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This article is from the In-Depth Report Hurricane Sandy: An Unprecedented Disaster

Myth-Conceptions: 5 Falsehoods about Superstorm Sandy

During disasters, rumors, untruths and exaggerations swirl through the air along with the detritus of hurricane winds



Christina Rutz via Flickr

Myth: Hurricanes induce labor

Hurricane Sandy's potency came in part from the storm’s unusually low barometric pressure, which in theory could cause a pregnant woman’s amniotic sac to break—inducing labor.

The claim isn't new (see this 1985 study in The Journal of Reproductive Medicine), but it is contentious. In 2007 a study in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics suggested that deliveries increase on days with a marked change in barometric pressure. A 2005 study in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, however, found no relationship between atmospheric pressure and birthrate.

Although the jury may be out on whether hurricanes can induce labor, there are more obvious (and scientifically defensible) worries about hurricanes and pregnant women. Stress is a big one, so is dehydration. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a fact sheet on disaster preparedness for expectant mothers that touches on a few of these points. —Daisy Yuhas

 
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