Ayurvedic Concept- EMBRYO-FETUS DEVELOPMENT
The embryo-fetus develops inside the uterus. Here is a snap shot of the fetal development over the nine months according to the Sushrut Samhita and the Charak Samhita, the two authoritative texts of Ayurved.
EMBRYO-FETUS DEVELOPMENT-First Month
Sushrut and Charak: The “Kalal” is formed. The “Kalal” is compared to mucus of nose. It means it is likely to be sticky, semisolid and slimy. Even though not manifested or invisible, the “Kalal” possesses all organs, systems and building blocks of development. It can be described as the ultra micro version of a life that is going to manifest later. Like each and everything in the universe, it is made up of the five great elements (the Space, the Air, the Fire, the Water and the Earth) combined together in different proportions.
EMBRYO-FETUS DEVELOPMENT-Second Month
Sushrut and Charak: The Garbha (Embryo) becomes solid. In the presence of the heat produced by the Kapha, Pitta and Vata (the three basic energy sources of body) the Garbha acquires either circular (Pinda) or elongated (Peshi) or semispherical (Arbuda) form. If it is Pinda then Garbha develops into a male. If it is Peshi then it develops into a female. And if it is semi-spherical it becomes neuter gender possessing both male and female characteristics.
EMBRYO-FETUS DEVELOPMENT-Third month
Sushrut: Five minute forms (Pindaka) for hands, feet and head and miniature forms of all body parts develop.
Charak: As all organs, senses and systems start to bloom so does the mind which starts to feel happy or sad. According to Ayurveda, fetal heart comes from the mother. It is being nourished by the mother through Rasavahini Nadi (Umbilical cord and placental nutrition). It establishes a connection between the fetal heart and the mother’s heart. Whatever the fetus wants or feels, it reflects in to mother’s cravings or feelings.
EMBRYO-FETUS DEVELOPMENT-Fourth Month
Sushrut: The minute forms of all body parts become evident (take specific form and shape). As the fetal heart becomes perceivable then Chetanadhatu (presence of soul) becomes evident. The heart is the place or the home of the soul. As the Chetanadhatu is manifested then embryo starts responding to sensory stimuli. That is why pregnant women have cravings (Douhrida). The woman is called Douhridini (with two hearts). It is important to satisfy these cravings for a baby favored with good health and long life to be born.
Charak: In the fourth month, the fetus becomes stable and dense. As the mass of the fetus increases as well as woman starts to feel heavy.
EMBRYO-FETUS DEVELOPMENT- Fifth Month
Sushrut: The mind wakes up or becomes alert.
Charak: Blood and muscle tissues of the fetus enhances. Most of the nutrition goes to nourishing the muscle tissue and the blood.
EMBRYO-FETUS DEVELOPMENT- Sixth Month
Sushrut: The Buddhi (Intellect with the power of grasping and retaining) matures or progresses.
Charak: The fetus continues to become strong and healthy.
EMBRYO-FETUS DEVELOPMENT- Seventh Month
Sushrut: All body parts become more mature and evident.
Charak: The fetus becomes well developed in regards to physical and mental development. The mother looks radiant with the well-nourished and happy fetus inside.
EMBRYO-FETUS DEVELOPMENT- Eighth Month
Sushrut: This month is very crucial. The Oja which is considered to be the purest and finest byproduct of all Dhatus (building blocks of our body loosely called as tissues). Which imparts the vitality and strength to the body. The Oja moves back and forth from the mother to the Garbha and vice versa via the nutritional system (Placenta, umbilical cord). Childbirth may lead to complications for both mother as well as fetus due to unsteady Oja.
The parturition in eighth month is not recommended.
Charak: The Oja moves back and forth from the fetus to the mother and vice- versa through the nutritional system. So sometimes the mother looks happy and energetic when the Oja is in her body. When it moves to the fetus she looks weak and tired. So child birth in the eighth month may be fatal to the mother as well as fetus depending upon the location of the Oja. Mother must be kept away from all stressful or overwhelming stimuli to avoid the labor in the eighth month.
EMBRYO-FETUS DEVELOPMENT- Ninth Month to Twelfth Month
Sushrut / Charak: The ninth month onward is a favorable period for childbirth.
Sushrut Sharirsthana 3-18, 33
Charak Sharirsthana 4-5, 11