A recent study carried out by Cambridge University has shown that babies born in the summer months of June, July and August are likely to be healthier than those born during the other three seasons.
The research showed that out of almost half a million British adults, those born in the summer were generally heavier at birth, taller as adults and the girls were more likely to start puberty later; which lowers the risk of heart disease, breast cancer or diabetes in later life. Dr Perry, who ran the study explained, “This is the first time puberty timing has been robustly linked to seasonality. We were surprised, and pleased, to see how similar the patterns were on birth weight and puberty timing. Our results show birth month has a measurable effect on development and health, but more work is needed to understand the mechanisms behind this effect.”
But, although summer babies are considered the healthiest, they still have their own health concerns. Summer born babies have a slightly higher risk of short-sightedness, which is thought to be down to sunshine disturbing the development of their eyes.
The study also revealed that autumn and winter born babies were more likely to develop food allergies, which again is thought to be down to sunshine, as the mother has less sun exposure during these seasons, which means her vitamin D levels are likely to be lower. Autumn babies are also at a greater risk of suffering from asthma. Dr Perry said, “We don’t know the mechanisms that cause these season of birth patterns on birth weight, height and puberty timing. We need to understand these mechanisms before our findings can be translated into health benefits. We think vitamin D exposure is important and our findings will hopefully encourage other research on the long-term effects of early life vitamin D on puberty timing and health.”
So, if you’re planning on having a baby, maybe it’s worth bearing some of this in mind…Interestingly there was no mention of spring babies, so maybe that should be the time of year you plan to give birth? Who knows? All we can really do is act on the advice of our GP and government guidelines about what it is safe to eat, drink and do during pregnancy in order to give our babies the absolute best start in life.