Halloween is already a hectic day for parents. Now, a Yale University study suggests many pregnant women want to keep their child’s birthday out of that mix.
The study found a significant decrease in births on Halloween in the United States over an 11-year period. It found an increase in births on Valentine’s Day.
The results raise the possibility that pregnant women can control the timing of spontaneous births.
It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to miss their due dates by a week or two, but it’s unknown what exactly determines variability within that span, said Becca Levy, associate professor of epidemiology and psychology who led the study.
The study found spontaneous births decreased 5.3 per cent on Halloween, but increased 3.6 per cent on Valentine’s Day.
Scheduled births were heavily influenced by the holidays, according to the study. Caesarian births jumped 12.1 per cent on Valentine’s Day, but decreased 16.9 per cent on Halloween.
The research team selected widely recognized holidays, Levy said. Halloween, a day whose imagery includes themes of death and fear “is probably counter to the kinds of associations people want to have with having a child,” she said.