It’s a full moon tonight with a lunar eclipse! Get ready to have your baby?
So the moon is full and better yet, we have a lunar eclipse to add to the chance that your baby may arrive. Get ready, here are some “old wives tales” surrounding the full moon, eclipse, and birth.
So, what is an “Old Wives Tale?”
Old wives tales where bits of wisdom, information, or council handed down from older women to younger women. The term “old wives” come from the connection of midwives to the women of their community. Midwives have been around since biblical times and have been a cornerstone to their civilizations, coming under scrutiny and persecution at times for their support of the women and children of they served. Over time, old advise became superstition or “old wives tales” giving rise to their dismissal as possible truth or words of wisdom. Some old wives tales may have been proven true through scientific study. Some include:
1. Having a long and intense labor increases your chance of having a boy. According to a hospital survey in Dublin, Ireland
2. Hot baths can damage sperm. Proven by a study done by the University of California in a study in 2007.
3. Heartburn in pregnancy may mean a head full of hair. John Hopkins set out to disprove the old wives tale, they actually proved it true.
So what about the “Old Wives Tale” and the moon? Surely that is true, right?
Traditionally it is said that women will be more likely to give birth over a full moon. However, Dr. Heine, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist disputes the connection. "People have thought a full moon is responsible for many things -- bad or good -- through time. So when babies were born in a full moon, it naturally became the reason, rather than just the normal time," The director of Midwifery services for Duke also agrees, adding that the reason this myth has persisted for so long is likely because of strong cultural ties. "There are lots of belief systems and cultures around the world linking the cycle of the moon and women’s fertility," she says.
So the “Old Wives Tale” about the moon may not be true but are there any other “Old Wives Tales” that would encourage labor?
Actually, yes there are. Let’s consider the more accurate yet less discussed “When a storm comes a baby comes” wives tale. Incoming storms change the barometric pressure and can cause labor to occur. According to a study done by the “archives of Obstetrics and Gynecology” barometric pressure is directly related to spontaneous labor and delivery. Barometric pressure increases on days that are sunny and lowers on days when their are more clouds and storms. This change can increase the chance of your membranes rupturing or can cause an increase in braxton hicks. Midwives may notice babies with the full moon here or there, however there is a direct correlation to babies being born when a large storm system comes through.
My thoughts as a midwife on the matter:
Women have their babies when the time is right. To rush the process is to invite trouble. This Fourth of July is a time to enjoy what is in the moment for now. It is interesting to note that when a holiday rolls around, women are preoccupied with the festivities, the family, the food, and the environment. I find most of my calls out to a labor occur after everyone has settled and are resting and enjoying their evening. In that brief moment, stressful or not, women turn their brain to something other than watching their body for symptoms. Sometimes they relax, they laugh with friends, they enjoy their family. This break, I believe makes the difference.