Is An Eclipse Harmful During Pregnancy?

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You may often come across various theories and questions that may confuse you during your pregnancy. For example, “Is an eclipse harmful during pregnancy?” is a common one. Eclipses occur when the sun is partially or fully blocked by the moon moving between it and the earth or when the moon is blocked out when the earth’s shadow moves over it.

However, people still debate about whether it negatively affects a pregnant woman. Pregnancy is a wonderful journey of fostering a new life inside you—and it comes with many responsibilities. You often try to do what’s best for your growing baby, which may stress you out, especially if you are pregnant for the first time. Moreover, the unending advice from near and dear ones can add to the confusion and anxiety.

Read this post to understand the myths and facts surrounding eclipses and pregnant women. We also provide some scientific facts wherever applicable.

What Is An Eclipse?

An eclipse is just as natural a phenomenon as is sunrise or sunset or even weather and climate change for that matter.

  • An eclipse occurs when the sun, the moon and the earth, all three come in one single line.
  • When the moon comes between the sun and the earth, it is called solar eclipse.
  • When the earth comes in between the sun and the moon, it is termed as lunar eclipse.

Eclipse During Pregnancy – Is It Really Bad?

Various cultures across the world have various takes on this.

  • While some consider eclipse as a bad omen for pregnant women, there are others who don’t agree with it.
  • Scientifically, there has been no evidence to prove that eclipse (both lunar and solar) can be harmful during pregnancy.

However, more than myths and following traditions blindly, it is important to look at things logically.

Myth Or Science?

Let’s have a look at whether eclipse can harm one only during pregnancy or if it can be harmful in general as well:

1. Don’t Look At The Sun And Stay Indoors:

Yes, this is true, but this rule doesn’t apply only when you are pregnant. Rather, you should avoid looking at the sun directly during solar eclipse even when you are not pregnant. The reason:

  • Sun’s radiation can be harmful when looked at directly. You must take proper precautions if you are planning to watch it.
  • Watching the eclipse with naked eye can actually affect the exposure that your retina will have to the intense visible light of the sun.
  • It can even result in retinal burns due to the damage done to the light-sensitive cone cells and rod.
  • So whether you are pregnant or not, you should avoid staring at the sun directly during an eclipse as it can damage your eyes and develop what is known as ‘eclipse blindness’.

2. Do Not Eat, Drink Or Cook During An Eclipse:

You must have heard a thousand different things about eclipse from many people in your family. One such instruction is to avoid eating, drinking or cooking completely during an eclipse. Even this holds true. Here is how and why:

  • It is a known fact that the sun rays are very important and are the reason for our survival.
  • Without these rays, the earth might be just another place with lots of harmful microbes and germs. This is what happens during eclipses.
  • Due to the sun being blocked, its rays too get blocked.
  • As a result, there is a sudden drop in temperature.
  • This temperature drop and missing sun rays cause microbes, bacteria and harmful germs to rise.
  • This is said to affect food items and almost every perishable item for that matter.
  • Hence it is advised to avoid eating, drinking or even cooking during an eclipse.
  • The sun rays kill all the harmful bacteria and germs, which otherwise might prove dangerous for humans.
  • Hence proven this has a scientific logic.

Most people throw away all the food items prepared before the eclipse. This is just to avoid any kind of contamination or damage that the increased bacteria and microbes might have on food during an eclipse.

These were the major myths and beliefs regarding eclipse during pregnancy. It is highly advised that you visit your doctor and clarify every doubt that you might have. An eclipse is the most spectacular phenomenon of nature. It should not be looked upon as an omen.

Having said that, when your elders warn you against eclipses, realize that it is only for you and your baby’s safety. They might be warning you out of their beliefs and myths. However, you know that these myths are born out of science and have simply been given a new face in the name of culture, tradition and myths.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What to wear during an eclipse while pregnant?

Though there is no well-known suggestive clothing for pregnant women to wear during an eclipse, some cultural beliefs say that watching an eclipse while wearing a necklace could cause complications in pregnant women (2). However, this is a restrictive belief and is not proven in a large proportion of pregnant women.

2. Can pregnant ladies work during the lunar eclipse?

In several cultures, pregnant women are advised to stay indoors when pregnant. Experts suggest staying away from sharp objects to avoid accidents. Also, our ancestors had no electricity in the olden days, so they wanted pregnant women to stay away from chores during an eclipse (3).

While many cultures believe that eclipses are bad for pregnant women, there is no scientific evidence to back this claim. However, beliefs like remaining indoors, not staring directly at the eclipse, and avoiding eating may have more reasonable explanations. So, if you see an eclipse while pregnant or have doubts about the solar or lunar eclipse and pregnancy, don’t regard it as a bad omen. Instead, you may talk to your doctor and take the required precautions, as all myths are based on science and have merely been given a new face.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. EYE SAFETY DURING SOLAR ECLIPSES
    https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEhelp/safety2.html
  2. Kola M Owonikoko et al., (2017); Use of Safety Pin on Garments in Pregnancy: A Belief and Cultural Practice with Potential Harmful Effect
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5963120/#b37
  3. Solar eclipse & pregnant women: Let’s debunk some myths & talk business
    https://www.artofliving.org/in-en/culture/solar-eclipse-and-pregnant-women
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Sadiya Qamar

Sadiya is a writer and editor with a passion for writing about parenthood and children. Her focus areas are health, wellness, and beauty. For MomJunction, she writes on kids’ health and nutrition.  Sadiya believes in doing in-depth research and providing accurate information to help parents with concerns on their children’s growth and development.

Dr. Pamela Adhiambo Muga

(MMed)
Dr. Pamela Adhiambo Muga is a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist at the Nairobi Hospital and Willows Clinic for Women. She is registered with the Kenya Medical and Dental Practitioners Council and is a member of the Royal College of Obstetrician Gynecologists UK (MRCOG). A trainer in the Advanced Life Support courses run by the Kenya Red Cross (American Heart Association), Dr. Pamela... more

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