Despite Valentine’s Day being the most romantic day of the year, getting a date with your pregnant wife could be harder than you think, owing to the fact that she may be busy giving birth on that particular day.
According to research studies, more babies arrive on Valentine's Day than the week before or after it and the most intriguing part is, your wife might subconsciously choose that date!
In a 2014 study, researchers looked at whether pregnant women were more or less likely to give birth on Valentine's Day and the result showed a spike!
A large number of women gave birth spontaneously, an average of 234 more newborns arriving each year, and with medical technology and elective inductions, the increase in cesarean and induced births also climbed.
According to the study there were 353 more cesarean births and 58 more induced births each year on Valentine’s Day than on other days within that 15-day window.
However, the most interesting part by far is that the research team say that it appears women can give labour a push along (pun intended) in response to cultural representations, superstitions and the like.
"A previously unnoticed psycho-physiological mechanism may explain this pattern: the positive connotations of Valentine’s Day may increase a pregnant woman’s will to initiate birth and the negative connotations of Halloween may precipitate her will to resist giving birth; both tendencies may then influence the hormonal mechanism that controls birth timing.”
Is it possible that some zero intervention births may not be so spontaneous after all? Can an expectant mother's desire to give birth on a particular day be strong enough to impact the timing of a birth?
The same study concluded that pregnant woman were 5.3% less likely to spontaneously give birth on Halloween than during the week before or afterward.
This Valentine's Day instead of greeting cards and chocolates, you may be in for an extra special surprise; to receive the most precious gift of love ever conceived.
Interestingly, other auspicious dates such as February 29 and April 1 show less Australian and Japanese woman giving birth and Chinese American woman steered clear from dates with the number 4 in them, claiming the number to be unlucky.
If you're wanting a Valentine baby, the most likely conception date is May 23, based on a “typical” 40 week pregnancy, however intercourse would need to take place between May 17 and 23rd. This is due to the fact that sperm can live inside the body for up to a week if the conditions are cosy and fertile.
Levy, B.R., Chung, P. H. & Slade, M.D. Influence of Valentine's Day and Halloween on Birthing Timing. Soc. Sci. Med. 73, 1246-1248 (2011)
Miller, J.G., Smith, G. Revisiting the Valentine’s Day and Halloween Birth Timing Phenomenon. PDF(2014)