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Study Reveals That Births Are More Likely To Happen After-Hours

One thing about baby births is that while doctors are pretty good at predicting the arrival of those tiny pink wonders into the world, the time of day that that will happen hasn't quite been nailed down yet. And chances are that when a baby is starting to make its final exit from its cozy sanctuary after nine months, they'll do it when they're gosh darn ready, and not when you are.

Sound familiar? It probably does to the millions of mothers who wound up giving birth in the wee hours of the morning or at any other time than during the hustle and bustle of the daytime. Statistics certainly bear this out. One U.K. study revealed that more than 70 percent of births took place during the conventional non-working hours of 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. on weekdays.

What's unusual, however, is the reasoning behind these after-hours births. It goes way back to the time when our ancestors were still living in caves. Apparently, the logic is that while folks were hunting and gathering all day, the only safe time to give birth was after hours when everyone got back together at the homestead. While some were on guard against predators, others stood by the mother when she started delivering.

"This may be part of our evolutionary heritage," said Dr. Peter Martin, who headed the study. "Our ancestors lived in groups that were active and dispersed during the day and came together to rest at night. So a night-time labor and birth probably afforded the mother and newborn baby some protection."

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Interestingly enough, babies tended to avoid emerging into the world on weekends and during major holidays as well. The average births during those periods were roughly one percent lower on Saturday, two percent less frequent on Sunday as well as public holidays. As for the lowest birth rates? Christmas is a time when the rates are seven percent lower than the average. That rate is also the same in a number of Commonwealth nations like the U.K., Australia, and Canada for Boxing Day, which takes place on December 26th.

Mind you, we're talking about spontaneous births here, as opposed to more controlled and elective deliveries like caesareans. Those tend to take place on weekdays between 9 a.m. and noon. The rates are much lower between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays. Lower still are elective births during weekends and holidays.

Still, most mothers aren't particularly worried about when baby arrives as long as he or she is healthy.

When did you deliver your baby? Was it after-hours? Let us know in the comments!

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