Why science says THIS is the most dangerous time to give birth


by Jadie Troy-Pryde |
Published on

For many soon-to-be mums, the idea of giving birth can be daunting to say the least. More and more women are developing birthing plans and exploring their options with untraditional methods in the run up to their due date. Every expectant mother wants to ensure that it all goes smoothly.

But as many parents will tell you, when it comes to giving birth things don’t always go to plan. However, as long as mummy and baby are safe and healthy all the other details don’t really matter.

That’s why researchers decided to try and find out whether there is a specific time when giving birth is most dangerous – and it turns out, there is.

Babies and mothers are both at risk* (Credit: Getty)

According to the data, the risks are at their peak if the midwife in charge is entering the ninth hour of the shift.

Scientists pooled information from 24,506 unscheduled deliveries in the UK between 2008 and 2013. It found that this was when the mother was most likely to suffer from maternal blood loss and low blood oxygen levels in the womb. At this point, the risk of losing more than 1.5 litres of blood increases by 30%.

But what does this have to do with your midwife?

Well the minds behind the study concluded that tired obstetricians are more likely to miss the distress signals.

There's also a saftey window* (Credit: Getty)

The study from The University of Texas also noted that there is a safety window. Strangely, if the midwife is entering the end of a twelve hour shift the risk was actually lowered, as more complicated issues would be passed over to colleagues who have just started their shift.

Author of the study Dr James Scott said: “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.”

It also found that there is no significant difference in risk if you give birth naturally or by caesarean, or if you had a senior doctor compared to a more junior one.

Did you experience a complicated birth? Tell us your story on Facebook or Twitter.


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