Skip Navigation

International Journal of Epidemiology: Birth: the importance of being on time

10 May 2012

On the OUPblog, the author of a new study in the International Journal of Epidemiology looks at the complications associated with post-term births.

"Some babies are born four weeks too early and others are born three weeks past the due date. Their timing seems random, but that is certainly not the case. Of all births, around 90% take place between 37 and 40 weeks. There are several theories about how the timing of birth is regulated, but the process is not completely understood. According to one theory, the placenta runs on a nine-month clock, telling time by the flux of pregnancy hormones. Your clock may run fast, causing an early birth, or slow, bringing a late baby. According to another theory, the fetal brain acts like a computer, recording its own growth and environmental changes in the uterus until the moment for birth is just right."

Read the blog post: Birth: the importance of being on time

Read the full paper for free: Post-term birth and the risk of behavioural and emotional problems in early childhood