Despite warnings issued by the Islamic Republic Ministry of Health about the negative consequences of preterm birth, the roads leading to the maternity hospitals and clinics in Iran's capital city Tehran witnessed abnormal heavy traffic on October 29.
The day fell on 8/8/1398 of the Iranian calendar. Hundreds of pregnant women in Tehran rushed to the clinics and hospitals to deliver their babies on the "luxury" magical date of triple 8, i.e., 8/8/8.
Apparently, according to numerology, the magic number is loaded with good omens, including wisdom and an abundance mindset that attracts opportunities for all born on 8/8/8.
On that day, the number of Cesarean births in a single hospital in Tehran was threefold of average days, the government's official daily, Iran, reported.
Hundreds of mothers begged to deliver their babies through Caesarean section to have babies born on triple 8.
Believing in numerology has become trendy in the past decade in the Islamic Republic. Many families even plan to have babies on a luxury "rounded numbers."
Ten years ago, on 8/8/1398, the number of births by Caesarean section compared with the previous day doubled for the first time, the Ministry of Health Office of Family and Population Health reported.
However, the office has explicitly warned that preterm birth amounts to child abuse, insisting, "Premature birth can lead to respiratory disorder, brain damage and heart complications in the baby to the extent that, in many cases, these are not reversible."
The Deputy Health Minister, Iraj Harirchi, has warned that manipulating a baby's birthday can pose a serious risk to the child.
"Babies' brain mainly develops during the last three months of the pregnancy, while Cesarean birth is usually conducted a week ahead. Therefore, through Cesarean, the baby would be deprived of a golden week for developing its brain," Harirchi says, insisting, "Babies born by Caesarean birth are usually prone to infection and lung inefficiency."
Out of one million and 350,000 deliveries each year in Iran, nearly 50% are conducted by Cesarean. In contrast, the ideal figure should be below 18%, Harirchi noted.
In 18 months, Iran will begin a new millennium; the year 1400. Some wonder what other luxury dates prospective Iranian moms will think of. The first day of the year will fall on March 21, 2021. Will they choose to have more preterm births on 1/1/1400, or 1/14/1400?