The Blizzard of 2015 knocked most of New England off its feet, with winds of more than 50 mph and snow drifts piling upwards of 5 feet in some places. But tucked away warmly at hospitals everywhere, new parents were celebrating their bundles of joy who arrived just in time for the fluffy stuff.
According to a study published in the 2007 Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, weather affects many aspects of our health and can even influence the number of babies born at a given time of year, particularly during low pressure systems.
However, at least a couple of Maine hospitals reported that, while superstitions abound about storms bringing more babies, no more babies than usual were born during Tuesday’s megastorm.
“Everyone always says it. It’s an old wives’ tale and we all joke about it, but we’ve never actually tracked it,” Pam Lilley, nurse manager at The Aroostook Medical Center, said.
For the 2007 study, researchers at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Tokyo Medical University set out to see whether labor pain, controlled by the autonomic nervous system and various hormones, is influenced by weather and environmental changes.
The retrospective study of patients who had vaginal deliveries between January 1997 and December 2003 showed that, while there wasn’t an increase of pain related to low pressure systems, there was an increase in the number of women reporting ruptured membranes. However, the study went on to say there was “no significant correlation between onset of labor and barometric pressure.”
At Eastern Maine Medical Center earlier this week, nurses at the labor and delivery department reported feeling busier than usual hours before the major snowstorm Tuesday, according to Laurie George, the hospital’s interim nurse manager of labor and delivery. However, when they compared the number of babies born on Monday, 6, and Tuesday, 5, both days were within the “normal” range. On average, five to seven babies are born each day at EMMC, with the most babies being born Monday through Friday in the months of June and December.
“We’ve heard about this, and theoretically we might think it happens. But when we look at the numbers, there’s no scientific proof [here],” George said, adding the department also often feels busier during full moons.