The effect of changes in atmospheric pressure on the occurrence of the spontaneous onset of labor in term pregnancies

K. L. Noller, L. J. Resseguie, V. Voss, R. C. Cefalo, M. G. Ross, T. H. Kirschbaum, J. T. Repke, M. L. Socol

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24 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Our purpose was to determine whether there is a relationship between changes in atmospheric pressure and spontaneous onset of labor in term pregnancy. STUDY DESIGN: All women admitted to Medical Center of Central Massachusetts-Memorial Hospital with spontaneous onset of labor at term and who were delivered on the service during a 12-month period represent the cohort for this study. Each maternal chart was abstracted to ensure that each member of the cohort met the inclusion criteria. Hourly recordings of atmospheric pressure made at the Worcester Station of the National Weather Service, Department of Commerce, were used as the meteorologic data points of interest. Least-squares regression was used to determine an equation that expresses the probability of the onset of labor in this cohort as a function of gestational age, which was used to calculate expected numbers far the statistical analyses. Two relationships were studied: (1) the ratio of the observed to the expected number of onsets of labor and (2) the initiation of labor and atmospheric pressure changes in the preceding 3 hours. RESULTS: Three-hour periods of falling atmospheric pressure were less often followed by initiation of labor than were the periods with other types of pressure sequences. No association was observed between the onset of labor and days of low mean pressure. CONCLUSION: Although there was an observed statistically significant association between falling barometric pressure and onset of labor, the magnitude of the difference is not of clinical significance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1192-1199
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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