Fewer Halloween Births
November 1, 2011 by staff
For the study, researchersanlyzed nearly 2.5 million birth certificates for the week before and after two holidays between 1996 and 2006.
On Halloween there was a decline of 5.3 percent of births “spontaneous” or vgnal and a decrease of 16.9 percent of births by caesarean section, compared to other births that occur within a week before and one week after the October holidays.
By contrast, in the Valentine’s Day was an increase of 3.6 percent of births and spontaneous increase of 12.1 percent of births by caesarean section, after taking the day of the week into account.
“Our findings raise the possibility that pregnant women may be able to control the timing of spontaneous delivery, in contrast to the traditional idea, and scheduled deliveries are also influenced by cultural representations of the two holidays,” Becca Levy, the study author and associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at Yale University and his co-authors concluded.
The researchers predicted that the positive connotations of Valentine’s Day, with its symbols of cherubs and hearts, can increase a pregnant woman to start her birth.
It is also speculated that the negative connotations of Halloween – as symbols of the skeleton – can be perceived as a threat, leading to a decrease in the willingness of women to give birth.
“Our findings indicate the need to adapt the obstetrical staffing Valentine’s Day and Halloween for the respective peaks and troughs of births,” the study authors suggested.
The trends may influence the hormonal mechanisms that control the time of birth, the researchers speculated.
The study was published in the October issue of the journal Social Science and Medicine.
The two parties had the benefit of broad participation, not that often result from the absence from work for doctors.
An earlier study in Taiwan showed an increase in births by caesarean section on auspicious days and decreases in the days of bad luck the Chinese lunar calendar.
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