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January 1995

On High Waves

Sayings of a Paramahamsa
Paramahamsa Satyananda

Years Ago - In 1979 (Munger)
Paramahamsa Satyananda

The Nine Forms of Bhakti
Paramahamsa Niranjanananda

The Role of Bhramari in Pregnancy
Dr. (Mrs.) Vibha Singh

Yoga and AIDS - Related Diseases
Swami Pragyamurti Saraswati

Bend with the Wind
Paramahamsa Niranjanananda

Sivananda Math - Its Growth & Development

I Have Made It
Paramahamsa Niranjanananda



The Role of Brahmari in Pregnancy

Dr. (Mrs.) Vibha Singh
Sadar Hospital, Munger
under the guidance of Paramahamsa Niranjanananda.

Introduction

For the successful maintenance of pregnancy, it is essential that the various hormones produced by the endocrinal glands remain controlled, balanced and regulated throughout pregnancy. Any hormonal imbalance at any time in pregnancy may lead to miscarriage, abortion, pre-term delivery, antepartum haemorrhage, hypertension, eclampsia and other complications. Anxiety and tension in the pregnant mother regarding the outcome of pregnancy and childbirth may also disturb the hormonal balance and aggravate the complications of pregnancy and childbirth, as well as leading to complications like hypertension, insomnia anorexia and malnutrition. For safe motherhood and the proper growth and development of the baby, it is essential that the expectant mother remains happy and free from anxiety throughout pregnancy. In the existing family and social environment, however, this is usually very difficult.

Similarly, the whole process of childbirth is also regulated by the combined neuroendocrinal system of the body. Brahmari pranayama vibrates the whole brain. Vibration of the cerebral cortex sends impulses to the hypothalamus which has the capacity to control the pituitary gland- the master of all glands. In this way, brahmari done regularly for only a few minutes daily throughout pregnancy keeps the endocrinal system regulated to maintain the pregnancy successfully. The hypothalamus also sends impulses to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Thus, brahmari done during pregnancy and the first stage of labour tunes the whole neuro-endocrinal system to function in a harmonious and synchronised way, and may facilitate easy and trouble-free childbirth.

It is an established fact that brahmari done for a few minutes daily can alleviate anxiety and tension. Vibration of the brain sends impulses to the reticular formation which eliminates anxiety and improves the mood, behaviour and personality, so that the expectant mother may take care of her health and nutrition, leading to proper growth and development of the foetus. During labour, elimination of anxiety makes the mother co-operative and less apprehensive, thus facilitating easy delivery.

With these facts in mind, a study was conducted in the antenatal clinic and labour room of the district hospital in Munger into the effects of brahmari on the successful maintenance of pregnancy, trouble-free childbirth and the delivery of a physically and mentally healthy child.

Material and methods

For this study, 112 cases attending the antenatal clinic of the district hospital, Munger, between February 1993 and October 1993 were randomly selected from all socio-economic groups during their first trimester. Forty one women were primigravida and seventy one multi gravida from para two to para six. All of them underwent a full medical check-up, and along with medical and dietary advice they were advised to practise brahmari for two to seven minutes once or twice daily. Brahmari was performed for ten minutes two/ three times at regular intervals during the first stage of labour. The control group consisted of another 326 cases who were given regular antenatal check-ups and advice.

TABLE 1

Complications of pregnancy

  With Brahmari (112 cases) Without Brahmari (326 cases)
Complications No. of cases % No. of cases %
Abortion 2 2% 26 8%
Pre-term delivery 3 2.6% 17 5%
Eclampsia Nil Nil 2 0.6%
HAP 1 1% 6 2%
Hypertension Nil Nil 81 25%

The table shows that in the study group only six out of one hundred and twelve cases did not successfully maintain the pregnancy. These six cases could include those who did not perform brahmari with dedication, or had other abnormalities in the genital tract. In the control group, apart from the manageable cases of hypertension, the overall evidence of complication was 156%. In the study group, out of three cases of habitual abortion, two maintained their pregnancy successfully until term and delivered normal, healthy babies.

TABLE 2

Average duration of labour in hours

  With Brahmari Without Brahmari
Gravida 1st stage 2nd stage 3rd stage 1st stage 2nd stage 3rd stage
Primi gravida 8-10 hrs. ½-1 hr. 10 min. 14-16 hrs 1-2 hrs. 10 min.
Multi gravida 2-4 hrs. 10 min. 10 min. 4-8 hrs. 10-15 min. 10 min.

In patients who performed brahmari during pregnancy, at the first stage of labour the contraction and relaxation of the uterine musculature was synchronised and the dilation of the cervix was smooth and regular, compared to the control group. Patients developed the ability to tolerate the pain and co-operated in bearing down. They did not need any sedation, and none of them developed foetal distress. In primi gravida cases, the average duration of the first stage was reduced to 8-10 hours from 14-16 hours in the control group, and to 2-4 hours as compared to 4-8 hours in cases of multi gravida. The duration of the second stage was also reduced in primi gravida cases to half to one hour, compared to 1-2 hours in the control group. In the control group, 8% of cases had a prolonged labour, while after brahmari the incidence was found to be nil.

TABLE 3

Mode of delivery

  With Brahmari
(112 cases)
Without Brahmari
(326 cases)
Mode of delivery No. % No. %
Normal 111 99.9% 314 96%
Caesarian 1 1% 12 4%

In persons performing brahmari, Caesarian section was needed in only one case, where the indication was cephalopelvic disproportion, and an elective c.s. was done before the onset of labour. In the control group, twelve caesarean sections were performed; in seven cases there was foetal distress, in one case there was premature rupture of membranes, in two cases there was cephalopelvic disproportion and in two cases there was abnormal presentation.

TABLE 4

Incidence of neonatal birth asphyxia

With Brahmari (112 cases) Without Brahmari (326 cases)
No. % No. %
Nil Nil 38 12%

There was no birth asphyxia in cases performing brahmari, whereas in the control group the incidence was about 12%.

TABLE 5

Average birth weight of a baby

With Brahmari Without Brahmari
3.325kg. 2.850Kg.

In cases where brahmari was practised regularly throughout pregnancy, the average birth weight was significantly greater than in the control group, due to the fact that the antenatal period was uneventful and free of all anxiety. The nutritional intake of the mother was adequate and the hormonal status was regulated, resulting in the birth of a healthy baby.

Summary

  1. Brahmari pranayama done regularly for five minutes daily has a definite role in the successful maintenance of pregnancy and in preventing the complications of pregnancy, especially abortion, pre-term delivery, antepartum haemorrhage, hypertension, eclampsia, anxiety and insomnia.
  2. It facilitates trouble-free childbirth, reduces the incidence of prolonged labour and ensures a healthier mother at the end of the pregnancy.
  3. It is very useful in producing a physically and mentally healthy baby by increasing the birth weight and reducing the incidence of foetal distress and birth asphyxia.

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