As the world is bracing for the 2nd eclipse within a month (visible in the USA), the effect of eclipse on human beings is doing rounds now – particularly on growing foetuses in the womb. A recent article published in Livescience.com seeks to assure people that eclipse-effect on pregnancies is a myth. So be it!
But after going through that article and the embedded ones on medical opinion on eclipse effect on pregnancies, I am constrained to say that they have just mouthed their opinion without any back-up research on the subject. When I searched the internet for any research article on pregnancy and eclipses, there is absolutely none. No one has so far studied whether any eclipse occurred during the pregnancy period of a child that was born with cleft-palate – as the belief is that cleft-palate is caused when the pregnant mother is exposed to eclipse.
The next issue of research is whether an eclipse occurred on the 3rd month of the pregnancy, because the cleft –palate / lip syndrome occurs only in the 3rd month. To be more precise, it is during the 9th week or the early part of the 3rd month of the foetus, the two plates of the skull must join to form the hard palate or the upper roof of the mouth. When they join, the two sides of the nose and the upper lip are also joined to form a complete nasal cavity as distinct from oral cavity and a complete upper lip. When they do not join during this period of development in the womb, the baby is born with a cleft palate or a broken palate having a gap in the upper roof of the mouth.
There is no study linking this phase of foetus with eclipses.
Further on, the next issue is to compare the occurrence of cleft palate / lip when there was no eclipse during the 3rd month with those with the defect when there was eclipse in the 3rd month.
Without testing these basic issues on eclipse- cleft palate/lip myth, it is not proper to say that eclipses don’t affect pregnancies.
Eclipses don’t affect pregnancies - that’s true. But traditional opinion prevalent in Vedic society is that exposure to eclipse might cause cleft palate. This must be applicable to only the 3rd month of pregnancy when the two halves of palate and lip must join. Though I have not come across any literary authority for this claim, we in Vedic religion believe and follow the traditional view – as we trust the wisdom of our ancients.
The livescience article also makes a reference to Mahabharata written in “400 BC” on Rahu- Ketu myths of eclipse. These are myths, everyone knows that, but there are olden treatises on how eclipses occur and how to determine the time of eclipse which are almost exact. We in India have a better perception of sifting the truth from the myths. At young age we learn everything as stories because it is easy to remember stories and most stories have the element of good – bad or hero-villain like clashes. As we grow and look back at the stories, we can’t help admiring how clever the ancients were in weaving such stories with subtle truth hidden in them. The eating of sun and moon by Rahu /Ketu is one such intelligent story. Rahu and Ketu are the nodes, and it is true that eclipses occur when the two luminaries pass through the exact points of nodes simultaneously.
On the astrological side, I have analysed the horoscopes of 10 people having cleft palate / lip. 7 of them had cleft palate with cleft lip. Remaining 3 had only cleft lip. The common features noticed in them are as follows:
- Sun’s role is predominant in the cleft lip- alone cases. (Sun is the signifactor for lips)
- There is a 80% chance of 6th lord or the sub lord of the 6th cusp getting connected with 2nd house in cleft palate cases where deformity of teeth is a main feature.
- Nine out of ten cases had Jupiter connected with some factor of the 8th house. The complicity of 8th house feature signifies Nija or inherent defect from birth. Jupiter is the signifactor for the 3rd month in womb when this defect takes place. Therefore the logic is that Jupiter must exhibit some connection to 8th house in the birth chart and it is found manifest.
So astrologically speaking, this defect is karmic and ingrained in the physical formation of the person. But my experience, understanding and clarity that emerges with age and state of mind make me say that if the individual Self (soul or Jiva) so determines to avoid a calamity like this (cleft palate / lip) and if the parents are also to get relieved of the pain and sufferings in getting a child with this problem and managing it, there does exist an element in the form of eclipse during the pregnancy, to avoid or do away with a trigger factor for such a syndrome.
When the karmic cause is strong, the syndrome is anyway going to manifest, whether there was an eclipse or not. But in the event of a karmic cause that can be postponed (to another birth) or having a less degree of impact, who knows, eclipse may act as a trigger!
So better be on the safe side than to take a risk – however remote it may be – as no last word has been heard on it from science.
Myths Aside, Eclipses Don't Endanger Pregnancies
By Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor | August 10, 2017 08:14am ET
The Aug. 21 total solar eclipse that will be visible across a swath of the United States is not a danger to pregnant women, despite a handful of traditional myths linking eclipses to dangers in pregnancy.
These myths don't seem as prevalent for the 2017 eclipse as they have been for previous eclipses, like those in the 1990s, said E.C. Krupp, an astronomer and the director of Los Angeles' Griffith Observatory. Still, echoes of the myths remain online: The parenting site Romper recently published a piece contrasting the attitudes of Eastern and Western medicine regarding eclipses and pregnancy, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch rounded up some traditional eclipse superstitions.
"This kind of thing often comes up in casual conversation," Krupp told Live Science. In a 1998 article for Sky & Telescope, Krupp wrote that people asked him whether solar and lunar eclipses cause birth defects or miscarriages whenever the events are nigh. [The 8 Most Famous Solar Eclipses in History]
Before the advent of modern astronomy explained that eclipses result from the normal celestial movements of sun, moon and Earth, cultures had to make their own explanations. Most of these were supernatural in nature. As Live Science's sister site Space.com reported, the Toba people of South America believed that spectral jaguars attacking the moon caused the deep red hue of a lunar eclipse. The Hindu text the Mahabharata, written around 400 B.C., blamed the solar eclipse on the head of the demon Rahu, which consumes the moon and the sun but then passes them through its disembodied neck.
"When an eclipse takes place, it really does shake the foundations of things," Krupp said, especially from the point of view of an ancient farmer or hunter who depends on the reliable movements of the sun or moon across the sky. Thus, Krupp said, many myths highlight the potential dangers of an eclipse, or associate eclipses with vengeful deities.
Multiple cultures developed superstitions specifically about pregnant women and eclipses. The Aztecs believed lunar eclipses might turn gestating fetuses into mice, according to Bernardino de Sahagún, a Franciscan missionary to what is now Mexico who wrote about Aztec beliefs starting in 1529. The people of traditional Mexican cultures and some South Asian cultures associated eclipses with cleft palate, a common birth defect in which the upper lip and upper palate of the mouth fail to fuse.
This concern for pregnant women might have stemmed from associations between women and the moon due to the menstrual cycle, Krupp said. Or it could just be that pregnant women and their unborn babies seemed particularly at-risk when the sky did alarming things.
"It's hard to imagine, in any society, anyone more vulnerable than a pregnant woman," Krupp said.
All about the eyes
In reality, the only physical danger from the eclipse has nothing to do with pregnancy, fetuses or the womb. (Cleft palate is caused by a mix of genetic and environmental factors, and can result from certain chemical exposures or medications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — not by a 2-minute obscuring of the sun or moon.)
The actual danger of an eclipse relates to the eyes. The partially obscured sun is just as bright as the sun on any normal day, Krupp said. At totality, when the solar disk is fully covered, it's safe to look at the eclipse directly, but ONLY during that very short time, which can last just a minute or less. But before or after totality, or if the eclipse is only a partial eclipse from your viewing area, solar eclipse glasses from a reputable dealer are a must. Genuine No. 14 welder's glass is also safe for solar eclipse viewing, Krupp said. Looking at the solar eclipse directly, outside of totality, can damage a person's eyes.
But otherwise, don't panic, Krupp said. "People hear [that] you can't look at the sun, and they get the idea that somehow, maybe the eclipse is not safe," he said. With proper eye protection, he said, it's not only safe, but also a chance to stand in awe of the cosmos — something both the pregnant and nonpregnant can enjoy.
"We have a chance to see the solar system actually working, to see the laws of gravity moving before our very eyes," Krupp said.
Original article on Live Science.
Is The Solar Eclipse Harmful During Pregnancy? Experts Weigh In
Few things strike awe in human beings like a good eclipse. Most spend their daily lives feeling pretty disconnected from the universe they live in, but when eclipse time rolls around, everyone excitedly perks up and pays attention. But given the fact that a woman's menstrual cycle is lunar, combined with pregnancy myths about everything under the sun (no pun intended), some women feel concerned. Is the solar eclipse harmful during pregnancy?
According to NASA, a solar eclipse "is an eclipse in which the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, from beginning to end, as viewed from a given location."
In Eastern cultures, the activity of the moon is taken seriously in consideration of the health and behavior of people, and especially pregnant women. Dr. Sujata Mittal, a practicing OB-GYN in India, tells Romper, "Everything in the cosmos has some effect on human beings. Rays emitted at the time of a solar eclipse have negative energy and hence a negative effect on a fetus, as fetuses are highly sensitive to the influence of ionic energy on mother's skin."
But don't freak out just yet. Remember, medical wisdom can vary pretty widely from culture to culture. Most medical and science experts in Western countries maintain that a solar eclipse has no effect on pregnancy.
Proving just how influential our spot on the globe can be in our perception of science and medicine, Jay Pasachoff, Chair of the Working Group on Solar Eclipses of the International Astronomical Union, dismisses any notion that an eclipse could affect pregnancy. "Of course not. How could it?" Pasachoff rhetorically asks Romper in an interview. "At a solar eclipse, the sun is merely being covered, so there is less of its light shining on Earth. There is no way that could affect pregnancy or labor."
Ann Mullen, Health Education Director at reproductive health company Cycle Technologies, says that to her knowledge there is no scientific evidence that a solar eclipse is harmful to a pregnant woman or her fetus. In an interview with Romper, Mullen concludes, "There are some myths around solar eclipses, but pregnant women should feel perfectly safe." New York OB-GYN Dr. Amos Grunebaum agrees. "A solar eclipse has no special effect on any pregnancy," he tells Romper.
The bottom line? Pregnant woman are almost certainly unaffected by the presence of a solar eclipse, but if you're worried, talk to your care provider about your concerns. If you prefer to follow Eastern medicine, you might be interested in some of the popular guidelines recommended. But if you want to experience the thrill along with everyone else, don't feel guilty about pulling up a blanket in a clear viewing spot. Just be sure there's someone to help you get back up when it's over.