Meteorological factors and timing of the initiating event of human parturition

Emmet Hirsch, Courtney Lim, Deborah Dobrez, Marci G. Adams and William Noble

International Journal of Biometeorology, 55(2):265-272, 2011


The aim of this study was to determine whether meteorological factors are associated with the timing of either onset of labor with intact membranes or rupture of membranes prior to labor—together referred to as ‘the initiating event’ of parturition. All patients delivering at Evanston Hospital after spontaneous labor or rupture of membranes at ≥20 weeks of gestation over a 6-month period were studied. Logistic regression models of the initiating event of parturition using clinical variables (maternal age, gestational age, parity, multiple gestation and intrauterine infection) with and without the addition of meteorological variables (barometric pressure, temperature and humidity) were compared. A total of 1,088 patients met the inclusion criteria. Gestational age, multiple gestation and chorioamnionitis were associated with timing of initiation of parturition (P<0.01). The addition of meteorological to clinical variables generated a statistically significant improvement in prediction of the initiating event; however, the magnitude of this improvement was small (less than 2% difference in receiver-operating characteristic score). These observations held regardless of parity, fetal number and gestational age. Meteorological factors are associated with the timing of parturition, but the magnitude of this association is small.

International Journal of Biometeorology