Barometric pressure is the weight of the air and gases in the atmosphere pressing down on us. It’s easy to assume that air particles are weightless, but they’re not, and some days more air is above us than others. Barometers are designed to determine the weight of the air in the atmosphere. Barometric pressure is most commonly used to make predictions about weather conditions, but some studies suggest that the pressure could also affect pregnancies.
While associating the pressure of the atmosphere and pregnancy conditions seems irrational, it’s actually easy to imagine when you think about other physical symptoms people have because of it. Many people say that they get migraines more easily when the air is “heavy,” especially those with conditions that make them prone to migraines. People with arthritis claim that barometric pressure makes their symptoms worse. So, it’s no wonder that barometric pressure could affect your pregnancy.
A few studies suggest that an increase in barometric pressure late in the pregnancy could cause a woman to go into labor. The pressure causes the “initiating event” of membrane rupture to occur, and labor begins. Other studies suggest barometric pressure affects the nervous system, which could have an affect on labor pain. Depending on the body’s reaction, you could either be in less pain or more pain based on the increased pressure. Women who have joint and ache pain because of their pregnancy might also experience an increase in symptoms when the barometric pressure changes.
You can’t control the weather, but it might be nice to have an explanation for your increased pain or headaches on days when the barometric pressure is particularly high. Without explanation, you could worry yourself into a frenzy. Of course, always contact your doctor if your symptoms seem particularly bad for any ailment during pregnancy, but the barometric pressure could be the explanation.
In some cases, these findings about the affects of barometric pressure might actually help with your pregnancy. If you’re waiting a few days past your due date, you’re probably ready to start trying home remedies to speed up the process. If there is a day with high barometric pressure in those last few hours, it could induce labor. Also, if you’re giving birth on a day with high barometric pressure, cross your fingers and hope that it dampens your nervous system so that the pain is not as intense.
Source: Emmet Hirsch et al: Meteorological Factors and Timing of the Initiating Event of Human Parturition. International Journal of Biometeorology Volume 55 Issue 2 pp. 265-272 2011