Nighttime delivery may be risk factor for poor outcome

January 1, 2007

Newborns who sustain injuries resulting in death are more than twice as likely as controls to have been born at night. To reach that conclusion, Adam C. Urato, MD, of the University of South Florida/Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Fla., and colleagues looked at times of birth in 80 death cases from the Birth-Related Neurologic Injury Compensation Association database and in a randomly selected group of 1,000 controls.

Newborns who sustain injuries resulting in death are more than twice as likely as controls to have been born at night. To reach that conclusion, Adam C. Urato, MD, of the University of South Florida/Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Fla., and colleagues looked at times of birth in 80 death cases from the Birth-Related Neurologic Injury Compensation Association database and in a randomly selected group of 1,000 controls.

The researchers found that 36 (45%) of the cases were born between 11 PM and 8 AM compared to 281 (28.1%) of controls. They calculated an odds ratio of 2.09 for the association of nighttime birth with fetal injury resulting in death.

"The implications of our findings are significant," the authors write. "If future research confirms our findings and more fully elucidates the factors underlying the association between nighttime delivery and poor outcome, then changes will have to take place in the areas identified. However, while further research in this area is certainly needed, it is important to note, as other authors have, that other industries have not waited for absolute proof of increased risk at night before initiating changes and establishing regulations."