Can Weather Trigger Labor?
We have all heard about hospitals being flooded with birthing mothers on the days surrounding the full moon, but it may not be the moon that is sending these women into labor. Science seems to point to these instances as coincidence only, but don't worry, I've found something that science does say triggers some labors: the weather. I'm sure that you have heard all about the babies born during a blizzard or hurricane. It seems that these labors may not have been coincidences, but instead, the mothers' labors may have been triggered by the barometric pressure in the air. A 2007 study discussed the past research about weather playing a large role in pregnancy and labor. There is a definite and notable relationship between drastic barometric pressure changes and the rupturing of membranes. Barometric pressure is better known as the pressure in the atmosphere, and it refers to the weight of the particles in the air. A high barometric pressure typically means a beautiful sunny day, and a low pressure is when the weather becomes extreme. This pressure effects the tides, and as our bodies are largely made of water, it affects us as well. This may explain why people tend to go crazy, not feel well, or have energy spikes and lulls when the weather. The pressure changes can pull at us from within and throw things off. (Sounds kind of like my toddler's behavior may be a result of several large hail storms!) But how would this trigger labor, you ask? The amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby is protected by a balloon like structure known as the amniotic sac. When the pressure lowers in the air, there is a higher chance that this sac will pop, meaning your water has broken! While labor may not begin immediately, it typically begins within 72 hours of the bag of waters breaking. So now that you are panicked about any upcoming blizzards, or this year's tropical storm line-up, you should know that there are ways to prepare for the 'just-in-case' scenario. If you are nearing your due date and there looks to be a low-pressure system moving through, go ahead and do the following:
- Move your car to a sheltered location before the storm hits.
- If it is snow that is coming, salt your driveway and your street if it takes awhile for normal plowing to occur.
- Head to the hospital earlier than you originally planned if you sense labor is beginning.
- Prepare yourself and your car for the off chance you'll deliver on the side of the road. It sounds crazy, but you never know.
- Ask friends and family members who have 4-wheel drive vehicles to be ready in case of an emergency.
- Call an ambulance if driving conditions are too dangerous (or not possible).