Busting Tamil cinema's 'checking pregnancy by pulse' myth

This weekly column debunks the various myths propagated by Indian cinema—Tamil films in particular.
A still from Super Kudumbam
A still from Super Kudumbam

Catching the pulse is enough to confirm pregnancy
Propagated in 'Super Kudumbam' and loads of other Tamil films

In Tamil cinema, particularly films set in a village, there is usually a checklist that is followed before it is declared that a woman is pregnant. First up, the woman in question will be found vomiting in the backyard.

If not, she will drop unconscious, usually in front of her shocked family. What ensues is the local doctor getting called to ascertain the problem. And then, happens the miracle. The doctor catches the wrist of the patient, checks her pulse, takes a deep breath, and declares her pregnant. Often, accurately to the point of conveying how old the foetus is.

Dr Sabeeha, obstetrician and gynaecologist, Cauvery Hospital, doesn’t watch too many films. “The profession consumes enough of my time,” she says, and proceeds to rubbish the idea that pregnancy can be determined by checking the pulse. There are simpler methods, she says. “In India, even the smallest of pharmacies have urine pregnancy kits.

Sure, there is the possibility of a false positive. This is why you usually consult a real doctor and take a blood test to confirm it.” She says she’s not qualified enough to comment on how detrimental it is to promote such misplaced ideas in films, but believes that with modern advancements, there is no need to take recourse in such incorrect methods. So, there you go. That’s another few films we’ve ruined for you. You’re welcome.

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The New Indian Express