The duration of pregnancy is a very sensitive and
fateful period in a baby's life. The mother's nutritional habits together
with her physical movements and psychological behavior are vital both to
herself and the life of the baby in her womb.
The baby's health or illness, strength or weakness,
ugliness and beauty, and its good or bad behavior and a part of intellect
and prudence, are established in the mother's womb. One of the experts
writes: "The baby's parents are able to either grow in a fortress of health
or in the ruins of sickness. It is obvious that the latter is not a suitable
place in which the eternal soul or a human being should live. This is the
reason that-parents are believed to shoulder the greatest responsibility
compared to the whole of creation."
Therefore, the period of pregnancy cannot be regarded
or be treated as an ordinary one. Once the pregnancy starts, the parents
are given a great responsibility.
Parents may unwittingly create a variety of difficulties,
many of which may be extremely difficult to remedy, because of slight carelessness
when performing their duties.
Below are a few points that should be noted:
(a) Food: A foetus in its mother's womb, feeds and
grows on the nourishment in her blood. Therefore, the mother's food should
be nutritive enough to provide the elements needed by the baby as well
as for the welfare of the mother. Therefore any lack of vitamins, proteins,
fat, sugar or carbohydrates in the mother's intake of food would inflict
harm on the baby's health.
"Imam Sadiq (AS) stated: 'The food of a foetus, is
provided by the nourishment that the mother receives'."
A major problem which confronts most of the pregnant
women is that during either the whole or the majority of the pregnancy
period, they lack a well-balanced appetite for food, as they develop craving
for certain foods while being repulsed by others. Because they generally
eat less, during this period, they should make sure that their food is
not stodgy and at the same time nutritious enough to provide the essentials
for the baby.
Following up a food program in this phase of
pregnancy is extremely difficult, particularly for those of low income
and those who are unaware of the nutritional values of different foods.
A great responsibility rests with the father who should
do his utmost to provide essential foods for his wife. Carelessness on
the part of the father would be harmful to the growing baby, for which
he would be held responsible in both this world and in the world Hereafter.
(b) Mental State: A mother, in her pregnancy, needs
serenity and should experience a sense of love towards life. This is beneficial
to both the mother and her baby. The father, being responsible for providing
his wife with a peaceful and lively atmosphere, should try even harder
during the period of her pregnancy. The husband, through kindness and love,
should behave in such a manner that his wife can feel proud and happy about
being pregnant; she should feel proud that another life depends on her
and that she is responsible for its welfare.
(c) Refrain from Jerky Movements: A pregnant woman
should avoid strenuous activities and should rest a great deal. The lifting
of heavy objects or fast body movements could result in irreparable harm
to her, the baby or both. Pregnant women should refrain from doing any
heavy work, and their husbands should volunteer to carry out such activities.
(d) The Fear of Labour: Delivering a baby is not always
an easy event. Labour pains can sometimes be severe. Pregnant women often
worry about the pain involved and the possible risks associated with child
birth, followed by the period of convalescence after giving birth. Although
women should be able to cope with pregnancy, labour and feeding their babies,
men should also share in the responsibility of bringing up their children.
Although an embryo is conceived in women's womb, there
is also the father of the baby who has played an important role in its
conception. So men should make certain for their wives' comfort during
child birth and be handy if anything should be urgently required.
It is both an Islamic and a human duty of husbands
to do their utmost for their pregnant wives to provide medical care and
facilities for an easy delivery. A man should try to be with his wife after
the birth of their child; but if unable to do so, he should phone her or
send a relative to stay with her. He should try to bring her back home
himself and help her with the housework so that she can get sufficient
rest to regain her lost energy. A man, who treats his wife well, will be
rewarded by Allah.
"The Prophet (SA) of Allah stated: 'The best of men
is one who treats his wife well and I, amongst you, am the best man with
regard to the good treatment of my wife'."
"Imam Sadiq (AS) stated: 'May Allah bless a man who
creates a good relationship with his wife, because Allah has appointed
man to be the guardian of his wife'."
A man, who treats his wife well, will make the atmosphere
of his family life warmer and will strengthen its foundations.
His wife, in turn, would never forget her husband's love and affection. As a result the bonds of matrimony become stronger.
 Raz-e-Afrinish, p 108.
 Bihar al-Anwar, vol 60, p 342.
 Wasa'il al-Shi'ah, vo114, p 122.