If you are pregnant and a solar or lunar eclipse is marked on the calendar of the month you are sure to have received a many cautions from the elder lies of your family about measures that you should take during the eclipse. In many countries, including India, eclipse is considered as a bad omen, particularly during pregnancy and it is believed that the eclipse can cause the baby to born with some physical deformities or birth marks.
There are no scientifically proven evidences to support this myth and there are many cultures in the world that do not offer any special restrictions for pregnant women during eclipse. However, if your family is really concerned about the effects of eclipse on your baby and following the customs will give you peace of mind, then there is really no harm to follow the traditions, because after all the eclipse lasts only for a few hours.
On the other hand, if you cannot afford to maintain the restrictions or you just have to be in your daily routine during the eclipse, you can be rest assured that it does not necessarily mean that your baby will come to harm because you chose to follow your normal chore during the eclipse.
The scientific background of eclipse
Solar or lunar eclipse is a natural phenomenon, just like the seasons and the day and the night. The earth moves round the sun and the moon moves round the earth. Due to this regular movement, at times, the sun, the earth and the moon all comes in a straight line and the shadow of one falls on the other, causing an eclipse. When the moon comes in between the sun and the earth, the shadow of the moon falls on earth and a solar eclipse occurs. On the other hand, when the earth comes in-between the sun and the moon, the shadow of the earth fall on the moon, causing a lunar eclipse. So, an eclipse is actually an extra-terrestrial phenomenon that is controlled by the rules of the universe and cannot have a direct effect on your unborn baby.
Some common restrictions that are believed to keep the expecting mothers and their babies’ safe during an eclipse include,
- Not cutting or slicing anything. Basically not using any sharp object that can cut or tear, during the whole span of the eclipse.
- Staying strictly indoors during the whole span of the eclipse and covering the windows and doors with black papers or heavy curtains so that any rays cannot enter the rooms where the pregnant woman is resting.
- Not eating or drinking anything during the span of the eclipse.
- Taking complete bed rest while the eclipse is taking place.
- Throwing away any cooked food left from before the eclipse.
- Taking a bath after the eclipse is over.
In fact this list of restrictions can go on and on to cover more words because in most of the families there seems to be some special restrictions concerning the pregnant mothers during eclipse, but the above ones are the most common.
Following these restrictions might not be a very bad idea particularly if you can spare the time, because they will not harm you or your baby in anyway. However, not drinking anything during the eclipse can be difficult for the pregnant moms particularly if the eclipse lasts for more than an hour, as that can cause dehydration. Dehydration during pregnancy can be harmful and it can give rise to various symptoms like fatigue, headaches, dizziness or even fainting. In such cases visiting your doctor immediately is suggested.
In case you would like to maintain all the restrictions regarding the eclipse including the “not drinking anything” part, it is best to have a glass of water just before the eclipse starts and to have another as soon as the eclipse gets over. In case, you feel thirsty during the eclipse, it is not suggested to stay that way only because you would like to maintain the restrictions, as dehydration can really harm your body during this stage. In such cases, you should opt for freshly collected purified water (RO purification works best to kill any microbe) to quench your thirst immediately.
If you are staying outdoors during the eclipse, make it a point to not to look directly at the eclipsed sun or moon because that can harm your eyes.