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Last updated on Tuesday, January 7, 2014
(UNDATED) - Maternity nurses will be watching for an uptick in births around the first week in October, nine months after Indiana’s winter storm. But it may be a case of seeing what you expect to see.
It started with the New York City blackout of 1965. Nine months later, the New York Times reported above-average birth numbers at some New York hospitals, supposedly because people figured out something they could do in the dark. Similar accounts often pop up after snowstorms, ice storms, and even 9/11.
Saint Vincent Carmel OB/GYN Maret Cline says the premise is still a topic of delivery-room conversation. Any time things are unusually busy, she says, nurses will count back nine months to see what event might have prompted it.
There's one problem. Studies have shown the Times' original story wasn't fit to print -- the supposed blackout boom was statistically insignificant.
And Cline says even though delivery-room chatter sometimes speculates about large numbers of couples celebrating Christmas, New Year's Eve, or Valentine's Day, those days come at the same time every year, yet late September and mid-November are no more likely to see extra births than any other time of year.
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