The most common time of day to give birth probably won't come as much of a surprise 2 years ago

The most common time of day to give birth probably won't come as much of a surprise

Anyone who's had a baby will be well aware that they don't go by anyone's schedule but their own.

They sleep (and wake) whenever it suits them and won't be rushed - nor will they wait for anyone.

This erratic timing applies right from the start, as a new study has shown that the most common time of day for a baby to be born is 4am.

Researchers looked at data for over 5 million births in England between 2005 and 2014

They found that the vast majority of births occur outside of traditional business hours - 71.5 per cent of births happen early in the morning, in the evening, at night or on weekend days, while just 28.5 per cent of births occur between 9am and 5pm on a week day.

It could be down to how our ancestors lived, according to lead author on the study Dr Peter Martin.

"This may be part of our evolutionary heritage," he said.

The most common time of day to give birth probably won't come as much of a surprise

"Our ancestors lived in groups that were active and dispersed during the day and came together to rest at night.

"So a night-time labour and birth probably afforded the mother and newborn baby some protection."

Just over half of the births looked at in the study were spontaneous deliveries after the mum went into a spontaneous labour.

In these births, babies were most likely to be born between 1am and 6.59am, with the number of births peaking at 4am.

Meanwhile, births after induced labours are more likely to occur around midnight on Tuesdays to Saturdays and on days before a public holiday period.

Unsurprisingly, elective and pre-planned C-sections were more likely to occur during the day - the most common time was between 9am and 11.59am.

Teams from City, University of London and University College London in collaboration with the National Childbirth Trust worked analysed data for 5,093,615 births.