Is a solar eclipse harmful to pregnancy? - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Is a solar eclipse harmful to pregnancy?

Many myths surround an eclipse but is it actually harmful to pregnant bodies? Many myths surround an eclipse but is it actually harmful to pregnant bodies?

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Myths have long swirled around total solar eclipses and expectant mothers usually hear a flurry of advice and old wives' tales. The combination of the upcoming solar eclipse and pregnancy brings a whole new batch of stories and myths to the forefront of conversation. 

Various cultures have different takes on the effects eclipses may have on a pregnancy. 

In 2012, BabyCenter compiled some of the "craziest" things mothers have been told to do during an eclipse.

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Expecting mothers said they have been told to: 

  • Wear red and metal to protect the baby
  • Lie flat during the eclipse
  • Avoid going outside or touching their stomachs
  • Avoid sharp objects
  • Avoid anything magnetic
  • Be wary if you're approaching your due date

An Aztec myth states that a baby born during an eclipse will have a cleft palate. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a cleft palate is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and may the result of exposure to specific chemicals and medication. 

The eyes are the most susceptible to the light from an eclipse. Unprotected eyes can develop permanent damage in as few as 100 seconds when looking directly at the sun. Fraser McKay, a consultative optometrist with Bennett & Bloom, said using non-certified glasses or looking at the sun can cause permanent damage. 

"There is no current treatment to reverse the damage from solar retinopathy so I encourage patients to operate on the safe side rather than assume that they can look at it without proper eyewear," McKay said.

Click here to learn how to view the eclipse without hurting your eyes. 

NASA's eclipse site states that there is no evidence that eclipses have a physical effect on humans. "Although there are no direct physical effects involving known forces, the consequences of the induced human psychological states have indeed led to physical effects, " NASA's website said. 

It's recommended that pregnant women who are concerned about the upcoming eclipse should contact their healthcare provider. To those pregnant willing to fight superstitions, throw down a blanket and enjoy the eclipse, make sure someone is there to help you stand back up once the eclipse is over. 

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