What is the best time of day to give birth?

It has nothing to do with mum and bub.

April 05 2023

A new paper published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found the safest time to give birth has nothing to do with mum and bub and everything to do with the doctor on duty.

“There are all sorts of studies about the timing of deliveries, but what nobody had looked at before is whether there is some kind of proxy for how fatigued the doctors are," Dr James Scott, an associate professor of statistics at the University of Texas says in the new paper, according to The Mirror

Researchers looked at 24,506 unscheduled deliveries in the UK between January 2008 and October 2013 from the same maternity wards where doctors worked 12-hours shifts.

The results didn’t show any differences between night and day births or vaginal and C-section births.

What researchers did find was that when a doctor enters their ninth hour during a shift, there was an increased risk of maternal blood loss due to fatigue and missing small signals.

“We find that there’s a peak eight to 10 hours after the beginning of a shift when, relative to baseline, the risk of maternal blood loss exceeding 1.5 litres increase by 30 per cent, and arterial pH, a marker for infant distress, is at increased risk of falling below 7.1,” Scott said.

Normal arterial pH is should be between 7.3 and 7.4.

Interestingly, the risk decreased in the final two hours of a shift, likely due to doctors handing over to the next on duty.