Obviously, we've all heard that labor just happens "whenever." But then again, we also know that a stressed mother, or one who is afraid, can force labor to stall. Kind of like nature's way of saying, "Predator! Unsafe! Hold that baby in until we're safe!"
But a recent study from Yale's School of Public Health looked at birth certificate information and discovered something kind of crazy -- the number of births on Valentine's Day are increased and births on Halloween are decreased.
We're not just talking c-sections or inductions here, but even spontaneous labor, leading them to believe that mom's mental state can affect her body's choice of when to birth. Nah, really?
I can't really say I blame moms for not wanting to birth on Halloween. After all, even in the Celtic or Pagan traditions, celebrating Samhain, it's a celebration focusing on respecting or even communicating with dead loved ones or the dead in general. It's considered the start of the dark half of the year as well ... Samhain literally means "Summer's End" because it used to be that there were two seasons -- summer and winter. So yeah, I can't say I'd necessarily favor giving birth on a day about the dead, at the start of the cold and dark season. Even I was surprised to see just how significant the numbers were when it came to women's bodies naturally avoiding birth on October 31! A 5.3 percent decrease was seen in spontaneous birth, and a 16.9 percent decrease in c-sections.
However, a holiday considered positive about love and relationships shows the complete opposite: a 3.6 percent increase of spontaneous birth and a 12.1 percent increase of c-sections on Valentine's Day! Even my lovely friend's daughter was a V-day baby, all natural at home.
This wasn't small scale, by the way. They charted 3.4 MILLION births of a period of 11 years in the US.
The findings show that pregnant women may have some control over the timing of spontaneous births -- traditionally believed to be beyond their control, says the Yale School of Public Health website. Becky Levy, lead author and associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at Yale, said, “The study suggests that beliefs arising from our culture can have a greater impact on physical functioning than we might suspect."
So imagine that -- our mental state affects when we go into labor ... or don't go into labor.
Are you surprised there was such a large difference in births on those days?
Image via EditorB/Flickr