You've probably heard the Old Wives Tales before. "Eat an Italian meal, and you'll go into labor." "More babies are born during a full moon." Or how about this one "An impending storm can trigger your labor." That one sounded interesting to us, so we checked it out with Dr. Ira Bernstein, the Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Fletcher Allen.
"There is some data , although the data is mixed, that an acute drop in barometric pressure may increase the likelihood that women will rupture their membranes, which starts the labor process. "
Dr Bernstein acknowledged that the effects would be minimal, but there are several studies that suggest a rapid drop in barometric pressure increases the risk for breaking your water. Does that mean that women who are close to term should be watching the weather maps closely?
"It may be statistically significant because we're dealing with a very large number of women. Biologically, it probably has very little significance in terms of contributions to the onset of labor. It's a small number of women who rupture their membranes on any given day who might have ruptured it as a result of changes of pressure in the environment."
Dr. Bernstein also told us that weather does influence hypertension during pregnancy. There have been studies done, including here in Vermont, that indicate that when women deliver babies in the winter time, their risk for developing hypertension is higher.
So weather and environmental factors do influence the biology related to pregnancy.
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