Astrologers & priests in Telangana decides not to fix auspicious muhurtam for C-sections delivery


Astrologers and priests in Telangana’s Karimnagar district have decided not to fix auspicious muhurtam (time) for the delivery of babies through Caesarian section (C-section) following the district administration initiative to promote normal deliveries. “It has become a practice for people to approach astrologers and pundits to fix auspicious time depending on favourable stars and planetary movements, not just for marriages, but also for the delivery of babies. The pregnant women are undergoing C-section exactly at the muhurtam fixed by these astrologers,” Karimnagar district collector R V Karnan said.

The collector held a meeting with astrologers, purohits, senior gynaecologists and child development project officers (CDPOs) of the district on Friday and discussed the issue of promoting normal institutional deliveries, which, according to experts, is good for both mother and child.

“C-section is advisable only when the normal delivery becomes complicated. Otherwise, it is completely unwarranted. I made an appeal to the astrologers and purohits to discourage such unscientific practice of conducting C-sections to deliver babies. The delivery should be as normal as possible and nobody can fix a time and date for delivery of the baby in an unscientific manner,” Karnan said. He pointed out that even doctors are asking the mothers whether they would like to undergo C-section -- an operation to deliver a baby through a cut made in the mother’s tummy and womb -- at a particular auspicious muhurtam. “This is not correct. The doctors should encourage pregnant women to undergo normal delivery and explain to them about the ill-effects of C-sections,” the collector said.

Karnan also released posters explaining the ill-effects of C-sections and the benefits of normal deliveries. He instructed the authorities to display the posters in all the government and private hospitals.

Following the meeting, the purohits and astrologers held a separate meeting in the district on Sunday and decided that they would not fix muhurtams for C-sections hereafter. They have also displayed a poster at some temples, requesting people not to pressurise them to suggest any auspicious time for the conduct of C-sections. “We have never encouraged any woman to undergo delivery only at a particular muhurtam. Child birth is a natural process and the muhurtam is fixed by God. But what can we do when the people come to us and fix a muhurtam for operations?” asked Nagaraja Sarma, a purohit in Karimnagar.

According to a study conducted by the NITI Aayog on the “Best practices in the performance of district hospitals in India,” in collaboration with the Union ministry of health and family welfare and World Health Organisation in October 2021, Telangana stands second in the country in the conduct of C-sections with 53.51 per cent of the total number of deliveries in the state. Tamil Nadu tops the list with 55.15 per cent C-section deliveries. The report said Telangana’s average in the conduct of C-section deliveries is more than twice the national average (20.80 per cent). And Karimnagar, with 69.93 per cent, is the second highest in conducting the C-sections in the country under the large hospitals category. Khammam, with 65.42 per cent C-sections, has the third-highest percentage of cases in the mid-sized hospitals category.

“Lack of awareness regarding the benefits of a normal delivery and fear of labour pains is forcing women in Karimnagar and Khammam hospitals to opt for C-section deliveries,” the NITI-Aayog report said.

A senior obstetrician at a private nursing home in Karimnagar said on condition of anonymity that the C-section is done only at the instance of the mothers, who want to avoid labour pains.“We don’t pressurise them to undergo surgery for the sake of money. But if we insist that a mother should undergo only normal delivery and not C-section, she will go to another nursing home for C-section,” she said, adding that it is better for the government to educate pregnant women. At a video conference with all district collectors on Sunday, state health minister T Harish Rao said the government was focussing on reducing C-sections and asked the district collectors to take initiative in this direction.

“Apart from keeping a tab on private nursing homes, the district authorities should take up a campaign among the people in a big way on the ill-effects of C-sections and benefits of normal deliveries,” he said.

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)