More new mothers are discharged from hospital following the birth of their baby on Christmas Eve than on any other day, figures have revealed.
The Daily Mail is claiming that this may be because midwives are trying to fit births around their holiday rotas.
On the other hand, it could just be because women are more likely to want to get home quickly at Christmas. Couldn't it?
The figures show that on December 24, 2008, there were 2,266 new mothers and babies discharged from hospital in England, but just 1,349 on Boxing Day.
Clare Byam-Cook, a former midwife who has helped celebrities such as Kate Winslet and Natasha Kaplinsky learn to feed their babies, told the Daily Mail: "I'm sure that it is the case that mothers are sent home early because Christmas is approaching.
"What is so depressing is that mothers and babies are booted out of hospital at the earliest opportunity just to save work generally. With Christmas approaching that pressure is even greater."
She warned that this could put babies at risk and said if women were sent home too early their babies could end up suffering from dehydration.
Mrs Byam-Cook also told the Mail that when she was a midwife, consultants would induce babies before they went on holiday.
However the figures from the NHS Information Centre cover discharges of new mothers from maternity wards - not the number of births, which the Mail seems to have got confused.
Most women leave hospital within six hours of giving birth.
Mervi Jokinen, practice standards advisor for the Royal College of Midwives, told the Mail that the rise in discharges on Christmas Eve was 'understandable'.
"Most women would like to be with their children on Christmas Day, as it is very much a family day," she said.
"The majority of women are quite fit to go home after normal births. They would only be kept in on Christmas Day if there was a serious problem."
That's a much more likely explanation, isn't it?
Source: Daily Mail
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