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

Read More >