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Weekend births may have more complications

Parents-to-be in Ohio may be interested in research out of England on the difference in outcomes between babies born on weekends and babies born during the week. In the medical profession, a phenomenon known as the weekend effect occurs across many disciplines in which patients fare more poorly on weekends compared to weekdays, but there has been little study of this effect in the field of obstetrics.

Researchers examined deaths, injuries, infections and emergency readmissions over a period of two years. They controlled for factors such as the mother's health and socioeconomic levels and found roughly 470 infections in mothers and 770 infant deaths that were higher than what would be expected on weekdays.

No direct correlation to staffing levels could be found, although researchers cautioned that more study is needed in this area. The diversity of the American health care system makes it more difficult to obtain, study and draw conclusions from data. However, a study of California hospitals published in 2013 found fewer C-sections and more infant deaths on the weekend.

There are a number of reasons that these outcomes might differ. It could be due to the fact that more weekday deliveries are scheduled. However, one of the authors of the California study cautions that mothers should not schedule interventions to ensure their babies are delivered on weekdays because there are so many variable factors still to be studied.

Whether it is a weekend or a weekday, a mother or infant may experience complications that might be related to medical negligence. For example, a medical professional might injure the baby during a forceps delivery, or a medical team might fail to see the need for a C-section in time. A mother might have a much longer recovery period, or an infant might need additional care or suffer developmental delays as a result. Parents who have been affected in such a manner may want to discuss their options with a medical malpractice attorney.

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