Monday, November 2, 2009

Full Moon & Childbirth

Some who may have randomly run across my blog may wonder why the sudden departure. No, it's not because Lunaception didn't work for me, or because I got bored with researching it.

Soon after my last post, my husband and I achieved pregnancy (hoorah!) so for the last nine months I've been enjoying sleeping soundly with my eye mask on, not being too particularly concerned about the phases of the moon and not having to worry about nightlighting or ovulation. My pregnancy has been relatively easy, with few concerns and no major complications.

I am currently 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant, and -- how 'bout that! -- tonight is a full moon!

Theories about labor, childbirth, and the moon abound, so I thought I would jump back into my Lunaception blog by sharing some of my research and findings. Here are a few things that I discovered:

One researcher's observations:
A statistical analysis of the distribution of births in the lunar month shows that more are born between the last quarter and the new moon, and fewer are born in the first quarter of the moon. The differences between the distribution observed during the lunar month and the theoretical distribution are statistically significant. LINK
Intrigued, I decided to do a little research of my own, and found within my own family history some interesting results when comparing birth times and moon phases (disregarding any known inductions).

Of eleven of my relatives (across four generations) born in the spring months (March through May), I found that
  • eight (73%) were born during waxing moon phases
  • six (55%) were born between the new and first quarter moons (waxing crescent)
  • five (45%) were born on or within five days of the new moon

Of twelve of my relatives (across four generations) born in the autumn months (September through November), I found that
  • eight (67%) were born during waning moon phases
  • six (50%) were born between the full and last quarter moons (waning gibbous)
  • six (50%) were born on or within five days of the full moon

I did not have enough data for summer or winter months to really define any patterns. So what does this all mean? Well, it may mean that there's some truth to the idea that babies are more likely to be born in certain moon phases. Of course, one must take into consideration -- as we've seen in Lunaception -- that some people are more likely to be affected by the phases of the moon, which could easily account for the way-out-there anomalies, like having an autumn baby at the new moon, instead of near the full moon.

Another interesting observation which one researcher made was that
in cases where the water breaking marks the start of childbirth, full moon is the time when it's most likely to happen. LINK
So HOW would this work? The theory goes that just as the moon pulls on the earth's oceans creating the tides, that it also has an effect on the body of water known as the amniotic sac in a woman's womb. The times when the tides are the strongest are known as the spring (not having to do with the season!) tides, and happen to occur -- you guessed it -- during the new and full moons. During these times, then, women's amniotic sacs have greater pressure on them and are more likely to break. It's also been suggested that women experience more contractions around the full moon, possibly for the same reason.

For me, I'm hoping that I will follow the autumn pattern presented above with this child, and go into labor soon after tonight's full moon. I do plan on skipping my eye mask tonight, and for at least a few days following if I'm not already in labor by then. It can't hurt!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cycle 41

I've now completed cycle 41, my seventh Lunaception cycle.

This was our first cycle trying to conceive, and as you can see, it didn't really work out as hoped, though not through the fault of Lunaception, which worked quite beautifully this cycle as I attempted to ovulate a bit earlier than my average 22 days.

From CD1-17, I slept with my eyemask on before switching to my night lighting for CD18-20. I planned on using the night lighting during the weekend, since I tend not to sleep as well without my eye mask, plus it would help with our timing, since the weekdays tend to be quite busy. I was thrilled with my sharp, definite temperature shift and the plentiful eggwhite mucus that accompanied it right on schedule -- ovulation on CD19: mission accomplished!

My luteal phase was definitely out of the ordinary this month. Besides having a horrible cold (and taking Tylenol cold daily for it), I also decided (with the switch to TTC) to cut out all caffeine (cold turkey - yikes!), as well as many of my herbal teas that I often enjoy -- including red raspberry leaf. Add onto that the pre-Christmas stress and work stress, and I guess it's not too big of a surprise that it was kind of wacky this month.

After days of higher-than-usual luteal phase temperatures, on 10DPO I had very, very light spotting. This was quite perplexing for me, since I'm not known to spot often. Then, two days later I had more spotting with cramping -- not at all like my regular cycle day 1. The day after I took a pregnancy test and got a very disappointing negative, but decided to count the previous day (12DPO) as day 1 of a new cycle.

So, on to a new cycle and more Lunaception experimentation! Wish us luck!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cycle 40

I've now completed cycle 40, my sixth Lunaception cycle.

I've become a huge fan of my eyemask and couldn't imagine going without it now. I was a bit surprised to see eggwhite mucus at 16dpo, and I'm thinking with night lighting earlier, I could have ovulated much earlier than usual.

From CD21-23 I slept with a night light on. I believe I ovulated during that first night, as my temperature was up, but barely over the coverline -- not at all the normal, definite shift I usually get on 1dpo.

Once again, I had a 12 day luteal phase, with a tiny bit of cramping and spotting the day before ovulation. In addition to Lunaception, I had also been drinking raspberry leaf tea, so I had been hoping for a longer luteal phase, but 12 days long is fine as well.

I have been under a lot of stress at work, which I think may have played into my lack of consistency in the luteal phase. Hopefully next month I will have more even, consistent temperatures again.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Well, I just finished up cycle 39, my fifth Lunaception cycle.

Throughout the first part of my cycle, I kept my eye mask on. I sleep very well with it on now, and it's become so much of a habit now that I don't really even think about it much. I think that my body has gotten used to these experiments that I put it through. I used to have scattered days of creamy and eggwhite mucus a week, or even sometimes two weeks before I'd actually ovulate... for the past few months, however, I haven't had any of the most fertile mucus until after I'd tried triggering ovulation with the night lighting.

From CD22-24 I slept with my eyemask off and a night light on in the bedroom. I purposely planned this for a weekend, since I know I don't sleep as well during those days. Eggwhite mucus showed up, and -- sure enough -- soon after the three nights of light, I had my temperature shift.

My luteal phase temperatures are still quite even and level when compared with my pre-Lunaception luteal phases. This cycle I had a 12-day luteal phase, which -- although isn't anything to write home about -- is sufficient.

No new observations this month... overall, however, I've been pleased with how cooperative my body has been and with how easy my charts are to interpret.

On to cycle 40!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Comparing the charts...

CYCLE 35 (luteal phase only)
LP - 14 days

Light nights CD31-33
Ovulation CD32
Coverline 97.2
LP - 12 days

Light nights CD16-18
Ovulation CD20
Coverline 97.2
LP - 15 days

Light nights (CD17-19 w/o eye mask) CD26-28 w/night light
Ovulation CD27
Coverline 97.3
LP - 10 days w/ inconsistent darkness


Thursday, October 2, 2008


Sorry to take so long to update again. As it turns out, my new job is very demanding and very time-consuming, and I haven't had a chance to blog in over a month. From this point on, my updates will probably be fewer and further between, but I hope to keep posting about how Lunaception is changing my cycles.

Lunaception is the theory that light (and the absence of light) affects the menstrual cycle by altering the chemical melatonin -- too much of which has been shown to delay or prevent ovulation.

In order to "use" Lunaception, I've bought an eye mask which I use in my infertile phases both before and after ovulation, as well as a night light which I start using as soon as I want to try to trigger ovulation. So for the first two and a half or three weeks of my cycle, I sleep with my eye mask on to block out all light. Then for 3-5 days I sleep with the eye mask off and the night light on to try to decrease my melatonin levels and trigger ovulation. I've also found that getting enough sunlight, water, and calories during this time is important. Then, after ovulation has occurred, I wear my eye mask again in order to encourage a long, healthy luteal phase. About two weeks after ovulation, my period arrives and we begin again.

I have been using Lunaception for one luteal phase, three full cycles, and another half of a cycle, since May 8, 2008 (five months now). Here are a few things that I have noticed throughout these cycles:
  • Early on, I noticed very vivid dreams, which have tapered off over time.
  • I have been able to sleep very well with my eye mask on and feel more rested when I wake up.
  • My basal body temperatures are much more consistent, with more definite temperature shifts at ovulation (less step or fall-back rises).
  • My basal body temperatures were also much lower, with a pre-Lunaception average coverline of 97.7 degrees F lowered to a Lunaception average coverline of 97.3 degrees F.
  • I have had a longer luteal phase with the two cycles which I was consistent with blocking out all light after ovulation. My pre-Lunaception average was 12.2 days; my Lunaception luteal phases were 14, 12, and 15 days.
  • During my first full cycle of Lunaception, ovulation was delayed until CD32 (compared with an average pre-Lunaception ovulation day of CD21.4), when it was finally triggered after my second night of night lighting.
  • During my second full cycle, ovulation was triggered on CD20, after three days of night lighting.
  • During my third full cycle, ovulation was NOT triggered on the first try with no eye mask but no night lighting, but WAS triggered later on with night lighting on CD27, after the second night of night lighting.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cycle 38 (CD1-25)... Stress, anyone?

Since last cycle, I have:
  • moved to a different country
  • started a new job, which I am at for 10-12 hrs/day five days a week
  • completely changed my sleeping schedule
  • started exercising regularly (cardio 5-6x/wk)
  • changed my diet
  • had two family members pass away
So, I'm not particularly surprised that it's now CD25 and my temps are still sub-97.0. I tried triggering ovulation last week, with no luck... though now I have had a few days with lots of cervical mucus, so I'm going to be trying again starting tonight. Our new home is in the country, so natural lighting streaming in from the open window is not really an option -- it's pretty dark out. I'm going to be trying out a night light and seeing how that goes. Hopefully I'll also be able to spend time outdoors these next few days, which I've not gotten a chance to do in awhile. So... we'll see how this goes.