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Supermoon provides no local moon babies

By Leanne Fuller lfuller@paducahsun.com

There's an old wives' tale that there are more births during a full moon, but Sunday night's supermoon didn't deliver a bushel of babies to Paducah, according to local hospitals.

A supermoon is a full moon that happens at the same time the moon is the closest it will get to the Earth during its elliptical orbit, but the proximity had no bearing on Paducah pregnancies. Patricia West - a surgical technician at Lourdes Little Miracle Birthing Center - said no babies were born there Sunday night, and Jenny Asher - a charge nurse in the neonatal intensive-care unit at Baptist Health Paducah - said the only baby born there on Sunday was born in the morning.

Multiple studies over the years have found no correlation between full moons and birth rate, links to several of which have been aggregated online in the health section of http://howstuffworks.com, in a post titled "Are there really more births on full moons?" The list includes a 2005 study in which researchers analyzed 564,039 births in North Carolina between 1997 and 2001 and found "no predictable influence of the lunar cycle on deliveries or complications."

However, West and Asher each said she believes the moon affects births. West said Lourdes usually sees  an increase in unusual incidences, such as pre-term labor, leading up to a full moon, and Asher said Baptist Health Paducah often sees extra deliveries and increased foot traffic.

"I am a firm believer in 'full moons bring babies,'" Asher said. "I mean, I have to be."

Asher said all three of her own children - who were each born 41⁠2 years apart and during different times of year - were born during full moons, and that there were lots of deliveries in the hospital each time.

While Sunday was a slow night for births in each hospital, Asher said the nurses at Baptist Health Paducah are expecting an increase in births toward the end of August and into September because of the hard, cold winter that hit the area earlier this year.

Asher said the nurses expect a baby boom to rival that of the 2009 ice storm.

"We saw probably 150 extra births in about a six-week time period," Asher recalled.

Contact Leanne Fuller, a Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.

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