Do Full Moons Really Induce Labor?

by Jenna Paton June 03, 2024

family looking at the moon

As I approached 41 weeks pregnant, my days were methodically centered around inducing labor. I spent my mornings cautiously balancing on a yoga ball while working and followed lunch with a curb walking session, I’m sure looking absolutely ridiculous to the neighbors. Before I brushed my teeth, I capped my day off with a 30-minute stretch routine. In between these activities, my diet now included pineapple juice, hot sauce on most meals, and 6 raw dates, which is a feat in itself considering the amount of chewing required to consume them. Having felt confident that certainly the combination of these experiments would kickstart labor, I couldn’t help feeling a bit defeated as week number 3 was closing in without one contraction. Any woman who's been in this boat understands the heightened desperation and determination not-so-patiently awaiting your baby’s arrival. So each day I bounced and walked and chewed.

One particular morning as I bounced and scrolled through more lists of natural labor inducers hoping I somehow missed my golden ticket, I had a sudden memory of my Grandmother. I was a young teen and my very pregnant Aunt was in a similar situation; balloon bellied, completely nested, and impatient. My Grandmother wasn’t concerned and confidently told me the full moon would work her magic.

My frantic fingers Googled ‘when is the next full moon’ anxious for any assistance, even from Mother Nature. Yet immediately crushed when I registered it was two weeks away. While the full moon didn’t kickstart my labor, I hear this theory all the time. So where did this theory come from and is there any truth to it?

Motherly Nature

Women are naturally connected to the earth. The main symbolism of our womanhood, our menstrual cycle, is the same length as the moon cycle. And with the moon controlling the tides, you can certainly argue that women are connected to both the sky and the earth.

While there’s no significance of the new moon starting every woman’s period (which would be equally amazing and terrifying if all women on the planet were synced) or the tides corresponding to our flow, there is a theory that at one point in time it did. I look at our cycles as a historical relic. A strong, silver web tying the moon, the tides, and women on earth. With the modern world and technology, that web has slowly weakened. But a thin, transparent strand can still be traced in the right light. Potentially, this thin connection could be powerful enough to impact childbirth for some women.

Eclipse Babies

In fact, in April of this year much of the United States witnessed a total solar eclipse. The lead up focused on the rarity of this event and where to buy your sun-staring safety glasses. But the next day the stories had a theme: childbirth. From Texas to Maine, national and local news outlets shared stories highlighting babies born during the path of the eclipse.

My niece was one of these eclipse babies. She came into this world with a textbook labor; contractions starting on their own, slowly increasing overnight, and rapidly progressing the last few hours, coincidentally during the eclipse. It was the type of labor that many women wish for. Personally, I’m convinced the planetary movement had a heavy hand in her labor. And judging by the news stories I’m not alone. Even if you find astrology, stars aligning, or fate a total waste of time, the flood of stories on eclipse babies is hard to ignore. There is a collective thought that maybe, just maybe, the planets can influence a child’s entrance into the world.

What The Experts Say

There have been several studies done on this exact topic. I focused on two more recent studies, one from 2011 and one from 2020. Both concluded there was no direct link between childbirth and the lunar phases. Whomp whomp. However, the 2020 study did find that babies born at night were more likely to be born during the full moon. Meaning that of the births they studied, the night births most occurred during the full moon. While not exactly resounding proof, it leaves the door cracked.

I also spoke to a retired baby nurse, Mary Swingle, for her opinion on the topic. Mary is my husband’s Aunt and rotated between the newborn nursery, Labor & Delivery, and Maternity units for 9 years. “As a nurse, we would often think it was going to be a busy night in the nursery when there was a full moon. Many times it was crazy busy. People say it’s an old wives tale or myth. I believe most studies will also say the numbers are not there. However, if you ask any nurse many believe there is something about the full moon!”

Conclusion

While there’s no scientific proof supporting the full moon theory, in practice there is a strong collective consensus that there’s truth to it. Maybe that’s enough. For me, I will still advocate the old wives tales, including the next full moon to expectant friends and family. It can’t hurt and any help from Mother Nature is welcome in my book, especially when eagerly anticipating your baby’s arrival.




Jenna Paton

Author



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