19 Feb 2018 | 3 min Read
Author | 1369 Articles
For centuries now, Indian women have been warned to avoid seeing or stepping outdoors during an eclipse during pregnancy. It is thought to have adverse effects on the baby potentially leading to birth defects such as cleft lip, cleft palate etc. Watching an eclipse when pregnant is always tricky as there has been a conflict for years that it is harmful. But is this really the case?
Here are some of the beliefs about solar eclipse and lunar eclipse that are commonly heard in India:
Let’s see what science and medicine have to say about eclipse effects on pregnancy.
Yes, this holds true even when one is not pregnant. Looking at the sun’s rays directly affects the retina to the intense light of the sun. It may cause retinal burns due to the damage caused to the cone and rod cells. These cells are very sensitive to light. So, whether pregnant or not, watching a solar eclipse directly without sunglasses, can lead to a condition known as ‘eclipse blindness’.
This too holds true. Here’s why:
Many people discard food cooked before an eclipse to avoid contamination or spoilage due to an increase in bacteria present in it.
The other beliefs are exactly that, beliefs and not based on any real scientific backing. You can very much step outdoors, work, use knives and other sharp instruments, without fear of harming your baby. Just make sure you have adequate light around whatever you do!
Despite popular beliefs and myths, some harmless traditions can be followed. Also, as most of the myths are not scientifically proven, a pregnant woman can still enjoy the sighting of an eclipse. Pregnant women can eat packaged food during an eclipse to avoid drop in blood glucose levels.
There is no scientific evidence to prove the adverse effects of an eclipse on a pregnant woman, but there are no scientific studies to support them either.
Disclaimer: The information in the article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor.
Also read: Pregnancy And Safe Medication
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