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'Storm babies': The fascinating reason so many women go into labour during a storm.

Mamamia logo Mamamia 14/9/2017 Jessie Stephens

Mother holding baby's hand © Mito Images/REX/Shutterstock Mother holding baby's hand It’s long been considered an old wives tale that babies are more likely to be born in storms.

The theory was based on an anecdotal observation: Hospitals always seemed to be full of women in labour during extreme weather conditions.

Game of Thrones’ Khalessi’s full name is, ‘Daenerys Stormborn of the House of Targaryen, First of Her Name…’ indicating an assumed association between a storm and the day of her birth.

In a study published in the Archives of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, it was found that, “spontaneous delivery is related to barometric pressure”.

Weather affects a number of aspects of our health, with many people noticing that they get migraines in extreme weather conditions, or their arthritis flares up when it rains.

Barometric or atmospheric pressure refers to the weight of particles in the air. On days with high barometric pressure, the sun is often out, and on days with low barometric pressure, we see rain or storms.

We know that this pressure has a direct impact on water – which we can see in tide conditions.

Given the human body is made up of 50 to 65 per cent water, it follows that changes in barometric pressure could affect our bodies, and more specifically, pregnant bodies that contain amniotic fluid.

The theory goes that when pressure lowers, there’s an increased chance of the amniotic sac bursting. Or, as doctors refer to it, the Spontanous Rupture of Membranes.

Gynaecology and Obstetrics found, “There was a significant increase in the number of deliveries and rupture of the membranes at low barometric pressure.”

Doctor Desiree Bley, an obstetrician in Portland Oregon says, “there’s definitely a phenomenon that clusters births together during extreme conditions”.

It has also been observed that more women come into the emergency room during storms with contractions that turn out to be Braxton Hicks contractions (known as 'practice' contractions that do not indicate you're about to give birth).

Labour and delivery nurse Karen Hunsinger says, "Sometimes we'll notice we are busy on a full moon and we’ll comment on it. But over the years it hasn’t seemed like a big thing. It’s not like we’re seeing the full moon and saying, 'Oh no, here it comes.'

"But, when we see a hurricane coming, it’s like, 'oh, great.'"


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