Superstitions about certain calendar dates may influence when you give birth
Spooked by the thought of having your baby on Halloween, but in love with the notion of a Valentine’s Day birth? You’re not alone, Mama!
When it comes to ghosts and witches versus roses and candy hearts, a decade’s worth of birth statistics shows that natural births in the US take a nose-dive on October 31, but spike on February 14. Coincidence? Or can superstitions and feelings about certain calendar dates really determine your due date? Researchers from Yale University who unearthed the statistics believe that strong feelings about giving birth on a certain day may consciously or unconsciously influence the body’s hormonal mechanisms. Hormones, in turn, are able to “tell” your body to speed up or slow down when you begin labor.
In other words, delivering on October 31, a day many of us associate with ghost, ghouls, witches—and let’s face it, death—may just be too scary a proposition. But on the other hand, if your due date is in February, you may yearn for birth on February 14, a day filled with images of cherubs and love. And your body’s hormones may just respond to these thoughts! Pretty cool, huh?
In the study, published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, researchers looked at more than three million birth records from babies born in the US between 1996 and 2006. Sure enough, records showed a 3.4 percent increase in induced births, a 3.6 percent lift in spontaneous births, and a 12.1 rise in Cesarean deliveries on February 14 (compared to the week before and week after this date). Records also showed a spooky trend on Halloween in the form of an 18.7 percent drop in induced births, a 16.9 percent dip in Cesarean deliveries, and a 5.3 percent fall in spontaneous births compared to days surrounding the ghostly holiday, reports MSNBC.
The power of superstition is not just a North American thing either. In Taiwan, a 2003 study showed an increase in scheduled births on auspicious days and decreases on inauspicious days, according to the Chinese lunar calendar.
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