Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The moon may have been hailed as the god of fertility and delivery, but a team of Indian doctors debunks the age-old myth that different phases of the Earth’s natural satellite influence childbirth

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  The moon may have been hailed as the god of
fertility and delivery, but a team of Indian doctors debunks the
age-old myth that different phases of the Earth’s natural satellite
influence childbirth.

Many people in different parts of the world including those in
developed nations believe that the waning and waxing of the moon
affects the pregnancy with more number of children born on the days
when the moon is full. In fact, hospitals in rural areas in the
country gear up on full moon days in anticipation of more births.

Doctors from Midnapore Medical College and Hospital studied old
medical records of childbirths in village hospitals covering a whole
lunar year (354 days) to verify the long-held myth that the lunar
cycle influences the pregnancy cycle. A thorough analysis of the data
of about 10,000 births mostly spontaneous deliveries without external
induction of labour pains revealed that there was no significant
difference in the frequency of births during various phases of the
lunar cycle regardless of route of delivery (natural or caesarean).

“Our observations do not support the hypothesis of a relationship
between lunar cycle and the frequency of obstetric deliveries,” the
researchers said in the study published in the latest issue of the
Indian Journal of Public Health. The team comprised Dr Saswata
Bharati, Dr Malay Sarkar, Dr Partha Sarathi Haldar, Dr Swapan Jana and
Dr Subrata Mandal.

Stating that the moon is related with fertility, pregnancy and
delivery, the researchers said even professional obstetricians notice
an increase in demand for obstetric care on the days when the moon is
full, particularly in rural India. Research studies conducted in
different countries were in contradiction to one another. Setting
controversies on the issue to rest, the Indian team ruled out any
connection whatsoever between childbirth and the lunar cycle.

As part of the research, the team divided the childbirths into four
groups, each group correlating to four different phases of the moon –
new moon day, days between new moon and full moon, full moon day, and
days between full moon and new moon. They also had a fifth group with
average of the entire lunar month. There was no significant difference
in the average number of childbirths in any given group.

“The effect of lunar phase has been studied for the incidence rate of
patient falls in the hospital, surgical complications, postoperative
nausea and vomiting, myocardial infarction, trauma and traffic
accidents, behavior, psychiatric problems suicidal tendencies, crime
rates, and even gout attacks. Although, some of the studies found
associations of events with lunar cycle, most of the studies either
could not find enough evidence to support the association or exclude
the possibility of any association in conclusion,” the researchers said.

They concluded that the different phases in the lunar cycle, neither
the full moon nor the new moon appear to have any influence over the
nature and distribution of deliveries.

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