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Parents Race to Meet New Year's Baby Deadline

Photograph by Getty Images

As we get closer to ringing in the New Year, I can’t help but think of my pregnant friends who are inching closer and closer to a nerve-racking birthdate near January 1st.

Every year, there tends to be a lot of excitement around the birth of the first baby of the New Year. Around the country, hospitals celebrate their New Year babies by gifting families with gift baskets, diapers, a steak dinner or even money. It almost always guarantees a spot on the local news, maybe even a photo in the paper. For some mothers in the delivery room on New Year's Eve, this may mean holding in that baby just a few minutes longer before making that final push right after midnight.

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But the perks of a New Year's baby also come with some drawbacks, so it makes me wonder, which is better?

For example, one of my friends with a late December due date is hoping her baby comes on time or even a little early, not wanting to risk missing that additional tax break. According to TurboTax, for 2014, a new baby also delivers a tax credit of up $1,000, even if the child was born late in the year.

Deductibles reset in January, so even if you’re nine months pregnant and paid a full deductible in 2014, if you give birth in 2015, that deductible will have to be paid again.

Whether your child arrives accompanied by fireworks or not, a baby any day is surely something to celebrate.

Something else to consider is your child sharing a birthday with a holiday. My son was due on April 1st, and I hoped he wouldn’t be born that day when his friends would forever ask him if April Fools' was really his birthday. My daughter was born July 3rd, and we watched 4th of July fireworks from our hospital room. Having fireworks for your birthday can be fun, but being so close to a holiday like Christmas and New Year's? I’m not so sure.

But what are the chances? Despite the hype, only 5 percent of babies come on their actual due date. So most moms with January 1st due dates won’t even have to worry about deciding whether to push more quickly or hang on for a few more minutes. It’s actually more likely to get struck by lightning. According to the National Weather Service, the odds of getting struck by lightning are 1 in 775,000. And because there are 526,600 minutes in a year, the odds of giving birth at 12:01 on Jan. 1 are 1 in 526,600.

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I’m cheering for all of the parents racing to have a New Year's baby, and I can’t wait to see their proud faces on TV. And I’m also hopeful those other parents praying to make that Christmas Eve deadline get their wish. But whether your child arrives accompanied by fireworks or not, a baby any day is surely something to celebrate.

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