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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Dec;195(6):1521-6. Epub 2006 May 24.

The association between time of birth and fetal injury resulting in death.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of South Florida/Tampa General Hospital, Tampa, FL, USA.



In obstetrics, the care of patients in labor or with emergencies takes place day and night. Birth-related injury is among the worst of obstetric outcomes. This study sought to examine the relationship between time of birth and fetal injury resulting in death.


The Birth-Related Neurologic Injury Compensation Association (NICA) is a Florida organization that pays for the care of infants >2500 g with birth-related brain or spinal cord injury resulting in permanent impairment. We conducted a case-control study using all deaths from the NICA database from 1989 to 2002. Data were collected on the antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum care of the mother and fetus/child. Time of birth was identified for all cases and compared with a randomly selected control group of 1000 births in 1996 from Florida.


Eighty deaths were identified in the NICA database of 447 total cases. Of the 80 cases, 36/80 (45%) were born from 11 pm to 8 am. Of the 999 controls (1 certificate sealed for adoption) 281 (28.1%) were born from 11 pm to 8 am. This yields an odds ratio of 2.09 (95% CI 1.29-3.40) for the association of nighttime birth with fetal injury resulting in death.


Fetuses sustaining injuries resulting in death were more than twice as likely as controls to have been born from 11 pm to 8 am. Further studies are needed to determine the factors that affect this association and what changes might need to be made to optimize care regardless of time of day or night.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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