Is there any truth to this rumor? Well, it depends on who you ask…
Proponents argue that the moon impacts the human body much the same way as it impacts the tides – after all, the human body is about 80% water. Per the Lunar Effect theory, the full moon ‘stirs up’ the amniotic fluid, potentially triggering labor.
Some studies back up the Lunar Effect theory. One 1959 study found more babies were born in a three-day window around the full moon; another 1966 study found similar results. However, these two studies seem to be the exception, not the rule. Most studies on the Lunar Effect theory can’t find a strong correlation. One 2005 study looked at 564,039 births in North Carolina between 1997 and 2001 and found “no predictable influence of the lunar cycle on deliveries or complications”
That doesn’t mean that strong anecdotal evidence doesn’t exist – many, many labor and delivery nurses will tell stories of how their rooms become positively packed around the full moon. I know that the Bradley Method class prior to mine – all ten women – delivered their babies very close to one of two full moons, regardless of their due date. The Lunar Effect theory may just be an old wives’ tale, but it’s certainly a widely-held belief… and maybe, just maybe, there’s actually something to it.
Regardless of whether it’s true or not, you can bet I’ll be outside tonight, staring up at the big, bright moon, praying my baby decides to make an entrance.
In case you’re due in the next few months and are curious when your nearest full moon will be, here are the dates for the rest of the 2012 full moons, according to the Farmers’ Almanac:
- July 3
- August 1
- August 31
- September 29
- October 29
- November 28
- December 28