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Study in England examines weekend effect on births

According to a new study, women in New Mexico and around the country who give birth on weekdays might have better outcomes than those who give birth on weekends. However, experts caution that this is not a good reason to try to schedule weekday births and that the study, which was conducted in England, might be harder to replicate in the varying hospital environment of the United States.

The so-called weekend effect is a well-known phenomenon in medicine. It refers to the overall tendency of patients to have poorer results on weekends, but its effects on obstetrics has not been examined much. Researchers in England looked at data from more than 1 million births from April 2010 to March 2012. The study took variables into account such as the mother's health and age and found that there was a slight increase in infant deaths and stillbirths on weekends. While the increase was small, researchers said the seriousness of the consequences merited concern.

The complications did not appear to be linked to staffing levels. One expert suggested it might be because births on weekdays tend to be scheduled more than weekend births. A 2013 study in California found higher newborn deaths and fewer C-sections on busy weekends, but all researchers caution that more research is needed before definite conclusions can be drawn from either study.

Other complications might occur during delivery such as brain injuries. Whether these complications happen on weekdays or weekends, parents who feel that their newborn children's injuries are the result of medical negligence might want to consult an attorney about their options. Medical errors during delivery could lead to long recovery period for the mother or the child and mounting medical expenses. In some cases, a child could be affected for life by delivery room errors.

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