It’s miserable out.
It’s cold, there’s barely a ray of sun in the sky, hibernation season is officially under way, and with it the era of hot cocoa, endless hours of Netflix and … oh yes, cuffing.
Cuffing season is in full swing. But before you and bae decide to get all cozy and, er … freaky, you might want to have a serious discussion about babies, and here’s why: Women are more likely to conceive in the month of December than at any other time of the year.
Proving a notion that black Twitter has long debated, cuffing season is very real, and as such, December is a very fruitful month.
According to a very reliable chart written on an iPhone notepad and posted to the youth medical site otherwise known as MTV.com, cuffing season, which has predraft workouts at the top of August, officially begins at the start of December.
Dr. Jamila Perritt, medical director at Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, shared with The Root a few medical theories about what might account for the December baby boom.
One theory Perritt offered lies in biology and has to do with the temperature of the sperm and changes in the lining of the uterus. But Perritt also noted that human nature and the holiday season play important roles.
“People have time off, they’re more festive because of the season. They’re not working … and therefore engage in more sexual activity … so if there’s more unprotected intercourse, obviously there’s going to be more opportunity for conception during this time period,” she said.
Which sounds a lot like the spoils of cuffing season, and this is good news for people looking to “catch the pregnant.” But if you are looking to hit Mother Nature with the curve, it’s a good time to be especially protective and preventive and gird your loins until you find out which methods work best for you to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
Perritt told The Root that she prefers to talk to her patients about what works best for them because not every birth control method is suitable for every individual, and when patients choose the method that suits them best, they are more likely to stick with it and be consistent.
“Whether it’s December or July, it takes quite a bit of work and some trial and error along the way,” Perritt added. “A lot of women, when you say birth control, they automatically think birth control pills, and [those] aren’t necessarily the right thing for everybody.”
One way for people to avoid having cuffing season turn into a baby bonanza is to, even before visiting the gynecologist, consider taking the Planned Parenthood My Method Quiz, which asks a series of questions based on your lifestyle preferences (such as if you’d prefer to take birth control daily or every few months), and then gives you a list of methods that could work for you, along with more in-depth information about them.
If you’re a parent of teenagers, it turns out that cuffing season is very real for them, too. The Christmas holidays would also be a good time to mortify them with the “birds and the bees” conversation, since there is indeed an increased risk of unintended pregnancy among adolescents, Perritt pointed out. After all, school is out, they have even more time on their hands than adults, and so, even though teenage-pregnancy rates are at a record low, it is still a good and healthy conversation to have.
“Oftentimes when your kids are out of school, especially if you have teenagers, the parents are still working. So if [parents] are outside of the house and the kids are at home by themselves, it’s a really good opportunity to talk about what’s happening when they’re home alone, and what they’re doing to prevent pregnancy,” Perritt said, adding that Planned Parenthood always encourages those under 18 to speak with their parents.
Regardless of how you choose to spend your holidays, don’t let Mother Nature catch you unawares.
Now you can go back to the cocoa (or is it eggnog?) and Netflix.
Breanna Edwards is a newswriter at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.