The Time of Day Most Babies Are Born Just Isn't Natural

Technology has given us a lot of wonderful things like plastic, penicillin, and countertop coffee makers, but -- for better or for worse -- it has also given us the option to plan out giving birth and to slip labor and delivery neatly into our schedules. As a result, the most common times to give birth are surprisingly predictable. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, babies are most often born at 8 a.m. and noon on weekdays.

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It that wasn't always the case. Back in the old old days (apparently), we humans would leave a woman on the side of the road because, hello, she was slowing us down and there were some berries up ahead calling our name. So, being the accommodating creatures that we are, women started giving birth at night so they wouldn't slow the herd down and lose their spot with their hunting and gathering comrades.

And apparently, it stuck. When left to their own devices (a.k.a., natural births at home) babies are most likely to come during the wee hours of the morning ... when our ancestors would still be snoozing by the berry bushes.

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Zoology experts see similar patterns in primates, which gives a little credibility to the idea. But in the U.S. today, 98 percent of babies are born in hospitals, which means that births are dictated more by doctors' schedules than by evolution.

Those doctors like to get births out of the way before their morning and afternoon rounds, which means that the majority of births happen between 8 and 9 a.m. and 12 and 1 p.m. on weekdays. 

This kind of scheduling is possible because of the growing number of induced labors and C-sections in the past couple of decades, which gives mothers and doctors more choice in when babies are born.

And actually, it's probably better for babies to be born during the daytime when hospitals have more of their staff around. But in hospitals that are staffed around the clock, researchers didn't find any difference in the health of babies born at night versus during the day.

When did you deliver your babies?

 

Image via Andresr/shutterstock

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