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Did you have a night owl baby? Or a baby born in the middle of the day?
In the United States, most babies are born between 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on a weekday. None of my children read this statistic, apparently. They all took a very long time even after being induced. They were born in the evening, and two of them were born on the weekend. Figures.
On the other hand, in the U.S. and around the world, most vaginal births that are not induced occur between 1 a.m.-7 a.m., with the number of babies born this way falling for the rest of the day.
That's right. When we let nature take its course, not only are many expectant mothers undergoing serious physical exertion...they get to do it in the middle of the night while the rest of the world is blissfully asleep.
You can thank Mother Nature for this.
Many researchers think evolution plays a part in what time babies are born. When we were nomadic people, moving around each day and trying to stay safe from predators, having babies in the dark would have given the babies and mothers extra protection. There would be more people around as no one would be out hunting and gathering at night. There would be people available to assist the mother as she was having the baby, and afterward. And there would be people around to defend the new mother and baby from lions and other animals who might smell blood and try to attack.
For a long time, this theory was hard to test because most of the information we had on births was from present-day clinics and hospitals. But recently, Yale University researcher Carlye Chaney shared the results of her study. She looked at a group of people in Argentina who lived relatively modern lives, and a group of nomadic hunter-gatherers. The results were the same for both – a surge in births between 2 a.m.-3 a.m., and a slowdown around 5 p.m. Babies were overwhelmingly born during dark hours. Which means from their very first moment on the planet, babies were already keeping their parents up at all hours of the night.
Now, if someone could just explain to me the evolutionary reason for 36 hours of labor...?
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