Study: 'Out-of-hours' Babies at Risk

LONDON, July 16 (UPI) — A British study says babies born at night or on weekends are at greater risk of dying than those born during traditional working hours.

Data on 2 million births in Scotland over 20 years suggest the risk to babies born out of hours was one-third higher than for those born in the day, the BBC reported Friday.


For mothers giving birth during the traditional work week, the risk of their baby dying was 4.2 per 10,000, against 5.6 per 10,000 at all other times, the study said.

Possible reasons for the disparity included night staffing levels and access to facilities, researchers at Glasgow and Cambridge universities said.

David Field, professor of neonatal medicine at Leicester University, said it was important that experienced medical staff be available at any hours for births.

But he also cited a growing movement to give women more choices of where to give birth, including at home, in a hospital or in a midwife-led unit, the BBC said.

“These different facilities will not be the same in terms of ethos, the services they offer or the risks associated with delivery and these differences should be transparent,” he said.

“This would allow women to make a genuine choice of site for delivery in consultation with their midwifery and medical advisers.”

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