PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - An old wives tale says that a change in barometric pressure can cause a pregnant woman to go into labor, so when we heard about a possible rise in the number of births following the recent winter storms we've been experiencing, we decided to investigate.
Different storms have different characteristics, but some bring wild changes in barometric pressure, which is the force of air weighing down on a person.
"You hear it a lot from individual patients," Dr. Dwight Rouse of Women & Infants Hospital said Wednesday. "Individual practitioners in their practice seem to associate a storm and women rupturing their membrane."
Dr. Rouse says there are studies that support both sides of the argument.
"You can find studies both pro and con that atmospheric pressure affects labor onset," Rouse said.
Dr. Rouse also said there are a number of factors that can influence labor.
"Part of it is we really don't understand at an elemental level what the triggers of labor onset are," Rouse explained. "People know a lot about labor, but we don't know the full picture."
We decided to put Dr. Rouse on the spot, so we asked him what he personally believes.
"It's something that could be happening," Dr. Rouse said. "Am I convinced it actually does? No. But, I don't think we know the answer for certain."
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