Monday, May 7, 2012
by David Rose
Did you know that some maternity units actually have more staff available during periods of full moon?I’ve always been fascinated by the moon’s effect on nature, so when a friend’s wife conveyed to me what her midwife had told her during the birth of their daughter, I decided to find out more about childbirth, full moon and a possible link.
On speaking to various medical staff involved in natural childbirth, the first thing I learned was that expectant mothers often experience false signs of labor during full moon. Contractions known as “Braxton Hicks” — sometimes noticeable to the mother and sometimes not — become more pronounced and many travel to the maternity unit in the belief that “it’s time”. Disappointed — or perhaps relieved — they return home, the pains having subsided with no dilation of the cervix.
While these expectant mothers visiting the clinic with their mistaken signs of labor are part of the reason why extra staff are needed, the major difference is found in the number of women whose amniotic sac — the water — breaks.
Just as some women experience false labor pains, in cases where the water breaking marks the start of childbirth, full moon is the time when it’s most likely to happen. In order to discover for myself whether this could be true, I asked several female friends how their births had started. Those who responded with “the water breaking” were then asked the date of the birth. On checking this against a moon phase chart, I discovered that almost all had given birth on, or very close to, a full moon.
The theory is that the moon’s gravitational pull effects the amniotic fluid in much the same way as it effects the water in the sea, rivers and even the water that’s otherwise found in our bodies.
“There are published works that show that there is such a relationship. One study4 looked at 5,927,978 French births occurring between the months of January 1968 and the 31st December 1974. Using spectral analysis, it was shown that there are two different rhythms in birth frequencies: –a weekly rhythm characterized by the lowest number of births on a Sunday and the largest number on a Tuesday and an annual rhythm with the maximum number of births in May and the minimum in September-October. A statistical analysis of the distribution of births in the lunar month shows that more are born between the last quarter and the new moon, and fewer are born in the first quarter of the moon. The differences between the distribution observed during the lunar month and the theoretical distribution are statistically significant.” – Source: Full moon, Gravitational Pull and Childbirth, Birthsource.com
As a woman’s body prepares for natural childbirth, the amniotic sac becomes distended so the point where it will easily burst if put under pressure. Under normal circumstances, the pressure of labor contractions bursts the sac. During a full moon, the pressure caused by the moon’s effect on the water inside the sac can cause the same things to happen, but without the accompanying contractions.
When this happens, natural childbirth doesn’t always move forward and with no other signs of labor present, the obstetrician may decide to induce the birth. During my own study of this phenomenon I found that of 8 women whose births started with the water breaking at full moon, 5 of them had no accompanying contractions. A coincidence? Perhaps. But surely midwives wouldn’t prepare themselves for an increase in natural childbirth activity if there wasn’t some truth in this?
One midwife told me that when it comes to planning childbirth, full moons should always be looked for around the time of the expected delivery. If there’s one within a few days either side, the chances are your baby will be born on that day.
Theoretically, many of our cycles should be naturally in sync with the cycles of the nature. In a world devoid of electric lights, women’s menstrual cycles naturally synchronize with the phases of the moon in which they ovulate during the full moon and menstruate at the new moon (lunar fertility). There is more at play than simply gravitational pull. Total darkness signals your body to create melatonin and the sunlight of daybreak signals your body to stop this production. The light of the full moon is a signal for your body to cease melatonin production and that is what signals the start of ovulation. Electric lights are a huge potential factor in irregular ovulation.
That said, we all know that hormones play a role in spontaneous labor and while I have no idea how the moon influences the hormones specifically related to childbirth, it stands to reason that nature affects our bodies a lot more than the medical community would like us to believe.
To enhance the effects of moon, be sure to sleep in total 100% darkness. Even a small nightlight will throw off your melatonin levels. Make sure to get plenty of light during the day and open your blinds during the three days with the fullest moon. It may or may not help influence your birth but it will help your body connect with mother earth.
Lastly, if you really want to let yourself connect with nature during childbirth then do not let unscrupulous doctors or midwives “get things going” by induction or any other methods. If you trust birth and allow your baby to come into this world when he or she is good and ready then you may just experience birth during the full moon.
Buy the Book: The Moon and Childbirth
About the author:
David Rose is the creator of the popular moon software, QuickPhase Pro, the fun and easy way to view the phases of the moon. To learn more, visit http://www.quickphase.com