The “weekend effect:” urban legend or a bonafide trend? This idea that patients admitted to the hospital on weekends have worse outcomes than those admitted on weekdays now has research — geared specifically to mom and baby — to back it. Still, that doesn’t mean you should panic if you go into labor on a Saturday or Sunday.
Using 2010-2012 British health data involving 1,349,599 births, Imperial College London has published what it deems the “most comprehensive assessment of its type of the ‘weekend effect’ in obstetric care.” Researchers examined whether hospital admission date or birth date made any difference when it came to maternal or fetal health and mortality. While they can’t explain why, it seems the chance of a baby being stillborn or dying within a week of birth is seven percent more likely when he or she is born on a weekend.
Some caveats here: Thursday births are actually tied to the highest mortality risk (while Tuesdays see the lowest). But when all weekdays data is grouped together, a clear “weekend effect” does emerge.
Interestingly, researchers couldn’t tie the weekend effect to an obvious source, like hospital staffing levels. The lack of any specific reasons for the correlation lend themselves to a major takeaway: Don’t be afraid of having your baby on a weekend. As the study, published in the British Medical Journal says, much more research is needed.
(via New York Magazine)