Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Garbha Sharira (Ayurvedic Embryology)

Ayurveda deals Embryology in more detail. Charaka has said that there are six factors which are collectively responsible for proper development of an embryo (Garbha) which also include hereditary factors. They are known as Shad Bhaava Sanmudaya:
  1. Maatraja - Maternal factors
  2. Pitraja - Paternal factors
  3. Aatmaja - Soul
  4. Saatmyaja - factors for which growing embryo has tolerance
  5. Rasaja - Nutritional factors
  6. Satvaja - Psychic factors
मातृजश्चायं गर्भः॥ (च.सं. ३/६)
पितृजश्च आत्मश्च सात्म्यजश्च रसजश्च अस्ति च स्त्वमौपादक मिति ॥ (च.सं. ३/४)

Aatmaja Bhaava (factor) develops the Aatmaja organs. It awards independent life span to every individual i.e., Swalpaayu, Madhyaayu, Uttamaayu, control of actions of sensory organs, facial look, body built, voice, complexion, sense of happiness & grief, jealousy, good or composed psychic built, intelligence, ego & memory.

Satvaja Bhaava (Psychic factors):- Mana or Satva arrives from previous body (Purva Janma) by Punar Janma (Rebirth). This is why many a times one recalls or recaps the life time events of Purva Janma (previous life). Such persons who remember previous life events are known as Jati-Smara. The properties, which are awarded by 'Satva factor' are: love, affection, good conduct, sanctity in life, jealousy, maintenance of past memory, attachment, sacrifice, sense of satisfaction, chivalrous character,fear, anger, tiredness, kind heartedness, activeness, lethargy & sensuous temperament.Status of Satva or Mana varies from person to person. Few of them are Rajas, few Tamas and few Saatvik.
Let me take an example of Twacha Varna (Skin Colour). Charaka & Sushruta both have recognized the role of Panchamahabhoota in differentiating the skin colour (Pigment).

न खलु केवलमेतदेव कर्म वर्णवैशेष्यकरं भवति । अपितु तेजो धातुरप्युदकान्तरिक्षधातुप्रायोऽवदातवर्णकरो भवति, पृथिवीवायधातुप्रायः कृष्णवर्णकरः समसर्व धातुप्रायः श्यामवर्णकरः ॥ (च.सं. ८/१५)

This means not only the deeds of previous life are responsible for determination of skin color but different pancha-mahabhoota either singularly or in two determine the skin color.
Accepting the theory of Yug Pat Vikaas Krama it will be appropriate to describe month-wise embryonic development.
  1. First month - कलल् अवस्था
  2. Second month - घन अवस्था
  3. Third month - गात्रपंचक व्यक्त अवसथा (पंचपिंडिक अवस्था)
  4. Fourth month - व्यक्तांतावस्था (दौह्रिदवस्था)
  5. Fifth month - मनःप्रबुद्धावस
  6. Sixth month - बुद्धि अवस्था (स्नायु सिर, रोमादि व्यक्तावस्था)
  7. Seventh month - सर्वांग प्रत्यंग व्यक्तावस्था
  8. Eighth month - ओज सन्चरण अवस्था
  9. Ninth month - प्रसवावस्था

First Month (Kalala Avastha)

From the day of fertilization till the completion of first week of intrauterine life, the embryonic disc looks like a jelly like plate (Kalala).
अव्यक्तः प्रथमेमासि सप्ताहात कलली भवेत् ॥ (अष्टांग हृदय शारीर सथान १/३७)

स सर्वगुणवान् गर्भत्वमापन्नः प्रथमे मासि संमूर्च्छितः सर्वधातु कलुषी (कलली) कृतः खेटभूतो भवत्यव्यक्तविग्रहः सदसद्भूताङगावयवः ॥ (च.सं. श.सथा. १/३७)

प्थमे मासि कललं जायते । (शु. सं. ३/१५)

In the first week the fertilized डिंब (zygote) divides into 8-cells. Then after 3 days the कलल takes the shape of बुद्बुद (blastocyst). On the 6th day बुद्बुद् enters into the endometrium of गर्भाशय.

In the second week the morula which has converted into बुद्बुद (blastocyst) develops as 3 layered embryo for the development of future body building and the smallest human being develops on the 8th day. On the 13th day the पीतक कोश (yolk sac) develops and the primitive streak appears.

In the third week, particularly on the 18th day the head process develops at the anterior end of the primitive stage. In this, head crosses the notochordal canal develops.

In the fourth week, all the material now is available for the future development in following order:
  1. तन्त्रिक तन्त्र (tubular central nervous system)
  2. अस्थि कन्कल (bony skeleton)
  3. मुख्गुह (Mouth)
  4. ग्रस्नि (Pharynx)
  5. हृदय, धमनी, सिरा इत्यादि (heart & blood vessels)
  6. आशय (body cavities)
  7. शख  and their अस्थि (four limbs including bones)
There are in depth explanation for each of these.

Second Month (घनावस्था)

द्वितीये मासि घनः संपद्यते पिण्डः पेश्यर्बुदं वा ।
तत्र घनः पुरुषः, पेशी स्त्री, अर्बुदं नपुंसकम् ॥ (च. सं. ४/१०)

द्वितीये शीतोष्मानिलैरभिप्रपच्यमानानां महाभूतानां संघातो घनः सञ्जायते यदि पिण्डः
पुमान्, स्त्री चेत् पेशी, नपुंसकं चेदर्बुदमिति ॥ (सु.सं. ३/१८)

In the second month, it being acted upon by 'शीत / कफ (watery element), उष्ण / पित्त (fiery element), वायु (airy element)' is condensed as घन (mass). It takes the shape of a solid mass of Pancha-mahabhoota. If it is पिण्ड (circular mass) or lump like  in form then a male child, if it is पेशी (muscle) or elongated in shape then a female child and if it is अर्बुद (tumor) like in shape a नपुंसक (hermaphrodite) child will take birth. As far as the sex differentiation is concerned one can only comment that differentiation by the end of 8th week of intrauterine life. But Vedas say that baby gender determination can be confirmed only after 12 years after birth. Till that time it is considered just as शरीर (body).

The period between 5th week and 8th week or the second month period is responsible for giving the embryo merely a human shape. By the end of second month the embryo attains 5-10 mm of length & following anatomical shape takes its human form. This can be described as follows:
  1. The curved body of the embryo changes and the convexity of the back decreases. The head becomes straight on the neck, whereas, the back also becomes little straight. So an entry level Ayurveda student can realize here, that the theory of Monkey to Man is just a speculation!!
  2. The face completely develops.
  3. The outer shape of the ear, nose & eyes becomes clear.
  4. The upper and lower limb buds grow well and the digits also start developing.
  5. The पुच्छ (tail end) of the embryo disappears within the natal cleft.
  6. The नाभि नाडि (umbilical cord) is well developed and its attachment with embryonic umbilicus becomes clear.
  7. The other कष्ठांग (organs) like अंत्र (intestine), हृदय (heart) & यकृत् (Liver) grow properly. The कामांगानि (sex organs) though develop but their differentiation by naked eye is not possible. Muscles are developing but development along with their innervation due to which fetal moments are initiated is yet not clear.
In the 5th week of intrauterine life the body of the embryo becomes separate from the पीतक कोश (yolk sac). The neutral tube and cervical flexure can be easily recognized. The lens vesicles and the olfactory plasodes appear. Similarly the maxillary, frontal and nasal processes appear. The limb buds grow longer. The embryonic length is 7mm. In the 7th week the embryonic curve is more. The olfactory lobes become prominent. Between the precordial and the umbilical region, liver is seen elevated. Now, the embryo is of 13mm in 6th week.

In the 7th week the genital organs start appearing. The tail end of the embryo disappears. The digits of the limb become more prominent. 

In the 8th week the embryo attains the 30 mm length. 

There is development of ग्रीव (neck) and ग्रसनि धनि (pharyngeal pouches). Between the 4th and 7th week of intrauterine life the neck fully develops and the pharyngeal pouches appear. From these pharyngeal pouches the face, neck, mouth, pharynx and larynx develop. The total number of pouches are five.

Third Month (पंच-पिंडिकावसथा) 

The third month period extends from the 9th week of intrauterine life till the 12th week. It is also named as गात्र पंचक व्यक्तावस्था.

According to Sushruta, in the third month of intrauterine life the five buds appear in the growing embryo. Other details of body parts can also be seen.

तृतीये हस्तपाद-शिरसां पञ्चपिण्डिका निर्वर्तन्तेऽप्रत्यङ्गः विभागश्च सूक्ष्मो भवति । (सु.शा. ३/१८)
तृतीये मासि सर्वेन्द्रियाणि सर्वाङ्गावयवाश्च यौगपद्येनाभिनिर्वर्तन्ते ॥ (च. सं. ४/११)

According to Charaka & also the Kashyap Samhita the गर्भा in the 3rd month starts developing all the सर्वेंद्रियाणि (Sense organs) and अंगप्रत्यंग (body parts). According to अष्टाग हृदय the गर्भा develops 5 body buds. i.e., मूर्धा (head) + २ शक्ति (energies) + २ बहु (shoulders). Fetus develops these buds for सुख & दुःख.Commentary on Sushruta Samhita mentions some body parts - मूर्धा (head), ऊरू (chest), पृष्ठ (back) - उदर (abdomen) - चिबुक (chin) - नास (nose), ओष्ठ (lips), श्रवण (ears), अन्गुलि (fingers), परुष्म (joints) ।

Modern embryologists also observed in the 3rd month of intrauterine life, the size of the head becomes larger, whereas, the length of the neck increases. Both eyelids are closed and they open only after 6th month of intrauterine life. The limbs develop completely and nails of the fingers also develop. The length of the fetus becomes 55mm. The fetus takes a complete shape of human being. All the primary centers of the bony ossification develop in 3rd month. Charaka has attributed credit to the पंचमहाभूत for the development of different body organs.

9th & 10th week:- Fetus gains 30-40mm length. All the four limbs develop completely. The nails of the digit appear.
  • Face
  • Gastrointestinal System: It is an organ system within humans and other animals which takes in food, digests it to extract and absorb energy and nutrients, and expels the remaining waste as feces and urine.
  • Respiratory System: The hard palate and nasal septum come in contact. Nasal cartilages and the vocal cord appear.
  • Urogenital System: Kidneys develop capacity to secrete urine. Urinary bladder grows larger. Bulbo-urethral and vesti-bular glands appear. Vaginal sacs also appear.
  • Vascular and lymphatic System: The thoracic duct & peri-pheral lymphatics start growing along with lymphatic glands. RBCs formation starts.
  • Integumentary System: It is the organ system that protects the body from various kinds of damage, such as loss of water or abrasion from outside. The system comprises the skin and its appendages (including hair, scales, feathers, hooves, and nails).
  • Nervous System: The inner morphology of the spinal cord is completed in these weeks.
  • Sensory Organs: The iris, ciliary body & the primary buds of lacrymal glands develop.
    • Ciliary body is a part of the eye that includes the ciliary muscle, which controls the shape of the lens, and the ciliary epithelium, which produces the aqueous humor. The ciliary body is part of the uvea, the layer of tissue that delivers oxygen and nutrients to the eye tissues.
    • The lacrimal glands are paired, almond-shaped exocrine glands, one for each eye, that secrete the aqueous layer of the tear film. They are situated in the upper lateral region of each orbit, in the lacrimal fossa of the orbit formed by the frontal bone.
11th & 12th week:- Head is still larger than other body parts. The nasal bridge is well developed. Sex differentiation can be easily done. The filiform & foliate papillae of the tongue become prominent. The dental sockets are ready. Hard palates of both sides unite with each other. Some of the changes appear in the following:-
  • Pharyngeal region
  • Digestive system
  • Respiratory system
  • Abdominal cavity
  • Urogenital system: Uterus starts developing. Male ducts, prostate gland & seminal vesicles can be visualized.
  • Vascular system
  • Skeletal system: The notochord starts disappearing. The primary centres of the bones along with the shaping of bones take place.
  • Integumentary system
  • Nervous system: The outline of the brain formation starts. The cervical and lumbar enlargements of the spinal cord appear along with its tail end.
  • Sensory organs: Retinal layer starts formation.
During this month, head flexion decreases. The neck becomes proportionately longer. The eyelids which are temporarily united remain as such till 6 months.

Fourth Month - दौह्रिदवस्था / व्यक्तांगवस्था

The 4th month of intrauterine life extends between 13th to 16th week. In this period all the body organs develop more precisely. Ayurveda has termed it as व्यक्तांगवस्थ or the month in which body parts manifest clearly. The fetal face looks just like human face. By the end of this month eyes move further into an anteriorly directed position but are still relatively wide apart. The external ears approach their characteristic form and are nearer to their normal position at the site of head. The face is wider. The नाभि नाडि is attached to the upper part of abdomen. Charaka & Shushruta both have described this picture as follows:

चतुर्थे मासि स्थिरत्वमापद्यते गर्भः, तस्मात्तदा गर्भिणी गुरुगात्रत्वमधिकमापद्यते विशेषेण । (च.शा. ४/२०)

चतुर्थे सर्वाङ्ग प्रत्यङ्ग विभागः प्रव्यक्तो भवति, गर्भहृद प्रव्यक्ति भावाच्चेतना धातुरभिव्यक्तो भवति, कस्मात्?
तत्स्थानत्वात्, तस्मागर्भश्चतुर्थे मास्यभिप्रायमिन्द्रियार्थेषु करोति ।
द्विहृदयां च नारी दौहृदिनी माचक्षते, दौहृदविमाननात् कुब्जंकुणिं खञ्जं जडं वामनं विकृताक्षमनक्षं वा नारी सुतं जानयति,
तस्मात् सा यद्यदिच्छेत्तत्तस्यै दापयेत् ।
लब्धदौहृदा हि वीर्यवन्तं चिरायुषं च पुत्रं जनयति । (सु. शा. ३/१८)

This means the fetus becomes stable and enlarges in size. Therefore the weight of mother also increases. In the 4th month all the divisions of the अंग & प्रत्यंग become more developed and the fetus gets equipped with चेतन धातु (consciousness) and expresses its desires. Here the question arises why so? The answer is because the heart is the seat of चेतन धातु, therefore, this stage is called दौह्रिदवस्था and the women is known as दौहृदिनि. Now the foetus desires variety of things to taste and to smell.

If the desires of the दौहृदिनि women are not fulfilled this leads to the birth of a child either like कुब्ज (humpback), खञ्ज (deformed arm), जड (an idiot), वामन (dwarf), विकृताक्ष (defective eyes) or अनक्ष (without eyes). Thus, the desires of the mother should be fulfilled as the woman who gets all her longings fulfilled, gives birth to a strong and long lived offspring.

Further, it can be said that Ayurvedic acharyas were of the firm view that the heart becomes fully developed and fetus starts movements which are being felt by the mother. According to modern concept the face of fetus looks like human being. The face becomes broader, the eye appear much away from one another. This description is much more nearer to the description given by Charaka and Sushrutha. They have mentioned that the body parts look more developed. The foetus attains stability in the sense of weight and size. The modern scientists are also of the view that the heart has also developed uptill now. In this month the pregnant woman is called dauhridini i.e., having her own heart and another of foetus. The सुख दुःखादि भावा's of the foetus are expressed through the mother. Therefore, Ayurvedaacharyas have advised to fulfill the mother's desires. On the contrary if mother's desires are not fulfilled, the foetus is affected and becomes Jada or gets slothness in the intelligence.

System-wise development in 4th month:-

During this month the foetus attains 15 cm length. On the scalp the hair grow, muscles become active and body parts gain size as compared to head size. Following systems are updated. Some of the main points are highlighted to maintain readability.
  • Oral Cavity
  • Pharynx
  • Digestive System
  • Respiratory System
  • Urogenital System
  • Circulatory System
  • Bones: Joint cavity and the bones develop. By the end of 4th month & beginning of the 5th month fetal movements start & the mother becomes conscious for the same. This is called quickening.
  • Integumentary System: Hair start growing on the foetal skin. At the same time sweat glands and sebaceous glands also grow.
  • Nervous System
  • Sensory organs

Fifth Month - मनः प्रबुद्धावस्था 

The 5th month of the intrauterine life is known as Mana Prabuddhavastha (mind maturity state), because the higher psychological centers in the brain probably develop precisely. Charaka, Sushruta and Ashtanga Hridaya have also made their independent observations regarding 5th month fetal development. These statements are quoted below in sequence.

पंचमे मासि गर्भस्य मासशोणितोपचयो भवत्यधिकमन्येभ्यो मासेभ्यः,
तस्यमात्तदागर्भिणी कर्श्यमापद्यते विशेषेण ॥ (च. शा - ४/२१)

According to Charaka during 5th month, the development of muscle and haemopoetic system is more faster. Haemopoetic system is the bodily system of organs and tissues, primarily the bone marrow, spleen, tonsils, and lymph nodes, involved in the production of blood. Therefore, obviously the pregnant women looks weaker.

पंचमे मनः प्रतिबुद्धतरं भवति । (सु.सू. ३/३०)
This means in the 5th month of intrauterine life the मनस्  (Psyche) becomes more developed along with consciousness.

In Ashtanga Sangraha, Vaagbhata has presented integrated picture and has said: पंचमे मनः प्रतिबुद्धतरं भवति मांसशोणितो पचयश्च । This means other than मनस् (Psyche) the शोणित (Hemopoietic) system and मांस-पेशी (Muscular) system both develop in the 5th month. This idea of Ayurvedic embryologists has been supported by the great scientist Lesle Arey.

Development of रक्त धातु (root element of blood) starts in bone marrow and at the same time the consciousness becomes acute. The हृदय (heart) and मस्तुलुङ्ग (brain) has been said as the seat of मन (mind). Thus, हृदय (heart) & मस्तिष्क (brain) both are the seats of मन (mind). Whole body is the area for the activities of the मन (mind) because the peripheral nerves are associated with brain and सुषुम्ण (spinal cord). The different centers of ज्ञानेंद्रिय (sense organs) are also situated all over the brain. Charaka & Bhela have also accepted शिर (head) as the place of all sense organs. मन (mind) has also been considered as the बुदधि (intellect). The मन induces the ज्ञानेंद्रिय (sense organs) as well as कर्मेद्रिय to their अर्थ (subjects) and also checks them from being engaged in unwanted activities. In this way Sushruta's statement about the मन has been interpreted by scholars.

मन has been identified in Ayurveda as अतींद्रिय. In Bhela, Charaka, Sushruta & Chakrapani, the description of मस्तुलुङ्ग (brain) as also being mentioned which can be quoted below:

प्राणाः प्राणभृतां यत्राश्रिताः सर्वेन्द्रियाणि च ।
यदुत्तमाङ्गमङ्गानां शिरस्तदभिधीयते । (च.सू. १७/१३)
शिरसि इन्द्रियाणि इन्द्रिय प्राणवहानि च ।
स्रोतासि सूर्यमिव गर्भस्तयः सश्रितानि ॥ (च.सि. ९)
गर्भस्य खलु सम्भवः पूर्वः शिरः सम्भवति
इत्याह शौनकः, शिरोमूलत्वात् प्रधानेन्द्रियाणाम् ॥ (सु.शा. ३/३०)
मस्तष्कं शिरस्थो मच्चा मस्तिष्कःशिरस्थः स्नेहः ॥ (चक्रपाणि)
अत्यावाक् शिरसोनस्यं मस्तुलुङ्गवतिष्ठते ॥ (चरक)
मस्तुलुङ्गाद्विना भिन्ने कपाले मधुसर्पिषी ।
दत्वाततो निबध्नीयात् सप्ताहं च पिबेद् घृतम् ॥ (चु. चि. ३)
शिरस्ताल्वान्तर्गतं सर्वेन्द्रियपरं मनः । (भेल संहिता)

Muscular system develops in 5th month. Practically all are voluntary muscles. They are important for प्रवृत्ति & निवृत्ति for life. They are vital for life because they infuse life. In support of this statement following quotations can be referred:
मांसावयव संघातः परस्परं विभक्त पशी इत्युच्यते ॥
प्रयत्नस्त्वात्म कर्मस्या दुत्साहो भावना च सः ॥ (च.सि.९)
प्रवृत्तिश्च निवृत्तिश्च यथा जीवन कारणम् ।
एवं प्रयत्न तैवध्यं तान्त्रिकः परिकीर्तितम् ॥
यत्योजीवन योनिस्तु सर्वदाऽतीन्द्रियो भवेत् ।
शरीरे प्राण संचाते कारणं परिकीर्तितम् ॥

Every muscle fiber is 1.500 inch in diameter. The muscle fibers are of 3 types:
  1. Smooth: They are available in body visceras [the internal organs of the body, specifically those within the chest (as the heart or lungs) or abdomen (as the liver, pancreas or intestines)], tubular structures and blood vessels.
  2. Cardiac: Such muscle fibers are available in heart only (myofibres: muscle cells, especially one of the cylindrical, multinucleate cells that make up skeletal muscles)
  3. Skeletal: These muscles are attached to the skeletal system of body. All the skeletal muscles are voluntary in nature, whereas, smooth and cardiac muscles are involuntary in nature.

Sixth Month - बुद्धि अवस्था - स्नायु, सिर, रोमादि व्यक्तावस्था

In this month the length of fetus is about 300 mm. There is a general change of body proportion and facial look. The lanugo on the skin darkens. Laungo is the fine, soft hair, especially that which covers the body and limbs of a human fetus. The skin becomes wrinkled. In this month the eyelids and eyebrows are well developed. There is predominance of vernix caseosa (a greasy deposit covering the skin of a baby at birth). Charaka, Sushruta and Vaagbhata have made different developmental observations in this month. Charaka says that in the 6th month:

षष्ठे मासि गर्भस्य बलवर्णोपचयो भवत्यधिकमन्येभ्यो मासेभ्यः ॥
तस्मात्तदा गर्भिणी बलवर्णनिमापद्यते विशेषेण ॥ (च. श. ४/२१)

In this month the fetus gains health and its skin color improves. Therefore, the mother loses general health and her complexion also becomes dull. According to Sushruta in the Sixth month, the बुद्धि develops षष्ठे बुद्धिः । Whereas in the Ashtang Sangrah, it has been accepted that

षष्ठे केशरोम नखास्थिरस्नाय्वादीन्यभिव्यक्ता
नि बल वर्णोपचयश्च । (अ.सं. श. २/२४)
षष्ठेमासे मुखनासिकाक्षिश्रोत्राणि भवन्ति ॥ (गर्भोपनिषद्)

From above statements of different Acharyas, it can be easily said that all the भावा's (structures) which develop during this month are पित्तज भावा's because structures like कश (hair) and रोम (lanugo), नख (nail), अस्थि (bone), सिर (blood vessels), स्नायु (ligaments) and शुक्र are all hard भावा's (structures). All these भावा's (structures) are basically पार्थिव. This also helps to conclude that in the 6th month the structures of integumentary system actively develop.

The statement of Sushruta that in the 6th month बुद्धि or intellect becomes sharper can be supported by observations of modern embryologists that the development of पूर्वमस्तिष्क (cerebrum) gets completed in this month. The centers for intellect, particularly lies in पूर्वमस्तिष्ट. Therefore, Sushruta's version that the intellect becomes more and more developed in the 6th month, should be considered rational and scientific.

Charaka's statement that the बल and वर्ण of the embryo become more in prominent the 6th month is also correct as the development of the pigmentary glands of त्वच (skin) and स्वेद (sweat) become more clear. Therefore, the observation of Charaka regarding the development of बल & वर्ण also appears logical. The skin develops by the ectoderm. Moderns also agree that between 3rd & 6th month of intrauterine life the lanugo of the fetal body skin appears. Lanugo fades away after birth and a new crop of hair grows on the body surface of newborn known as body villous. At the onset of young age villous also fades from the body surface and hair follicles and hair grow.

Seventh Month - सर्वांग प्रत्यंग व्यक्थावस्था

In the 7th month of the intrauterine life all the details of the body organs develop. One can look into the various anatomical systems of the human body in this month. The fetus is now healthy.

सप्तमे मासि गर्भः सर्वेर्भावैराप्याय्यते तस्मात्तदा गर्भिणी सर्वाकारैः क्लान्ततमा भवति || (च. शा. ४/२३)

In the seventh month fetus is completely healthy but the pregnant women look weaker and lethargic. This is because fetus has developed all body structures in detail.

सप्तमे सर्वाङ्ग प्रत्यङ्ग विभागः प्रव्यक्ततरः । (सु. शा. ३/३०)

This means in the 7th month all the body अङ्ग (parts) and प्रत्यङ्ग (subparts) of the fetus are apparently visible. Vaagbhata has repeated this observation in Astanga Sangraha.

सप्तमे सर्वाङ्ग संपूर्णता (अ.सं. शा. २/२५)
सर्वेः सर्वाङ्ग संपूर्णो भावैः पुष्यति सप्तम ॥ (अ. हृ. शा. १/५८)

Even in Garbhopanishat, it has been described that the गर्भ (fetus) attains "जीवन शक्ति" (power of survival) in the 7th month. It means that all the अङ्ग-प्रत्यङ्ग of the गर्भ are fully developed for their functions. The modern embryologists also believe that गर्भ (fetus) at the end of 28th week becomes viable सप्तमे मासे जीवन संयुक्तो भवति ।

In the 7th month the pupillary membrane is absorbed and the eyelids are opened. The testes also descend with the vaginal sac into the scrotum. The wrinkles on the skin start disappearing because there is more deposition of subcutaneous fat. The length of the fetus from head to the ankle is measured 35 cms and the weight is 1/2 kg.

Moderns are of the view that during this month the scalp hair lengthen. Eyebrow hair and eyelashes are underdeveloped. Eyelids are separated from each other. The pupillary membrane disappears. The fetal body looks plump and rounded in contour. Medicinally it can be said that the fetus becomes viable. Length of the fetus is now about 350mm and the weight is 1.5 kg.

Eighth month - ओज संचरण अवस्था

The average length of the fetus in this month is 40 cm whereas the weight is 2 kg. Ayurveda has given great significance to this month of intrauterine life. Charaka and Sushruta both have accepted this month as ओज संचरणावस्था. The viability factor has now started playing vital role during 8th month of intrauterine life.

अष्टमे मासिगर्भश्च मातृतो गर्भतश्च माता रसहारिणीभिः
संवाहिनी भिर्मुहर्मुहरोजः परस्परत आददाते गर्भस्यासंपूर्णत्वात् ।
तस्मात्तदा गर्भिणी मुहुर्मुहुर्मुदा युक्ता भवति मुहुर्मुहुश्च म्लाना, तथा गर्भ
तस्मात्तदा गर्भस्य जन्म व्यापत्तिमद्भवत्योजसोऽनवस्थितत्वात् ।
त चैवार्थमभिसमीक्ष्याष्टम मासमगण्य मित्याचक्षते कुशलाः ॥ (च.श. ४/२४)

This means that there is shifting of ओज (viable factor) in this month from mother to fetus and fetus to mother. Though it is a very slow in beginning during which mother and fetus alternatively feel happy and healthy or depressed whenever the quantum of ओज is less on one side and higher in another side.

In case ओज has shifted in to the maternal side and accidentally fetus takes birth, a dead child will be born and if ओज has shifted completely to the fetal side the mother may instantly die. Though this observation of Charaka has yet not been substantiated by any scientific and practical observation.

अष्टमेऽस्थिरीभवत्योजः तत्र जातश्चेन्न जीवेन्निरोजस्त्वानैर्-ऋतभागत्वाच्च, ततो बलि मांसौदनमस्मै दापयेत् । (सु. श. ३/३०)

This means in the 8th month the quantum of ओजस् does not remain constant but becomes unstable. The child born in this month does not survive in absence of ओजस् and due to the attack of demons (Nairrutya). Authors have given deep thought for this theory of shifting of ओजस् and submits following views in this regard.

In the 8th month which is also called as ओजस् संचरण अवस्था, 'ओज' shifts from mother to fetus and from fetus to mother. When the ओज has returned to mother, the गर्भ is now ओजोविरहित - devoid of ओज. If the fetus is delivered in the 8th month and by chance it is ओजोविरहित, the life of the fetus is in danger. Therefore there is intrauterine death of the fetus. Veda says that the गर्भ will be delivered properly only after 9 months 9days. It refutes pre-matured birth as  improper calculation of days according to Aatma Sanchaara Vidhi. Veda doesn't say count by physical intercourse but by the combination of the Praakrutika amshaas required for the Kshetra Siddhi of the Aatma (Soul). It is not easy to understand with modern mindset! The modern embryologists also believe that the fetus is less viable in this period and may die if the fetus is not given proper care during 8th month.

Now the question arises, what are the elements responsible for the viability of the fetus, and by which it may survive in the uterus of the mother, and in outer world for certain period after delivery.

The word ओज can be taken as the protoplasm of the fertilized egg. As much emphasis the Ayurvedists gave to the importance of ओज that much emphasis the modern embryologists have given to the protoplasm. The ओज is mentioned and formed at the time of union of शोणित (ovum) and शुक्र (sperm). Thus ओजस् is taken as the first unit of the development of गर्भ. Similar ideas have been postulated by the modern anatomists about the protoplasm. The गर्भ wholly depends for its viability on the protoplasm of the fertilized egg. Not only this but also the protoplasm possess the capability for the development of body strength, length, thickness of body and capability for developing different अंग-प्रत्यंग of the body.

While discussing the properties of ओज, Charaka has mentioned that following are the functions of ओज in the body. ओजस् keeps all the living beings refreshed. There can be no life without ओजस् and it is the essential element in the formation of embryo. It is the nourishing fluid for the embryo. It enters the heart just at the stage of formation of embryo. ओज amounts to the life and it lies in the heart. It constitutes the essence of the tissue elements. It proves that theory of ओजस् is identical to the properties of protoplasm told by the modern scientists.

The Vaidhika Bhautashaastra goes very depth in these matter and also explains the formation of ओजस् in the atmosphere. The ओजस् layer becomes परिष्कृत by the Yagna-Yaaga prakriyaas. Knowing some importance of ओजस् , foreigners renamed it as OZONE, tried to understand it chemically. But the existence of ozone (O3), hole in it & its affects are refuted by Rishis & also some of the rational thinkers from Bhaaratiya origin. Let us not discuss more on this as it deviates from main topic.

In the 8th month of fetal life the embryo is covered by the Vernix caseosa and lanugo starts disappearing. The fat deposition begins under the skin and the fetus looks swollen. The nails at the distal ends of the digits and tooth develop. Now the length of the fetus measures 45 cm. The परिवृषण (testis) descend in the बीजपेशिका (scrotum).

Ninth & Tenth Month - प्रसवावस्था

For developmental purposes 9th and 10th month both have been clubbed together by Charaka & Sushruta. During these two months the covering of the Vernix caseosa is prominent. There is regular loss of lanugo. But the hairs of eyelids, eyebrows and scalp remain as such. The body looks of the fetus develop similarity with that of an infant. Yet the legs of the fetus have not equaled the length of the arm. Thoracic cage is relatively broader than the head size. The umbilicus gains the central position of the anterior abdominal wall. In the 9th and 10th month average length of fetus is 45 Cm and 50 Cm and weight is 2.5 Kg & 3.5 Kg respectively. In the 9th month the testis which have started approaching the scrotum in the 7th month descend down completely and get scrotal position. Ovaries are still above the level of pelvic brim. Regarding 9th month development Charaka & Sushruta both have accepted that these are the months for normal delivery and in case there is no delivery beyond this period, fetus may go in the state of malformation or abnormality.

तस्मिन्नेकदिवसातिक्रान्तेऽपि नवमं मासपुपादाय प्रसवकालमित्याहुरा दशमान्मासात् ।
एतावान् प्रसवकालः, वैकारिकमतः परं कुक्षाववस्थानं गर्भस्य ॥ (च. श. ४/२५)

नवम-दशमैकादशद्वादशानामन्यतमस्मिञ्जायते, अतोऽन्यथा विकारी भवति । (सु. श. ३/२८)

At the end of the tenth month or before delivery, the lanugo completely disappears. Thus is obstetrical practice, गर्भावस्था (gestation period) is about 270 days. But Sushruta has observed that gestation period may extend up to 12 months. Further, the length of the full term new born ranges between 48 - 53 cm and it is measured from crown to heel. But when it is in uterus it is measured from crown to rump. i.e., from vertex of the skull to the ischial tuberocity.

I hope with this post written two years before, I have attempted to compile the views of Ayurvedic & some modern medical science commentators on prominent topic, "Garbha Sharira" (Ayurvedic Embryology).
                                                                                || हरिः ओं ॥
- Hemanth Kumar G