You may have heard that hurricanes can cause pregnant women to go into labor—but is there any truth to this? Here's what you need to know.
If you live in one of the areas that's expecting Hurricane Matthew's effects (and you also happen to be at the end of your pregnancy), you might be wondering if you should head to your nearest hospital ahead of the storm so that if you do go into labor, at least you're covered. Should you really do this? Well...maybe.
You may have heard that hurricanes can make women go into labor—and there is some truth to that line of thinking. According to a study published in Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics back in 2007, low barometric pressure (which is a hallmark of hurricanes) can lead to spontaneous delivery. A 1985 study found something similar: That low barometric pressure could cause premature membrane rupture.
As if that weren't a strong enough explanation, there's also the fact that hurricanes are just plain stressful. Between the chaos that will inevitably take place around you, fielding constant calls and texts from loved ones, and worrying about your own home's safety, there's a lot to stress over—even before you add fears related to delivering during a natural disaster into the picture. Stressful situations can also bring labor on, and according to a 2013 study, they can also present negative birth outcomes.
We've brought you stories of moms who gave birth during natural disasters before: Women have gone into labor during blizzards, disastrous floods and yes, even hurricanes. Take Tamara Weinstock: The mom's water broke during Hurricane Sandy, and although she felt it was "the worst possible timing," Weinstock actually described her experience as "fun" (after the epidural kicked in, of course!)
Special Deliveries: "I Gave Birth During a Hurricane"
So yes, delivering safely during a hurricane is certainly possible. What should you do if you're in an area touched by Hurricane Matthew? We would suggest calling your doctor and seeking out his or her advice, as certain factors can up your odds of delivering early as well. We would also recommend calling your hospital to check on its policies—according to a Florida ABC affiliate, women who are expecting multiple children, are at least 34 weeks pregnant, or who have histories of preterm birth may be given priority at certain hospitals.
So yes, a hurricane may increase your odds of going into labor—but you've got this, mama! As always, speak to your doctor if you have any concerns...and seek out medical attention before the storm intensifies if possible.
(Fortunately, some areas only saw strong winds and minor flooding from Hurricane Matthew, like this part of Cocoa Beach, Florida.)