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Parents seek designer due dates for newborns

Up to the 1990s most Finnish babies were born in March, roughly nine months after the free-spirited Midsummer holiday. Nowadays, however, babies are increasingly entering the world on a due date pre-selected by their parents – usually in July. Safer and more modern Caesarian section procedures have also made it easier for parents to ensure that their newborns’ due dates are guided by design rather than destiny.

Vastasyntynyt vauva sylissä.
Parents are increasingly designing their baby's birthdays. Image: YLE Keski-Suomi

Just 20 years ago, maternity wards were busiest during March, about nine months after Finland’s riotous Midsummer holiday. While nowadays pre-natal clinics have their hands full during the spring months, births have tended to even out during the year. 

At the Oulu university hospital, most births are now recorded during the summer months, as parents feel that it’s easier to care for a newborn during the summer.

“For the last three years the summer months have been the busiest,” said medical chief of staff of the Oys maternity clinic, Tytti Raudakoski.

According to a study by the Population Register Centre, the most common birth date in Finland during the previous decade has been July 31.

"Generally couples give up contraception when they decide on a suitable date for the birth of their baby. However conception rarely occurs during the first month after stopping contraception," Raudakoski explained.

Parents want to choose baby's birthday

The obstetrician-gynecologist also pointed out that Caesarian sections are increasingly being tactically planned.

"Parents now want to have a say in when Caesarian sections are performed. For example one summer a certain mother wanted to have the procedure on August 8, because of the associations with the symbol for infinity," she said.

"We are often flexible with the dates, unless there is a medical reason to choose some other date," Raudakoski added.

According to Raudakoski women also try to initiate the delivery process well before holiday periods, for example, so that they can return home with their babies before Christmas.

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