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What Time of Day Are Most Babies Born?

Child Holding Clock

What time of day did you give birth? Was it in the middle of the night after a long dramatic labor, like a scene out of a Hollywood movie? Or was it in morning just before lunchtime?

If you said the latter, you're like most women, according to a new study that looked at the times of day babies are most likely to be born.

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed 2013 birth certificates from 41 states and the District of Columbia, which represents 90 percent of U.S. births. They found that the highest percentages of births occurred during morning and midday hours, with peaks at 8 am and noon.

Less than 3 percent of babies were born each hour between midnight and 7 a.m. However, this number rose on Saturday and Sunday, when births were more likely to occur overnight.

There were also some distinct findings regarding types of births. Cesarean deliveries were least likely to occur during the evenings and overnight. Non-induced vaginal births were more likely than cesarean and induced vaginal births to occur overnight.

"This is mostly a reflection of scheduled cesareans and induction of labor," says Erin Clark, MD, an OB/GYN at University of Utah Health. The use of medical interventions for childbirth has increased the past few decades, according to the authors of the study.

"There are good medical reasons for inducing labor to reduce the risk to mothers and their babies," Clark says. "Many women choose a scheduled induction for convenience. And women who have had one cesarean often choose a scheduled repeat cesarean."

Most babies are born in hospitals, but about 2 percent of births occurred out of hospitals. These were most likely to take place overnight. "Out-of-hospital births aren't ever scheduled," Clark says.

What are the implications of this study? Clark says, "It may help with labor and delivery staffing."