True??? Babies Being Born During Summer Are ‘Heavier at Birth and Taller as Adults’
In a study of almost half a million British adults, it was found that babies born in June, July, and August were heavier at birth and taller as adults. It also showed that girls born in the summer started puberty later, which means they can lead a healthier adult life. Early puberty in girls has been linked with a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease or breast cancer.
The study suggests that this could be caused by the mums getting more sun in pregnancy – and passing on higher quantities of vitamin D to their unborn infant.
Dr John Perry, of Cambridge University, the author of the study, which was published in the journal Heliyon, said:
“When you were conceived and born occurs largely “at random”. It’s not affected by social class, your parents’ ages or their health – so looking for patterns with birth month is a powerful study design to identify influences of the environment before birth.”
His team studied the growth and development of about 450,000 men and women from the UK Biobank study – a major national health resource that provides data on UK volunteers to shed light on the development of diseases.
Previous research has also shown that kids born between June and October tend to be slightly taller and have bigger bones than winter-born children, which is believed to be related to vitamin D exposure during pregnancy. However, babies born in autumn and winter can likely develop food allergies – with sunlight exposure during pregnancy and vitamin D levels believed to have caused this.
However, babies being born in summer are more like to have increased the risk of short-sightedness, which is believed to be caused by the sunshine that interferes with the development of the eye.
Although, Dr Perry said that they were surprised, and pleased, to see how similar the patterns were on birth weight and puberty timing. He added that the results showed birth month has a measurable effect on development and health, although ‘more work is needed to understand the mechanisms behind this effect.’