Jump to Main Content
Where are the Sunday babies? II. Declining weekend birth rates in Switzerland
- Lerchl, Alexander, Reinhard, Sarah C.
- Naturwissenschaften 2008 v.95 no.2 pp. 161-164
- conception, hospitals, infants, Switzerland
- Birth dates from almost 3 million babies born between 1969 and 2005 in Switzerland were analyzed for the weekday of birth. As in other countries but with unprecedented amplitude, a very marked non-random distribution was discovered with decreasing numbers of births on weekends, reaching -17.9% in 2005. While most of this weekend births avoidance rate is due to fewer births on Sundays (up to -21.7%), the downward trend is primarily a consequence of decreasing births on Saturdays (up to -14.5%). For 2005, these percentages mean that 3,728 fewer babies are born during weekends than could be expected from equal distribution. Most interestingly and surprisingly, weekend birth-avoiding rates are significantly correlated with birth numbers (r = 0.86), i.e. the lower the birth number per year, the lower the number of weekend births. The increasing avoidance of births during weekends is discussed as being a consequence of increasing numbers of caesarean sections and elective labor induction, which in Switzerland reach 29.2 and 20.5%, respectively, in 2004. This hypothesis is supported by the observation that both primary and secondary caesarean sections are significantly correlated with weekend birth avoidance rates. It is therefore likely that financial aspects of hospitals are a factor determining the avoidance of weekend births by increasing the numbers of caesarean sections.