Imagine how you, your sister, your mother, or cherished pregnant loved one dreams of how her baby will be born. Do you hope it will happen during a significant event or birthday in the family? Maybe it’s a leap year. There’s just cause to be concerned if you plan to or spontaneously go into labor on the weekend or at night.
Research has revealed some sobering and startling facts. It may not be what pregnant women would like to hear. But please take note for your baby’s sake!
The risk of a baby dying within the first three weeks of birth if born during the weekday (Monday through Friday) and during the hours of 9 a.m to 5 p.m is just 4.2% out of 10,000 births. However, if the woman delivers after those hours, on the “off hours”, she is much more likely to have a stillbirth (the baby dies within three weeks of birth).
Elective Cesarean deliveries and multiple births were excluded from this large study. Only singleton births with no known risks of stillbirth were considered in this landmark research. At least 67% of the births occurred naturally, without any artificial assistance or methods utilized. Almost 80% of the births were from large (delivered over 4,000 babies per year) hospitals. No hospitals delivering fewer than 1,000 babies per year were considered part of the study.
One factor that was considered was the fact that often those who are impoverished, have little or no prenatal medical care, and those who were more likely to have premature labor deliver children during “off hours.” However, these babies appeared to be normal at birth. No births prior to 31 weeks or sufficient vitality out of the womb were part of this study. Women’s median ages did not deviate in the during and after hours groups.
Birth weight was normal in all babies born during this study. Even after all of these considerations no other explanation could be conceived of why babies were more likely to be still born if born “after hours.” One explanation could be, though it was not likely, that there were less highly skilled medical support “after hours.”
Planned Cesarean delivery at term carries a low risk of neonatal death, states this study. The Scotland study was a longitudinal examination over 19 years, preventing any possible skewing of the findings. The main reason for stillbirth was anoxia, or lack of oxygen (see prior paragraph about medical support).
Though these substantial findings point medical staff towards greater awareness for care and prevention of neonatal medicine, take heart. Even with the greater increase of death “after hours,” all babies are a blessing and planned their Creator.