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Pregnancy Old Wives’ Tale #2: The Full Moon Effect: Fact or Fiction?

As I look into the morning sky and see a full moon on the way to work, I certainly say to myself with a touch of sarcasm, “Great, full moon… lucky me.”  It certainly feels like we are busier on labor and delivery units on or around a full moon.  Ask any L&D nurse and they will tell you with confidence that more babies are born during a full moon.   

The moon has been linked in folklore to many aspects of human behavior.  People give credit to this lunar effect for conception/fertility rates, birth rates, ER visits, homicides, and suicides.  What is it about the moon that leads to this… or is it just one big myth propagated over generations.  The moon seems to have an effect on different worldly phenomena.  After all, we know ocean tides rise and fall with the moons gravitation pull.  Women’s menstrual cycles, about 4 weeks long, seem to be on a lunar calendar.

With regards to childbirth, let’s look at the evidence.  The best study out there is from Asheville, NC as published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in May 2005.  Birth certificate data for nearly 570,000 births over 67 moon cycles from 1997-2001 were analyzed.  There was NO significant difference in the frequency of births, route of delivery, or birth complications across eight different phases of the moon.

So there it is… another old wives’ tale debunked.  I had faith that this one was real despite the fact that Dr. Privette delivered ZERO babies in the 24 hours of this summer’s “super-full-moon”.  Oh well, when I am on call during full moons, I will just have to be thankful that I am not outside with the werewolves.

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