What are pregnancy hormones in the first trimester?
The word “hormone” is derived from the Greek word “hormon,” which means “to urge on or that which sets in motion”. Simply put, a lot of things are being switched on inside your body to aid the development of the baby.
The side effects are changes to heart and kidney function, increases in body fat and fluid retention, changes in skin and psychological changes, as well as the obvious changes to the uterus and breasts. All the organs are being asked by this messenger, called ‘hormone’ to increase their pace of work to help with the pregnancy and the development of the baby.
These hormones create several mood issues. Progesterone, for instance, causes irritability. That can lead to issues with relationships, an unexplained need to cry. This could raise the pregnant woman’s stress, anxiety and overall mood.
What happens when a pregnant woman is stressed?
You might ask - how can we even measure stress? Well, it can be measured by the level of hormones in the mum’s body. When a mother is stressed, a hormone called cortisol is released. When the baby receives this hormone on a continuous basis, it makes some changes in areas of the infant brain associated with emotional development.
A research team led by the University of Edinburgh showed that levels of cortisol are linked to the development of the baby's amygdala, an area of the brain known to be involved in emotional and social development in childhood.
Doctors say this could explain why children whose mothers experienced high levels of stress during pregnancy may be more likely to have emotional issues in later life.
Garbh Sanskar is a set of practices that prepare the mum’s body and mind to be the ideal home for the baby.
The Right Garbh Sanskar Music
When you discover you are pregnant, make a playlist of holy songs and chants. Play them as you go about your chores. If you are tempted to listen to music that is loud and harsh, remind yourself that listening to notes of classical music are giving your brain calming waves. That is producing happy hormones in your body that are crossing the placenta and reaching the baby.
The musical notes and rhythmic cycles of Indian classical music are woven to a scientific pattern. They are based on times of the day and changing seasons. Hence, they have a special effect on the human mind.
Each raaga has a structure and within which there is freedom to make hundreds of compositions. It is the beauty of mathematics in music.
So, gift your baby the right music.
Eat Satvik Foods
As per Ayurveda, there are three kinds of states that are fuelled by three kinds of foods:
Sattva: This is the highest guna, representing balance and harmony. Consider it the best state!
Rajas: This guna represents activity and movement. Over-indulgence leads to a stage of hyperactivity.
Tamas: This is the base guna. It's associated with pessimism, weakness, and negativity.
Satvik food generates satvik vibrations and Sattva component attracts what is known as the Chaitanya-shakti. A Sattvic person is always in a mental state of calm, clarity and harmony. The person is such that external ups and downs don’t affect him or her much. They have a strong focus, concentration and have a creative bent. They do not obsess with problems but look, boldly, for solutions.
As per Garbh Sanskar, Satvik food builds the above qualities in the foetus.
Pungent and oily food falls in the tamasik category; whereas, sour, salty or astringent food falls in the rajasik category.
A few tips for a Satvik diet in the first trimester:
- Have soaked raisins. Also, have almonds and pistachios.
- Expose yourself to direct sunlight for at least 15 minutes to get sufficient vitamin D
- Eat breakfast accompanied by porridges, cereals, boiled eggs, and dry nuts, especially almonds. Make it a point to include milk.
- Start the lunch with a salad made of fresh vegetables. Carrots, tomatoes, and green vegetables are a good option as they are a high source of vitamins.
- Followed by wheat bread (chapatti), rice, cooked vegetables (sabzi), and pulses.
- Have Vitamin C rich fruits like Gooseberries (Amla), Guava and Oranges.
- Add green leafy vegetables and other vegetables to your daily diet, either as cooked veggies or kneaded into roti atta/mixed with dosa dough.
- Ghee is considered to be nourishing, unctuous and soft. It softens and strengthens the internal organs, increases Buddhi (Intelligence) and Smriti (memory). It also boosts immunity.
- Have cow's milk and curd and butter made from it.
- Satvik vegetables are Brinjals, Potatoes, Cabbages, Spinach, Tomatoes, Cucumber, Pumpkin, Cauliflower, Lady fingers.
- For your carbohydrate needs, you can have wheat, red rice, unpolished rice, and barley.
- For protein, pack in green gram, Bengal gram, moong, peanuts, Cereals.
Meditation helps in relaxation and re-centering. The investment you make in just shutting out the external world and focussing on your body is a must-do in Garbh Sanskar. It will bring you inner peace and also increase your concentration.
Many studies have proven that mindfulness achieved through meditation leads to positive emotions in the mum. How can you meditate?
Just set aside a fixed time. During that, either play calming music and visualise your baby growing and blooming like a flower. Or, follow a guided meditation track.
Remember, only daily practice can bring about a change.
Abhyanga simply means a head to the toe massage with warm herb-infused oil. It can be done on one’s own body. You can use warm coconut/sesame oil or look for herbs you can mix with these carrier oils. You can mix bhringraj, guduchi, tulsi, and neem (if you have excess ‘pitta’).
Abhyanga is a form of self love that gives you stability and warmth.
In a study, participants filled a stress-related questionnaire and had their heart rate measured before and after Abhyanga. The researchers found that, after the massage, the participants’ subjective stress levels and heart rate decreased.
In pregnancy, aches, pains and stiffness is common. Abhyanga is good for flexibility and increases mobility by loosening shortened, tight muscles.
Abhyanga is best done at night, followed by a warm shower.
Keep the Home Environment Happy and Peaceful
In a study, it was found that approximately 10–35% of pregnant women showed symptoms of depression. Pregnancy is a tough time for relationships. During pregnancy, couples experience stress caused by various pregnancy-related concerns such as anxiety about the delivery, worries about the health of the foetus, and spousal changes in emotion.
As per Garbh Sanskar, it is important that the husband and wife maintain good communication, face issues together, invest in spiritual time together and resolve family issues instead of ignoring them.