When Are The Most Babies Born?
When I was a labor and delivery nurse, there were two times of the day that I swear the most babies were born:
It has never failed. For exhausted nurses coming off of a night shift or for nurses who have been laboring all day with a mother, hoping to be there for the moment of birth, I would pretty much put my money on their saying that babies decide to wait until the stroke of 7:00 a.m. or 7:00 p.m. to make their grand debut.
Left to nature, most mothers go into labor at night, perhaps a throwback to our primitive days, when a laboring mother would be safer from predators at night. Other primates, for example, usually give birth at night and only have longer labors that last into the day if there is a problem.
Now, however, reports show that there is one common time for babies across the country to be born.
Drumroll, please …
The majority of babies are born in the morning, the CDC reports. In the United States, births tend to occur in predictable daylight, waking hours, thanks to the rise in c-sections and inductions that allow doctors to schedule births in a more timely fashion.
For instance, it was common practice at the hospital I worked at for some doctors to bring a first-time mother in, whose labor would generally take longer than a mom who already had given birth before, to start her induction at night. That way, she could wait for her labor to really get started while resting on and off at night and then hopefully have her baby sometime the next day while the doctor was already at the hospital doing rounds. And c-sections would usually start first thing in the morning — to get those births checked off the doctors' lists before they saw patients in the office.
Just to show how startling the disparity in time is, the study also found that out-of-hospital births typically occurred very early in the morning — after 1 a.m. or later. Some other interesting facts from the latest CDC data on birth include:
- Births on Saturday and Sunday were more likely to occur in the late evening and early morning hours than births Monday through Friday.
- There are fewer c-sections late at night or very early in the morning. The true emergency c-sections don't follow a 9-5 schedule, now do they?
- Births that weren't induced were more likely to occur early in the morning.
- The biggest peak for Monday-Friday births occurred around 9 in the morning and noon. Lunch break, anyone?
What time was your baby born?