Hurricane Isaac May Be Sending Women Into Labor


Here are some things that supposedly help kickstart labor: acupressure, castor oil, spicy food, prunes, evening primrose oil, licorice, nipple stimulation, massage, sex, raspberry leaf, and walking. Oh, and also hurricanes.

Wait, hurricanes?

Yes, apparently studies have linked extreme weather with triggering the onset of labor -- which means that in addition to all the other havoc being caused by Isaac, the tropical storm may cause some pregnant women to give birth.

Assuming you buy the theory that connects bad weather with uterine activity, that is.

The idea behind the claim that drops in barometric pressure can trigger the onset of labor or cause a pregnant woman's water to break is that the amniotic sac is like a balloon, and if you lower the external pressure on it, there's an increased chance it can, well, "pop."

Of the handful of studies that have actually researched weather events and labor, two suggested that drops in pressure really can trigger labor -- while two others found no association whatsoever. Clear as mud, right?

According to an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Ohio State University College of Medicine, the theory definitely hasn't been proven, but some people believe it anyway:

There's a belief out there. It's certainly not cut-and-dried, but there is some scientific evidence that changes in pressure can contribute to membrane rupture.

However, he adds,

In reality, the amniotic sac is protected. It's kind of hard to imagine that a small drop in barometric pressure would cause a change in the amniotic sac.

Personally, I'd guess that labor that was seemingly brought on by a severe storm could be linked to the stress caused by losing power, evacuating your house, and worrying about your family's safety more than a drop in air pressure, but who knows? We learn new things about the human body every day. At any rate, for any full-term pregnant ladies living in Isaac's path, better make sure your hospital bag is packed ... just in case.

Do you think it's possible weather events can trigger labor?

Image via evilpeacock/Flickr

pregnancy health, labor, labor & delivery


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nonmember avatar Michelle

Go ahead and think it's crazy...I have long been a believer in barometric pressure's influence on the human body. I have suffered from migraines for over 15 years and have noticed a significant jump in them around full moons, thunderstorms, etc. My grandma could always tell if it was going to storm if her knee felt a certain way...and she was always right! We still know so little about the human body that I think it would be ridiculous to discount ANY influence, especially with regards to pregnancy and childbirth!

tyrel... tyrelsmom

I think it's more due to survival instinct. You're more able to survive if you're not pregnant, so your body expels the baby due to the stress. There's an uptick in births after earthquakes, etc, too.

early... earlybird11

Ummm yah this isn't news. Some drs ask 37+ week pregnant women to report to the hospital with certain approval during hurricanes etc

victo... victoriaherring

Hurricane Earl put me into labor back in Sept of 2010! L&D was busy that night too!!

nonmember avatar jen

When I was pregnant with my son in 2005, at least 4 people in my October(!) due date forum went into labor early and blamed Katrina. I am also a migraine-sufferer that notices big headaches during any kind of storm. I'm pretty headachy this time of year! I also get headaches for smaller local storms... full moons... temperature changes. I believe (maybe I choose to believe) that if you look you can find the effects of the environment all over the human body... most people are not that in tune with anything.

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