Thursday, July 29, 2010

Worrying mahurat cesarean trend in India

'Are you planning a mahurat C-section?' asks Zeenia Baria in The Times of India today.

Baria reports on a worrying trend for some planned cesareans in India, and that is the decision by couples to insist on a particular time and date for the birth of their babies. It's unclear from the report whether parents are being influenced within days or weeks of their advised delivery date, but if it's the latter, this can mean serious health consequences for a newborn baby (e.g. respiratory distress).

"Obstetrician, Gynaecologist and infertility specialist Dr Faram Irani says... “Unlike the West where women request for a c-section because of the pain associated with vaginal birth or fear of damage to the pelvic floor; in India many c-sections are performed on the basis of mahurat..."

What do they hope to achieve?
"Longevity, health, marital harmony, career prospects, eclipses and domestic peace of the offspring are the biggest motivators for such couples. The astrologer formulates the most auspicious time for delivery after asking the would-be parents for the tentative delivery dates, place, time zone and DST (daylight saving time). Due to the astrological factors involved, the mahurat differs for every couple. Although they cost more than double, deliveries at sunrise are among the most auspicious."

"Gynaecologist Dr Rishma Pai Dhillon says that the trend of having mahurat babies or a planned caesarean section on an auspicious date, is getting increasingly popular among patients and is giving doctors a headache because it comes with its share of complications.

“I recently had to rush to the hospital at an unearthly hour to deliver a mahurat baby. If one refuses, one is flooded with phone calls from senior politicians and affluent bureaucrats to oblige. Mahurat babies or mahurat c-section is a controversial trend that middle and upper class women across the country are increasingly opting for. It involves planned deliveries and surgical caesarean sections in the hopes of having babies on a specific date and time predicted lucky by their astrologers. Families are so particular about the exact time of delivery that they create a ruckus if the previous surgeon is delayed in the operation theatre. This puts tremendous stress on doctors. It isn’t fair to hurry up such a delicate procedure,” she says.

“The reasons for having a mahurat baby are often credulous. One patient’s astrologer said that if her child was delivered at the right time, it would be a fair-skinned boy, who would look after his parents in their old age. How can the time of delivery change a baby’s gender, which is decided at conception itself!” asks Dr Pai.

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