Sex Ed

Halloween Is One Of The Least Popular Days To Give Birth

October 27, 2017 by Justin Lehmiller

The number of babies born each day naturally fluctuates throughout the year. However, researchers have found that certain days are linked to consistent increases or decreases in the birth rate. Believe it or not, one of the days linked to a reliable drop in births is Halloween.

The evidence for this comes from a 2011 study examining trends in the U.S. birth rate over an 11-year period [1]. Researchers focused specifically on births the week before and the week after Halloween during each of those years. They found that, overall, the odds of giving birth were 11.3% lower on Halloween compared to the other days in this two-week window. This was true for both spontaneous/natural births, as well as C-section deliveries. However, C-sections actually decreased more than did spontaneous births (a 16.9% decrease vs. a 5.3% decrease, respectively).

You’re probably wondering what’s going on here and, unfortunately, we can’t say for sure due to the correlational nature of the data. The researchers leading this study argued that the negative connotations of the holiday may create resistance to giving birth for some. For example, common Halloween symbols like skeletons may be perceived as threatening because they serve as reminders of death. In other words, whether consciously or subconsciously, Halloween symbolism may be seen as a bad omen for giving birth.

We need more research to confirm whether this explanation is correct; however, what we can conclude from this research is that if this year is anything like previous years, we can expect that fewer babies will be born on October 31.

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[1] Levy, B. R., Chung, P. H., & Slade, M. D. (2011). Influence of Valentine’s Day and Halloween on birth timing. Social Science & Medicine, 73(8), 1246-1248.

Image Source: 123RF/Sergii Koval

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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