There's no doubt that Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast, but Mother Nature's wrath just may have caused a stir in the labor and delivery ward too. From old wives' tales to medical facts, learn the truth: Can hurricanes and full moons cause labor?
How the weather influences pregnancy
You've heard the old wives' tales that full moons fill delivery rooms, but you may be surprised that the weather does actually have a hand in sending women into labor. Researchers past pondered the same question, showing that more mommies-to-be headed to the delivery room between the last quarter and the new moon, while others cite the effects of the full moon's gravitational pull on the amniotic fluid keeping your fetus afloat. However, the tie between full moons and labor is one phenomenon that still has doctors scratching their heads. "It's true that we deliver more babies when there is a full moon, but why, scientifically we are not sure," explains Dr. Sami David. Although there's no way to guarantee your baby will make her grand entrance into the world based on the phases of the moon, you may want make sure your hospital bag is ready to go just in case.
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Storms and hurricanes
When the weather outside is frightful, the air surrounding your womb has more of an effect on your bun in the oven than you may realize. "A windy day definitely won't cause contractions, but during a hurricane or severe weather change, barometric pressures change significantly, sometimes enough to send you into labor," confirms Dr. David. "Similar to when your ears pop when you descend in an airplane, a rapid drop in pressure in the uterus can cause premature contractions, even in the first trimester." Be mindful of contractions or your water breaking during your first and last trimesters during times when the climate is causing a commotion.
Just as a fever can send your body temperature soaring, when the mercury is rising outside, the extreme heat can also stir up contractions for your pea in the pod. "Heat can cause your body to go into premature labor as well as hinder your baby's development," shares Dr. David. "During your first and third trimesters, avoid excessive heat that may cause your core temperature to rise, whether it is from a hot tub or a heat wave."
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Hurricane Sandy has left a trail of disasters and full labor and delivery wards, but just because the bad weather has passed doesn't mean you're in the clear. Whether or not hurricanes and full moons cause you to go into labor, keep in mind that during times of natural disasters, high stress of emergency situations can also trigger contractions and send you waddling to your hospital bag, so it may be time to start practicing your Lamaze!