A Jack O'Lantern
A recently published study suggests that women might be consciously avoiding Halloween births. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

A recently published study suggests that pregnant women may be timing their births to avoid delivery on certain dates. The research indicated that Halloween births are being avoided and Valentine’s Day births are being induced by natural or artificial means.

Study shows possible superstition

There is a lot of superstition about Halloween, and it may lead some women to avoid giving birth on Oct. 31. A study recently published by researchers from Yale University in the Journal of Social Science and Medicine indicates that some pregnant women are avoiding giving birth on Halloween, according to the Daily Mail. They also found some are trying to give birth on Valentine’s Day.

Spontaneous birth numbers fluctuate

The report, titled “Influence of Valentine’s Day and Halloween on Birth Timing,” found that the number of “spontaneous births,” or natural deliveries, decreased around Halloween by 5.3 percent. Spontaneous births, however, increased by 3.6 percent around Valentine’s Day.

The report also found, according to the press release on Yale’s website, that Cesarean sections increased by 12.1 percent around Valentine’s Day. Cesarean births declined by 16.9 percent on Halloween.

The study focused on birth patterns over an 11-year period, using data from birth certificates. Interestingly, a greater number of births were recorded on Halloween than on Valentine’s Day. During the years in the study, there were 1.8 million births on or around Halloween compared to 1.6 million births on or around Valentine’s Day. Given that Halloween is approximately 37 weeks after Valentine’s Day, close to the length of a term pregnancy, maybe there is something to that.

However, it is suggested that birth timing may be influenced by cultural factors, according to The Telegraph. Researchers suggested that pregnant females might be able to “expedite or delay spontaneous births, within a limited time frame, in response to cultural representations.”

Halloween births and other events

Halloween, according to Wikipedia, coincides with Samhain, a pagan holiday in Gaelic cultures, often associated with pre-Christian Ireland. Samhain, pronounced “Sow-when,” is the fall harvest observance. However, being born on Halloween really isn’t so bad.

According to the Daily Mail, people born on Halloween include actors John Candy and Michael Landon, Will and Jada Smith’s daughter Willow Smith, Academy Award-winning director of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy Peter Jackson and rapper Vanilla Ice.

Astronaut Michael Collins, news anchor Dan Rather and former Chicago Bears running back Brian Piccolo, subject of the movie “Brian’s Song,” were also born on Halloween. Martin Luther famously nailed the “95 Proclamations,” or “95 Theses,” on a church door in Wittenburg in 1517 on Oct. 31. On Halloween in 1864, Nevada became the 36th state of the U.S.


Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2051451/Can-control-timing-childbirth-How-women-avoiding-having-Halloween-babies.html

Yale: http://publichealth.yale.edu/news/news/2011/levy.aspx

The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8839494/Pregnant-women-can-control-when-they-give-birth.html

Wikipedia on October 31: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_31

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