Fail and Shameful Scaremongering

From the Daily Mail:

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And another story aimed at scaring pregnant mothers: ‘Babies born at night in hospital ‘have higher risk of dying‘. Now, we looked at absolute risk and relative risk the other day, so this article is using the same scary trick:

Pregnant women have been warned their delivery is nearly fifty per cent more likely to go wrong if they give birth at night rather than during the day due to poor staff cover.

A worrying study has uncovered a link between drastically higher rates of newborn death and admission to neonatal intensive care for deliveries in the evenings and early hours…

The chances of death in some hospitals could be as much as 47 per cent higher if the babies are born between 6pm and 8am than if they are born during the day. [My emphasis]

So, in order to assess how worried mothers would need to be, and whether this rate is ‘drastically higher’ we have to look at the percentage of children dying:

between 0.05 and 0.09 per cent of infants died during or soon after birth.

Rates were higher among infants born at larger hospitals, but were still less than 1 per cent.

So, as we know, 47% higher relative risk when the absolute risk is less than 1% it not something pregnant mothers should worry about or even consider, yet undoubtedly this article aims to make them do just that. This is pathetic scaremongering and typical of the Daily Mail outlook on life. Just shameful.

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