At 8:05am (EST) Wednesday morning I became an uncle for the second time. This was a little bit of a surprise since this little guy was not due for another five weeks. This wasn’t the first time that my sister in law gave birth early and it just so happened to coincide on the new moon. Just over three years ago in May of 2009, I was still living in Victoria at the time and my wife had arrived from Vancouver to spend the weekend with me. I always keep a close eye on the lunar phases and noticed that it was to be a new moon on the Saturday night of that weekend. Although my sister in law was not due for another two weeks and first babies usually hold out a little longer, I had a feeling something might be happening. I suggested for my wife to call her sister and just give her a gentle hint to be ready just in case. Thankfully she did. On Sunday the labour process started and by Monday morning I became an uncle.
Gardeners, fishermen, surfers and anyone else who already lives by the lunar cycles will not find this story all that surprising but for the rest of us that live by the Gregorian calendar it may not be something that we even considered. Knowing that the human body is made up of over 60% water it should not be all that shocking that this water would also be affected by the lunar phases and the gravitational pull of the moon in a similar way that the tides are in the ocean. The menstrual cycle of women is the same amount of time as one lunar cycle and in First Nation cultures the time of menstruation is actually referred to as a woman’s ‘moon’. When a woman is pregnant the monthly release of an egg (ovulation) and subsequent shedding of the endometrial lining (menstruation) are not taking place but the rhythm of this process continues to have an influence on the fluid physiology of the mother and the developing fetus. The time from the start of the cycle within which the child is conceived begins the 10 cycles of gestation. We often just think of it as 9 months or 40 weeks but we can also view it as 10 lunar cycles.
The connection between the lunar cycle, phases of the moon and gravitational pull has been studied around the world with varying results and many that have negated it. In France a review of 5,927,978 spontaneous births (without the use of induction) revealed that more babies are born between the last quarter and the new moon, and fewer are born in the first quarter of the moon. A study in New York found that an equal number of births were observed at the new moon as the full moon so the waxing or waning of the moon did not affect labour. In my clinical experience I have certainly noticed a connection and many of the midwives, nurses and doulas I speak with seem to be in consensus that there is a correlation. My advice to all of the expectant mothers I work with is to look ahead at your calendar and if there is a new moon or full moon before when your due date is supposed to be and have your midwife, doula, birthing partner or your hospital suitcase on reserve and ready to go. Some of the moons can be more powerful than others, the current new moon happens to coincide with a lunar eclipse which will be visible in northern Australia where there are forecasted tidal swells of 6 meters.
I would love to hear other people’s birthing stories and how the timing may have also been affected by the phase of the moon. To all of our pregnant readers I wish you a smooth labour and an exciting addition to your family.
All the best,
(The proud uncle – twice over)
1. Guillon P, Guillon D, Lansac J, Soutoul JH, Bertrand P, Hornecker JP. Births, fertility, rhythms and lunar cycle. A statistical study of 5,927,978 births.J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod (Paris). 1986;15(3):265-71.
2. Joshi R, Bharadwaj A, Gallousis S, Matthews R. Labor ward workload waxes and wanes with the lunar cycle, myth or reality? Prim Care Update Ob Gyns. 1998 Jul 1;5(4):184.