as Pragyaparadh (intellectual error). Pragyaparadh (intellectual error) leads to aggravation of all doshas and makes the body susceptible to various diseases. The importance of mental health of an individual can be explained in a better way with the concept of Pragyaparadh (intellectual error), as numerous diseases can occur due to this. Pragyaparadh (intellectual error) of the mother during her pregnancy and ever before (preconception) and after (postnatal period) that influence physical and psychological health of progeny. Mother should avoid negative emotions such as Shoka (grief), Krodha (anger), Bhaya (fear), and Udvega (anxiety). In pregnancy, and should identify and track positive emotions to attain appropriate psychological health of the fetus.

The association of abnormal brain growth of the fetus with the adverse maternal hormonal environment during the intrauterine period, has been well proven by various studies.[31]

The milieu in which gravida lives has a major impact on the psyche of a child; therefore, she should be surrounded by empathetic and warm-hearted human beings, and receive tender love and care from them. Preconception and antenatal counseling have great importance, and counseling should be done in the appropriate manner.


  Conclusion Top


Ayurvedic classical literature related to genetics and epigenetics advocates that conglomeration of mainly four procreative factors (Satmyaja, Atmaja, Satvaja, and Rasaja bhavas), play a vital role in the appropriate psychological development of a fetus, during the prenatal period. Satmyaja bhava and Rasaja Bhava are profoundly influenced by the mother, Atmaja Bhava is exclusively relied on an individual (progeny) and Satvaja Bhava depends on Satva both parents, psychological state of the mother during pregnancy and Daiva (one's own deeds of previous life). Any lag in these factors may affect abnormally the psychological makeup-up in progeny. Proper preconception and prenatal counseling, along with good antenatal care and a suitable mode of conduct of mother and father, have a major role in achieving appropriate psychological health of progeny.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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