If you’ve been to a lot of baby shower recently, you’re not alone. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides birth rate by month data, showing July through October tends to be the most popular birth months in the United States. August is the overall most popular month for birthdays, which makes sense, considering a late August birthday means December conception. Cold weather, snow, romantic fires and holiday parties seems to create just the right equation for the beginning of human mating season.
Breanna Herring, CNM, UnityPoint Health, explains what it’s like being among the mix on the labor and delivery floor during a baby boom—and how our teams are able to provide exceptional care no matter how busy it gets.
Are there any jokes about why these four months are the most popular birth months?
“Of course, the first thing we do when we see a full labor and delivery floor is count back nine months to see what was going on! Terms like ‘polar vortex’ strike a little bit of fear in anyone who helps deliver babies."
If the winters seem long and cold, do you make any predictions about a busy summer/fall?
“Definitely. When there is a particularly bad storm going on, most of the labor and delivery care team will stay at the hospital to avoid being stuck at home if someone comes in to deliver. When we are stuck at the hospital, we know other people are stuck at home!"
Would you say births are seasonal? In other words, many are conceived during the colder months and not the warmer months?
“The CDC tracks birth data nationwide, and July through October are the busiest birth months, with August or September typically having the highest number of births. It appears more babies are conceived during the winter months, which makes sense when you live in a cold Midwestern state - there's not a lot to do in January when it is freezing cold outside and gets dark at 5 o’clock!”
How do care teams prepare for the baby boom?
“The labor and delivery unit tries to staff with the possibility of being full all of the time. Then, when things are busier, they can have all hands on deck and work together to take care of everyone, equally.”
Is it hard to take time off during the most popular birth months?
“We do have to look ahead to our due date list when trying to plan vacation time. It's a lot harder to take time off when we know we have a busy month coming up.”
Is it exciting or stressful when you’re working and there are lots of babies arriving?
“I would say it is a combination of both. Being a part of any birthday is great - but trying to give each family the attention they deserve can be tough when we have several women in labor at the same time. Thankfully, UnityPoint Health has awesome nurses, and they make every family feel like they are the only ones having a baby that day, even if their provider can't spend as much time with them as they would like.”
Would you offer any other insights as to why there seems to be a boom each year in July through October?
“We do see many women who try planning what month to get pregnant, with a hopeful due date in mind. I’ve seen teachers aim for late summer, so they can be off of work during the last couple months of pregnancy, when they are most uncomfortable and feel chasing around a classroom full of children would be difficult. I also see some women aim for a fall due date, so they can stay home with the new baby over the holidays.”
Do you have any final thoughts on conception and birth dates?
“There are many factors to think of if you are trying to plan the best month to conceive. I personally think aiming for a summer birthday is better, because my medical mind wants to avoid brand new babies being exposed to cold and flu viruses in the fall and winter. However, if summer is a busy time for the woman or her partner, it is probably better to try to aim for a different time of year, so the new parents can enjoy bonding time with baby after birth. We have lots of farmers, and planning for a baby during planting or harvest is not ideal. Ultimately, it can take up to a year for a healthy fertile couple to get pregnant, so you could start out with plans for a spring baby and end up joining the baby boom in the fall.”
According to the CDC, February is the least common birth month. That’s also logical, seeing as nine months prior is May which marks longer, sunnier days, warmer temperatures and usually more outside activity. If you have any questions about conception, make sure to contact your provider.
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