Rules of thumb

This seems pretty indisputable:

I still giggle at the memory of my sister’s midwifery training at Groote Schuur hospital in Cape Town, many decades ago. At one point there was a spate of “blue babies”, infants who were not breathing, or not breathing properly, at birth. To jolt her trainee midwives into being more aware of the problem, the matron in charge of that class put up a notice in the break room. In large capital letters, it warned:

THE FIRST FIVE MINUTES OF LIFE ARE THE MOST DANGEROUS!

It didn’t take long before someone added, in equally bold print:

THE LAST FIVE MINUTES ARE A BIT DODGY, TOO!

For the time in between, you take your chances.

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