Child-birth 33 percent more risky out-of-hours

Couples looking to start a family should take care when choosing their maternity ward with new research suggesting the chances of complications increase significantly when the birth takes place out of standard working hours (either in the evening, late at night, very early in the morning or over the weekend).

The research

The new research was conducted in a joint study between the University of Glasgow and the University of Cambridge, and found that children who are born outside the hours of a normal working week face a much greater chance of not surviving.

The data used in the study was taken between 1985 and 2004 and covers over one million births. The increase in death was mainly as a result of a lack of oxygen, the report stated.

Better staffing

One of the researchers suggests that hospitals need to be better staffed with doctors and midwives out-of-hours in order to reduce the disparity in deaths during these times.

It is also argued that new ‘minimum’ standards should be set for access to operating theaters and medical staff throughout the night and at weekends.

The statistics

The difference in death rates of children was very significant, with 4.2 deaths per 10,000 births during normal working times and an increase to 5.6 deaths per 10,000 births during out-of-hour times.

Further information on the report can be found in the British Medical Journal research paper.

Relation to mortgage protection

Although mortgage payment protection insurance (MPPI) plans and mortgage critical illness insurance do not provide protection against the risk of child death at birth or for normal pregnancy, a successful claim might be able to be made if there are complications during child-birth that cause serious injury or illness. You should check your policy wording for specific details.