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Children born on the Weekend have a Higher Risk of Death, Study Says

Update Date: Nov 25, 2015 08:56 AM EST

Having a baby on the weekend could potentially be deadly, a new British study reported.

For this study, the researchers headed by Dr. Paul Aylin, of Imperial College London's School of Public Health, examined data on 675,000 births taken from the English National Health Services hospitals between April 2010 and March 2012. A total of 4,500 babies had passed away within a week after birth.

When the team looked at the date of the deliveries, they found that babies who were born on the weekends were more likely to die with a rate of 7.1 deaths per 1,000 births. The rate on weekdays was 6.4 deaths per 1,000 born. The researchers estimated that if the every day rate was the same as the rate found for Tuesdays, there would be 770 fewer deaths.

"More work needs to be done to better understand the causes of these differences, so that steps can be taken to improve outcomes for mothers and babies," Dr. Aylin, said in a college news release, reported by HealthDay via

The team also found that mothers giving birth on weekdays had a higher risk of infection than mothers who gave birth on weekdays. If the rates were all the same, there would be 470 fewer infections per year. The researchers could not determine what was causing infant death rate and infection rate in mothers to increase.

"In our paper we tried to account for the fact that differences in rates of complications on different days may be due to chance, or that births on certain days are more complicated in some way," Aylin said. "However, even after making these adjustments, we found the rates of complications vary on different days."

A spokeswoman for NHS England added, "Most mums say they get excellent NHS maternity care, but for a small number of families that is not the case and it's vital that we take every step to continuously improve quality and safety. We have commissioned a wider independent review of NHS maternity services, which will assess how best we can respond to England's growing birth rate and the need for well-staffed and safe services that give mums more say over their care."

In another study, published in September, the researchers found that patients who were admitted to the hospital on weekends were more likely to die than those who were admitted during the week.

The study was published in the journal, BMJ.

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