The ‘Official’ Rules for First Baby of The Year

ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
Jan 2015
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Photo: Shutterstock

The first baby of the New Year earns immediate fame and lifelong bragging rights. With stakes like that, the determination should require some strict guidelines, right? It turns out it’s probably less official than you think.

The sense of competition associated with welcoming the first baby is probably stronger among hospitals than expectant parents. And some of those hospitals might play dirty. “The race to have the first baby is something all hospitals share enthusiasm for, especially in large cities like Chicago, and, unfortunately, not all hospitals play fair,” said Karen Deighan, MD, OB/GYN, at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Chicago. “If a patient is actively in labor, there may be encouragement for her to hold off on that final last push during the final clock countdown to the new year. A physician could also perform a strategically scheduled Caesarean section,” she says, but indicates she has never done so.

Even if doctors and nurses are playing fair, there’s no universal clock or system for making the time-of-birth call. “There’s no uniform clock or official system of timekeeping that I know of. We don’t all synchronize our clocks with each other on a certain day or hour,” says Deighan. However, there is one standard requirement for making the call: the baby must be completely out of the womb. (The umbilical cord doesn’t have to be cut.)

If it’s a close call, can you contest the final verdict? Probably not; proof is hard to come by since most hospitals don’t allow births to be filmed. And “the first” publicized New Year’s baby might not actually be the first, but just the first that the media can cover. “The media always wants to interview the mother and photograph the baby but that requires signed consent from both parents for themselves and again as guardians for the baby,” says Deighan, explaining that parents who are the quickest to give the hospital permission for publicity may be the real winners.

So let’s get to the ultimate question: who was the winner of 2015? There doesn’t seem to be a national answer, and even if there were, it would probably be a tie. The breakdown is city-by-city, and in some areas just hospital-by-hospital. In NYC, Maxim Olenyukh won the coveted title, making his debut at midnight in Coney Island. Mass General was the first hospital to welcome a 2015 baby in Boston, delivering Rylee Weigman at 12:43 a.m.

(via Science Daily)

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