My daughter is obsessed with full moons. Ever since she heard they all had names, she's needed to know each time we have a full moon. She wasn't a full moon baby, though, surprisingly, although plenty of children are. Ask any labor and delivery nurse how she feels about a full moon and she'll probably groan, but are you more likely to give birth during a full moon? Because my kids were both crescent moon babies, but the jokes about a full moon sending women into labor never stop.
True and embarrassing story — when I was 17 years old, I stole my sister's drivers license and went and got my first tattoos. I got a sun on one side and a moon on the other. My moon is a crescent moon, and my husband once asked me, "Why not get a full moon?" Answering honestly, I said, "I did not want that kind of energy on my body."
My mother is director of an emergency department, and more than once, I've heard her say "must be a full moon," whenever the proverbial crap hits the fan at work. To me, a full moon meant broken bones and nurses getting punched and a guy who touched his junk so much he broke it. You can see why I went with the happy crescent on a purple background. That and it was early aughts and celestial crap was everywhere.
Therefore, when the full moon came and went during my pregnancy, I was surprised. Wasn't I supposed to just fall into labor at that point? Are you more likely to give birth during a full moon?
According to Duke University, that's all hogwash. You're no more likely to give birth during a full moon than you are at any other phase of the lunar cycle. However, if there happens to be a storm during the full moon, Duke University notes you've got something to go on. Researchers found that a change in barometric pressure can affect when a woman goes into labor, but it would be the fault of the thunder, not the moon. There are also other weather-related birth patterns present in scholarly literature.
Your birth may be influenced by season, though. Studies have found that low income and teen mothers with unplanned pregnancies are more likely to deliver during the winter season, while women who actively plan their pregnancies are more likely to give birth in the spring and early summer.
So, if we can chart births so accurately, why is it that we hold to the idea that the full moon brings out the wild in humanity or calls forth children to be born? In an article in The Washington Post, it's cited that the light exposure and thoughts surrounding it are one possible hypothesis. Another is that researchers just don't know enough; there is so much anecdotal evidence surrounding the full moon. I've spoken to multiple nurses and police and firefighters and they've all said the same thing. "The full moon changes things."
The Washington Post is right in that one study does not a theory prove. Sure, it might be all the mythos and hype having a placebo effect on the responders, but that's a lot of placebo. I know that you'd never convince my cousin, a prosecutor in New York City, that the full moon doesn't have an effect that's measurable, and she texts me all sorts of data. It at least merits further study. While the main study was a five-year, longitudinal study, it took place at one main locus, and maybe expansion is required.
In the end, it's possible that none of my werewolf love stories got it right. But, if you do go into labor during the full moon, please, just say "must be a full moon," to be funny. I guarantee your nurses will laugh.
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