For the last three days, I have been delivering babies seemingly non-stop. An unusually large number of women have been coming into the hospital, ready to deliver within minutes.
I’m not a physicist, but I’ve spent a long time in labor and delivery, and in my personal experience, the number of births do seem to increase around full moons. And, in 24 hours coincidentally, the largest moon of the year will be upon us: the supermoon.
A number of factors, including the moon’s distance to Earth and its perigree, have converged to make this Saturday’s full moon the biggest and brightest of the year.
Also, while not scientifically proven, legends have it that the moon’s gravity is associated with setting women into labor, by rupturing the amniotic sac.
The full moon isn’t the only force in nature that some believe may be tied to inducing birth. People have speculated that the low barometric pressure caused by hurricanes may also cause birth rates to spike.
Again, studies are inconclusive. Past research published in the Journal of Nurse Midwifery found there tend to be more women going into labor in the 24 hours surrounding the drop in pressure, while another study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found women were less likely to give birth in times of low barometric pressure.
We also know that stress surrounding any event – especially something unfamiliar and uncontrollable – can cause labor as well.
So, my final word: If you’re a woman who is pregnant and approaching your due date, you may want to pack your bags for the hospital in anticipation of the supermoon this weekend.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.