The Surprising Truth About Valentine’s Day Baby-Making

Logically, you might assume that there would be an increase in children being conceived on Valentine’s Day. Given the nature of this holiday and the emphasis on celebrating sex and romance, this would seem to make intuitive sense, right? However, it’s not supported by the data. If it were, we’d see a spike in the birth rate during the month of November, but we don’t—in fact, we actually see one of the lowest birth rates that month.

By contrast, however, there is a consistent spike in the birth rate on Valentine’s Day itself. In other words, the evidence doesn’t point to more babies being conceived on Valentine’s Day, but it does point to more babies being born on it.

Wait—what?

Here’s the evidence: a 2011 study examined trends in birth rate over an 11-year period in the US [1]. They focused specifically on births the week before and the week after Valentine’s Day during each of those years. What they found was that, overall, the odds of giving birth were 5% higher on Valentine’s Day compared to the other days in this two-week window. This was true for both spontaneous/natural births, as well as C-section deliveries. Interestingly, it turned out that C-sections actually increased more than did spontaneous births (a 12.1% increase vs. a 3.6% increase, respectively).

You’re probably wondering what’s going on here and, unfortunately, we can’t say for sure given the nature of these data. The researchers leading this study argued that “the positive connotations of Valentine’s Day may increase a pregnant woman’s will to initiate birth.” They also suggested that “the symbols of Valentine’s Day, such as cherubs, may provide a heightened sense of childbirth’s propitiousness.” By this, they meant that maybe they symbolism of Valentine’s Day is just seen (consciously or subconsciously) as a good omen for giving birth.

Again, we need more research to know which—if either—of these explanations is correct. Regardless of the reason, though, these data suggest the counterintuitive conclusion that Valentine’s Day seems to have more to do with birth than it does with conception.

Want to learn more about Sex and Psychology ? Click here for previous articles or follow the blog on Facebook (facebook.com/psychologyofsex), Twitter (@JustinLehmiller), or Reddit (reddit.com/r/psychologyofsex) to receive updates.

[1] Levy, B. R., Chung, P. H., & Slade, M. D. (2011). Influence of Valentine’s Day and Halloween on birth timing. Social Science & Medicine73(8), 1246-1248.

Image Source: 123RF/Sergey Pykhonin

You Might Also Like: