Sunday, February 05, 2006

No Link Between Lunar Phase and Births/Deliveries

The Claim: Baby Deliveries Are in Sync With the Moon:

Is there any link between childbirth and the lunar cycle? Many ancient cultures looked upon the moon as a sign of fertility, and since Roman times people have blamed full moons for all sorts of human behaviors, hence the word lunacy, from the Latin word for moon.

But as mysterious and alluring as the link between full moons and births may sound, scientific studies suggest that it is more romance than reality.

Over the years, more than a dozen different studies in several countries have looked for a connection, and almost all have found none.

One of the most recent, published last year in The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, examined about 564,000 births across 62 lunar cycles in North Carolina between 1997 and 2001.

The lunar cycle, the study found, had no predictable influence on deliveries or birth complications at all.

Another study, which appeared much earlier in The New England Journal of Medicine, looked at thousands of births across 51 lunar cycles. It also reached that conclusion.

But scientists have found several factors that do affect workloads in maternity wards.

Most births occur in the summer and in September and October, said Kathleen Capitulo, the director of the Kravis Children's Hospital and Women's Center at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

There are also weekly cycles. Most childbirths occur later in the week, she said, because many women prefer having labor induced before the weekend, full moon or not.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Studies show that workloads in maternity wards are not affected by the full moon.


Blogger TBTAM said...

One wonders, though if fertility itself is affected by the moon. The date someone delivers depends on so many factors that using it as a benchmark for finding a link to fertility and the moon is probably futile. A better study would be to plot date of conception to the moon, and see what comes up, (I'm sure soneone else has thought of this and done it., I just am too lazy to go search the literature before posting this...)

9:42 AM  
Blogger coturnix said...

It is difficult to time fertilization, as it can occur several days after intercourse.

Women in group situations (college dorms, prisons) syncronize their menstrual cycles, but that is to each other, not to the phase of the moon - anecdotes notwithstanding.

10:23 AM  
Blogger MichaelBains said...

Not that anyone who is sold on Lunacy Prime will believe of this actual tabulation of births.

So many folks just need to believe what they already do.

Sad, but true.

11:45 AM  

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