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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 152-154  

The effect of the lunar cycle on frequency of births: A retrospective observational study in Indian population


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Anaesthesiology, Midnapore Medical College, Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal, India
2 Assistant Professor, Department of Anaesthesiology, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Midnapore Medical College, Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal, India
3 Associate Professor, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Midnapore Medical College, Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal, India
4 Associate Professor, Department of Anaesthesiology, Midnapore Medical College, Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal, India

Date of Web Publication21-Aug-2012

Correspondence Address:
Saswata Bharati
Assistant Professor, Department of Anaesthesiology, Midnapore Medical College, Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-557X.99913

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   Abstract 

For ancient period moon has been held responsible for many biological activities. That way, lunar cycle, by activity of moon, has been held responsible for increase in number of child birth. In this retrospective, observational study, we examined a total of 9890 full-term spontaneous deliveries as well as non-elective cesarean sections that occurred throughout 12 lunar months (February 7 th , 2008-January 25 th , 2009) in a rural medical college to evaluate the influence of the lunar position on the distribution of deliveries among Indian population. Student's 't' test and ANOVA were used for statistical analysis where each delivery was considered as a single measure. We found no significant differences in the frequency of births during various phase of lunar cycle regardless of route of delivery. Our observations do not support the hypothesis of a relationship between lunar cycle and the frequency of obstetric deliveries.

Keywords: Cesarean section, Lunar cycle, Obstetric delivery


How to cite this article:
Bharati S, Sarkar M, Haldar PS, Jana S, Mandal S. The effect of the lunar cycle on frequency of births: A retrospective observational study in Indian population. Indian J Public Health 2012;56:152-4

How to cite this URL:
Bharati S, Sarkar M, Haldar PS, Jana S, Mandal S. The effect of the lunar cycle on frequency of births: A retrospective observational study in Indian population. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2012 [cited 2019 Jun 27];56:152-4. Available from: http://www.ijph.in/text.asp?2012/56/2/152/99913

In different cultures and mythologies, the moon is related with fertility, pregnancy and delivery. Professional obstetricians also notice an increase in demand for obstetric care on the days when the moon is full, particularly in rural India. Hospital organization in rural region, which is already under pressure due to limited resources and demands, needs to allocate resources with regard to lunar phase may have detrimental effects. There are various studies done on population groups from different parts of the world, using different study methods to correlate delivery processes to the phases of the moon with contradictory results. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7] We tried to find out any basis in fact which support these popular beliefs and to discover if lunar phases bear any influence on the distribution of deliveries among Indian population. Should there be any association between child birth frequency and lunar cycle, labor wards and emergency units should have adequate staff number and equipments in times with expected higher birth numbers.

In this retrospective and observational study, we examined 9890 patients of Indian origin, who went for spontaneous deliveries and non-elective cesarean sections at the Obstetric and Gynecologic ward of a rural medical college, between February 7 th , 2008 and January 25 th , 2009, covering 12 lunar months. Inclusion criteria for this study were: Spontaneous vaginal births without induction, vacuum and forceps extractions and non-elective cesarean sections without labor induction. Exclusion criterion was delivery induced by drugs such as oxytocin, prostaglandins, and delivery induced by mechanical methods such as membrane sweep and artificial rupture of membrane. Five groups were formed from the entire lunar cycle. Four of the groups were based on the days of new moon, mid-ascending lunar phase (from new moon to full moon), full moon, and mid-descending lunar phase (from full moon to new moon). Total numbers of births on a particular day or time phase were taken for analysis. Average value of the total births of the middle two days was taken, where the number of days was even between new moon to full moon or full moon to new moon for calculating the total number of births on mid-ascending and mid-descending lunar phase days. The fifth group comprised the average number of deliveries from all other days of a single lunar month except those specific days. The distribution of births among five groups for twelve lunar months was shown in [Table 1]. To see the lunar effect on the total number of births during different lunar phase, analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Student's 't' test were applied. VassarStats website was used for Statistical Computation. The number of total births on new moon, mid-ascending lunar phase, full moon and mid-descending lunar phase, and the average number of births from all other days of a lunar month except those specific days were compared using ANOVA test. The number of births on new moon day was compared to that of full moon day, and the number of births on mid-ascending lunar phase was compared to that of mid-descending lunar phase using Student's ' t' test. Similarly, Student's 't' test was applied to compare the total number of births between new moon and mid-ascending lunar phase, and between full moon day and mid-descending lunar phase.
Table 1: Number of births in different phases in twelve months (February 2008– January 2009; 12 lunar months)

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The mean values of the number of births of 12 lunar months on new moon day, mid-ascending lunar phase, full moon day, mid-descending lunar phase, and the fifth group comprising the average number of births from all other days of a lunar month were 30.25, 27.21, 28.92, 27.88 and 27.83, respectively. There was no difference present in number of births between new moon and full moon (P = 0.569; >0.05), mid-ascending and mid-descending lunar phase (P = 0.787; >0.05), new moon and mid-ascending lunar phase (P = 0.197; >0.05), and between full moon and mid-descending lunar phase (P = 0.676; >0.05) [Table 2]. The ANOVA test, comparing all the five groups, revealed no significant correlation (P = 0.6642; >0.05) in number of births among the different lunar phases [Table 3].
Table 2: Comparison of number of births between different groups [New moon, Full moon, Mid-ascending lunar phase, Mid-descending lunar phase]

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Table 3: One way ANOVA test of five groups [New moon, Full moon, Mid-ascending lunar phase, Mid-descending lunar phase, and Average number of deliveries occurring on other days of a lunar month excluding the specific days]

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The effect of lunar phase has been studied for the incidence rate of patient falls in the hospital, [8] surgical complications, [9] postoperative nausea and vomiting, [10] myocardial infarction, [11] trauma [12] and traffic accidents, [13] behavior, [14] psychiatric problems, [15] suicidal tendencies, [16] crime rates, [17] and even gout attacks. [18] Although, some of the studies found associations of events with lunar cycle, [11],[12],[17],[18] most of the studies either could not find enough evidence to support the association or exclude the possibility of any association in conclusion. [8],[9],[10],[13],[14],[15],[16]

Similarly, relationship of obstetric delivery with lunar cycle is not out of controversies. Although, some studies state in favor of positive association between them, [1],[2] most of the studies gave a dissent. [3],[4],[5],[6],[7] The correlation, when claimed, was found particularly in multigravida and around the full moon. [1],[2] Oliver Kuss and Anja Kuehn [19] conducted a retrospective cohort analysis on 4,071,669 live and stillbirths and found that there is no association of the lunar cycle and the number of births from south-west Germany. They applied spectral analysis to draw their conclusion. In our study, we could not find any association of lunar effect on number of obstetric delivery. The different phases in the lunar cycle, neither the full moon nor the new moon appear to have any influence over the nature and distribution of deliveries in this study.

In rural India, this myth is still persisting. It is very important to educate the common people, particularly the people of rural area, that the pregnancy and delivery is not influenced by moon and therefore there is no need for being panicked and to take unnecessary harsh decision regarding delivery of babies. They should consult the local doctor in rural hospital or primary health centre for maternal health and possible time for child birth. This myth should be explained for its no basis, as a part of social education. The challenge for healthcare professionals will be to choose the pregnant mothers at risk of imminent delivery and to give them utmost care using the limited resources available in rural hospital set up.

 
   References Top

1.Ghiandoni G, Seclì R, Rocchi MB, Ugolini G. Does lunar position influence the time of delivery? A statistical analysis. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 1998;77:47-50.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.Ghiandoni G, Seclì R, Rocchi MB, Ugolini G. Incidence of lunar position in the distribution of deliveries. A statistical analysis. Minerva Ginecol 1997;49:91-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Arliss JM, Kaplan EN, Galvin SL. The effect of the lunar cycle on frequency of births and birth complications. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2005;192:1462-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.Staboulidou I, Soergel P, Vaske B, Hillemanns P. The influence of lunar cycle on frequency of birth, birth complications, neonatal outcome and the gender: A retrospective analysis. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2008;87:875-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.Morton-Pradhan S, Bay RC, Coonrod DV. Birth rate and its correlation with the lunar cycle and specific atmospheric conditions. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2005;192:1970-3.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.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;5:184.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.Waldhoer T, Haidinger G, Vutuc C. The lunar cycle and the number of deliveries in Austria between 1970 and 1999. Gynecol Obstet Invest 2002;53:88-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.Schwendimann R, Joos F, De Geest S, Milisen K. Are patient falls in the hospital associated with lunar cycles? A retrospective observational study. BMC Nurs 2005;4:5.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.Kuehnl A, Herzog M, Schmidt M, Hornung HM, Jauch KW, Hatz RA, et al. The dark side of the moon: Impact of moon phases on long-term survival, mortality and morbidity of surgery for lung cancer. Eur J Med Res 2009;14:178-81.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.Kredel M, Goepfert C, Bassi D, Roewer N, Apfel CC. The influence of the weather and the phase of the moon on post-operative nausea and vomiting. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand 2006;50:488-94.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.Sha LR, Xu NT, Song XH, Zhang LP, Zhang Y. Lunar phases, myocardial infarction and hemorrheological character. A Western medical study combined with appraisal of the related traditional Chinese medical theory. Chin Med J (Engl) 1989;102:722-5.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.Stomp W, Fidler V, ten Duis HJ, Nijsten MW. Relation of the weather and the lunar cycle with the incidence of trauma in the Groningen region over a 36-year period. J Trauma 2009;67:1103-8.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.Laverty WH, Kelly IW. Cyclical calendar and lunar patterns in automobile property accidents and injury accidents. Percept Mot Skills 1998;86:299-302.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.Núñez S, Pérez Méndez L, Aguirre-Jaime A. Moon cycles and violent behaviours: Myth or fact? Eur J Emerg Med 2002;9:127-30.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.McLay RN, Daylo AA, Hammer PS. No effect of lunar cycle on psychiatric admissions or emergency evaluations. Mil Med 2006;171:1239-42.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.Voracek M, Loibl LM, Kapusta ND, Niederkrotenthaler T, Dervic K, Sonneck G. Not carried away by a moonlight shadow: No evidence for associations between suicide occurrence and lunar phase among more than 65,000 suicide cases in Austria, 1970-2006. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2008;120:343-9.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.Thakur CP, Sharma D. Full moon and crime. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;289:1789-91.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.Mikulecký M, Rovenský J. Gout attacks and lunar cycle. Med Hypotheses 2000;55:24-5.  Back to cited text no. 18
    
19.Kuss O, Kuehn A. Lunar cycle and the number of births: A spectral analysis of 4,071,669 births from South-Western Germany. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2008;87:1378-9.  Back to cited text no. 19
    



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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