Qamrul Khanson
Wisdom Prevails
Islam on Pregnancy
Cure Transgender
Cure Homosexuality
Cure Satanic Evil
Marriage Matters
Healing Nervousness

Human Pregnancy

Qhutba Jumu’a (Friday Sermon) 131st  

October 19 – 2007 – Shawwal 07th 1428


Human pregnancy is an important part of human life and the medical field that deals with pregnancy is called obstetrics. The-Qur’an has elaborated many facts which have been not discovered until eighteenth century when medical science expanded its horizon. Alas, even Muslim scientists failed to unfold the truth which is treasured in the Qur’anic verses.

In medical and legal definitions, human pregnancy is arbitrarily divided into three trimester periods, as a means to simplify reference to the different stages of prenatal development. The first trimester carries the highest risk of miscarriage. During the second trimester, the development of the foetus can be more easily monitored and diagnosed. According to The-Qur’an, the beginning of the third trimester is the ability of the foetus to survive, with or without medical help, outside of the uterus. Though such a fact was not realised until medical revolution in eighteenth century.

Divine Message:

"We enjoined the human being to honour his parents. His mother bore him, and the load got heavier and heavier. It takes two years (of intensive care) for weaning. You shall be appreciative of Me, and of your parents. To Me is the ultimate destiny" {The Qur’an – Surah Al Luqmaan (Chapter: The Wiseman) 31:14}.

"We enjoined the human being to honour his parents. His mother bore him arduously, gave birth to him arduously, and took leaning and weaning for thirty months. When he reaches maturity, and reaches the age of forty, he should say, "My Lord, direct me to appreciate the blessings You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and to do the righteous works that please you. Let my children be righteous as well. I have repented to you; I am a Muslim" {The Qur'an - Surah Al Ahquaff (Chapter: The Dunes) 46: 15}.

Survivability of Live Foetus:

The modern science until 1800 had no idea that babies born in early third trimester could survive. It was The-Qur’an (46: 15) which provided the knowledge to human that the minimum period of human gestation is after the completion of two trimesters. The thirty (lunar) month’s period mentioned (46: 15) includes twenty four (lunar) months for weaning (31:14) and the remaining six (lunar) months (180 days / 25 - 26 weeks) for gestation (leaning) which could be minimum period in viable human pregnancy.

Compared to all other mammals, human beings are found to have one of the longest gestation periods relative to body size. The length of time in the womb for humans and other mammals varies considerably, based mostly upon size. Human pregnancy can be divided into three trimesters, each three months long. The third trimester begins at about 26 weeks. The 23rd week is the first week when a preterm foetus is considered viable. Before this age major developmental events that would allow the foetus to survive outside the womb have not yet occurred. This division is somewhat arbitrary as children born before this point have survived, but only with significant medical assistance. In the third trimester, the final weight gain takes place, and the foetus begins to move regularly. Movement of the foetus becomes stronger and more frequent and via improved brain, eye, and muscle function the foetus is prepared for ex utero viability.

The average length of human gestation is 280 days, or 40 weeks, from the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period. Around five out of every 100 babies will be overdue or more than 42 weeks gestation. If we interpret the verse from The-Qur’an (46:15) it takes 30 (lunar) months for leaning and weaning of a baby by the mother.

In 1998; Levels of a stress hormone, Corticotrophin Releasing Hormone (CRH), measured in mothers in the early third trimester of pregnancy may predict the length of gestation and preterm delivery, according to a study by a University of Kentucky researcher working in collaboration with scientists at the University of California, Irvine. The findings are reported in (Oct. 14 – 1998) American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Dr Pathik D. Wadhwa assistant professor of behavioural science, obstetrics and gynaecology, and psychology, UK College of Medicine; reported that women with higher CRH levels at 28 to 30 weeks gestation delivered earlier and were more likely to deliver preterm. The woman can feel the foetus "rolling" and it may cause pain or discomfort when it is near the woman's ribs. It is during this time that a baby born prematurely may survive.

Interval between Pregnancies:

Several studies have shown that women with a very short interval between pregnancies are at increased risk of complications such as preterm birth, neonatal death, and intrauterine growth restriction. Women with very short inter-pregnancy intervals are more likely to have had complications such as prenatal death, preterm birth, and intrauterine growth restriction in their first pregnancy.

Spacing pregnancies between 18 to 23 months apart, results in the lowest risks for the infant. Researchers call this spacing the "optimal inter-pregnancy interval," noting that it is associated with lower risks of low birth weight and premature delivery than either shorter or longer time periods between pregnancies. An editorial notes that women who do not breastfeed may ovulate as soon as 27 days after delivery, whereas less than half of women who do breastfeed ovulate by 6 months after delivery. The actions of a woman have a profound influence on the interval between pregnancies.

Scientifically, it has long been recognized that having offspring with short intervals between pregnancies is associated with a high risk of having a damaged child. In 1999, team of researchers in Utah reported that "infants … conceived 18 to 23 months after a previous birth have the best chance of being born healthy and this is considered to be the ideal interval for a mother".

The Qur’an has given guidance that the gap between two pregnancies should be a total of twenty four months to thirty months [31:14 & 46:15]. Those believers who ignore such guidance endanger the perfect development of foetus and threaten the long term health of the mother.

The Qur’an Recommends Breast Feeding:

The Qur’an recommends breast feeding of continual twenty four months "It takes two years (of intensive care) for weaning" (31:14). Weaning is the stage in your baby's life when he/she transitions from breast milk to other sources of nourishment.

National governments and international organizations promote breastfeeding as the best method of feeding infants in their first year and beyond. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) also promote breastfeeding. Breastfeeding benefits mother and child both physically and psychologically.

The American Academy of Paediatricians and the National Association of Paediatric Nurses Associates and Practitioners recommend breast-feeding as much as possible during the baby’s first year. While nutrients and antibodies pass to the baby, beneficial hormones are released into the mother's body. The bond between baby and mother can also be strengthened during breastfeeding. Breast milk is extremely nutritious and contains carbohydrates, proteins, and fats essential for a baby’s health.  Breast milk also contains antibodies that help prevent infections and allergies. Studies have shown that breast-feeding may help protect against infant ear infections, allergies, diarrhoea, eczema, bacterial meningitis, and other serious illnesses. 

Breastfed babies have a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other diseases. Suckling at the breast encourages the proper development of the infant's teeth and speech organs and helps prevent obstructive sleep apnoea. Breast milk has several anti-infective factors, including the anti-malarial factor Para-amino benzoic acid. Breast milk contains the right amount of the amino acids Cysteine, Methionine and Taurine that are essential for neuronal (brain and nerve) development. A New Zealand study tracking over 1000 children for 8 to 18 years found small but measurable increases in cognitive ability and education achievement. This remained even after adjusting for other factors (such as maternal education level).

 Breast-Feeding Provides Protection Against Pregnancy. Breast-feeding is associated with the suppression of ovarian function, resulting in a variable period of infertility. Breast-feeding provides fertility protection equivalent to many non permanent contraceptive methods. The pregnancy rate did increase over time, particularly after six months' postpartum. This finding can provide women with the option of an effective contraceptive measure while breast feeding.


Auth. Qamrul Khanson   |  Islamic Spirituality   |  Qhutba Archives   |  Marital Affairs   |  Canadian Muslims   |  World Politics
Copyright @ 2006 Qamrul A. Khanson