- Bizzare superstitions of Indian families are putting their new-borns at risk.
- Doctors say they are helpless in the face of stubborn couples.
- Even Mahatma Gandhiji has not escaped such beliefs.
Mothers and their families do not wish to have a child on either a no moon day, or - more strangely - on Gandhi Jayanthi. And this superstition, which is helped along by modern science's ability to carry out 'forced' births or even delay birth, is only growing.
In Apollo Hospital at Bannerghatta, doctors say instead of the usual minimum of 15 deliveries that the hospital witnesses every day, only two deliveries were reported on Friday, September 30. The day was an 'Amavasya' -a.k.a a 'no moon' day. The situation was no different at MS Ramaiah Hospital, which usually handles about 20 child births every day. It reported only three deliveries.
The doctors say that even educated parents postpone or prepone childbirth, keeping in line with the new trend among many couples and their families, who are keen on select dates and festivals for the child's delivery.
Prashanth Urs, head of the department of neonatology, Apollo Hospital, says, "These days, couples are consulting for a 'good time' for delivery almost every day. Many of these couples yield to pressure from elders and astrologers. Such demands should not be encouraged. Instead of depending on astrology, parents should seek doctors’ advice - which is better for both mother and child. If not the baby will be at risk,"
Doctors say that when a baby completes 37 weeks in the womb, the child is considered fit for delivery. Couples can opt for a change in the due date only if the date is close.
"We explain to parents about the complications, but they do not listen. The child could develop breathing problems in the womb if it is kept in the womb for longer that the optimum date of delivery," Mamatha Shetty, Associate Professor, MS Ramaiah Hospital, said.
Dr Hema Divakar, Medical Director of Divakar Specialty Hospitality, finds many couples stressed on ‘amavasya’ as they think that the birth could bring misfortune.
"I have witnessed an increase in such demands (not having a delivery on 'Inauspicious day, date and time') over the past four years. Out of the 100 expectant mothers under planned delivery (those who get a date in advance and plan a childbirth), over 70 percent don’t want to have a baby on an Amavasya or eclipse days," she says.
Many are not aware of the short and long-term impact of a forced delivery. "In the short term, it could lead to breathing problems as the lungs may get infected. In the long term, a child taken out early may suffer from to neurological conditions," says Dr Divakar.
Shockingly, doctors also come across one especially bizarre reason to avoid births. Some couples claim that if their child is born on October 2, their child would be like 'Gandhi', which they prefer to avoid.
"People say that their children will not progress if they are born on Gandhiji's birthday. They say Gandhi was very polite and this will not help in the future," said Hema Divakar.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:50 PM IST