by Jeanne Sager
Do you ever go through a period where it seems that everyone is popping out babies? Every time I get on Facebook lately, there's another photo from another proud mom or dad introducing yet another new baby. Which is kind of surprising ... considering Americans are statistically less likely to give birth in winterthan in summer, by a pretty huge margin.
Didn't know that? Here's betting there's a lot you didn't know about winter babies! It turns out scientists are pretty fascinated by the effect the season of your birth has on your health and general well-being, and they've come up with a whole lot of research on what it means to be born when it's freezing cold outside. Let's dive in, shall we?
1. Winter babies are more likely to come from "less privileged" families. When economists from the University of Notre Dame did a review of birth certificates from 1989 to 2001, they found the percentage of children born to unwed mothers, teenage mothers, and mothers who hadn't completed high school peaked in January every year. The reasons? Among them was the assumption that poorer families are less likely to have air-conditioning, which means they are less likely to have sex in the hot summer months -- which results in a spring birth -- and more likely to do so during the cooler spring months. Add nine months, and you've got a January baby!
2. They're bigger than their summer counterparts. Scientists at both Harvard and Queensland (Australia) universities took a look at the statistics and found that children born in the winter months tended to be longer at birth than those born in the summer, and what's more, by age 7, the winter-born kids were heavier, taller, and had larger head circumference than their peers.
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3. They're not all that intelligent. According to Notre Dame researchers, babies born in January, February, and March tend to grow up to be less educated, less intelligent, less healthy, and lower paid than those born in spring, summer, and fall. Why? Researchers say it has to do with the aforementioned propensity for teen moms to give birth in winter and the difficulties these moms face.
4. They're smarter than their peers. Wait, didn't I just say winter babies were dumb? Well, that's according to one study! But the American and Australian scientists mentioned in #2 beg to differ! They monitored the development of 21,000 boys and girls, and their research indicates winter-born kids had higher scores in a series of intelligence exercises than their peers!
5. They're less likely to have multiple sclerosis. We've long heard that mom's health during pregnancy can affect a baby's health, but did you know something as simple as time of conception could do it? Oxford University researchers have found that babies born in November have the lowest incidence of multiples sclerosis, while babies CONCEIVED in the winter months tend to have the highest. Turns out moms get less vitamin D in winter (not surprisingly -- there's not a lot of exposure to sun), which can affect the fetus. Good news for moms who conceive in spring and summer -- and give birth in the winter!
6. Winter babies are more likely to be premature. Put the NICU on standby; babies conceived in May are more likely to be born early. Princeton researchers looked at data from the Vital Statistics Natality program, and even when they took out moms from a lower socioeconomic demographic (a risk factor for poor birth outcomes), they found babies due in the winter were as much as 10 percent likely to be born early. One of the big risk factors seemed to be the peak of flu season, prompting the researchers to advise moms due in winter to get their flu shot!
7. Winter babies behave better. Have you got a brat on your hands? Maybe it's because they were born during the summer? Queensland University researchers assessed everything from consideration of others to fidgeting among 4- and 5-year-olds and found the winter-born kiddos were much better behaved. Score!
8. They're depressed. Moms of winter babies might get enough sunshine to protect baby from some diseases, but what about baby? Turns out when you're born affects your biological clock, and babies who come out during the winter months have a higher risk of a number ofneurological disorders including seasonal affective disorder (winter depression), bipolar depression, and schizophrenia. Scientists blame a lot of it on the amount of light newborns are exposed to -- or should I say are NOT exposed to.
9. They have weaker bones. Yet another strike linked to sunshine! Scientists at Bristol University in the UK have found that summer babies are, on average, half a centimeter taller (remember, these are the Brits, so everything is metric) and had nearly 13 cm sq of extra bone area as compared to winter babies. They blame it on the vitamin D absorption by momsin the later stages of pregnancy, something that's harder on mothers who have winter babies.
10. Winter babies are more prone to food allergies. It seems most kids have some sort of food allergy these days, but a report in the Journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology that looks at children brought into Boston emergency rooms with food-related allergic reactions found a much larger number were born in winter than summer or spring.
When was your baby born? Do these facts fit?
Image via Justin Paget/Corbis
February 11, 2014 at 8:53 AM
I was January baby and I'm an exception to most of these facts.
I have 2 winter babies and they're an exception to these facts.
I call BS.
February 11, 2014 at 9:00 AM
I had winter babies and summer.Some of this is true. My dec baby was my biggest baby
by psych_momFebruary 11, 2014 at 10:32 AMI have a Dec, June, and an Oct baby and all three are intelligent, the biggest was my October baby, my Dec kid has asthma and allergies as do I and I'm a Dec baby.
by Angela4boysFebruary 11, 2014 at 9:30 PMMy kids are screwed! Lol! Mine are born Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, April,..all unhealthy, dumb assess with big heads, hahahaha! I laughed through all these! Crazy!
I really don't thinking of these so called facts ;)
February 12, 2014 at 8:25 AM
I am a Dec 25th winter baby-
1. mom was 19 and dad was 26 but they were middle income at least so not low income.
2. I was average 7lbs something when born but was always tall. Was 3ft even at age 2. 5'4" at 10, 5'7" at 13 and 5'9" by 14/15.
3/4. I am horrible at math beyond basic lifeskills math but other than that got a lot of A's when I was younger and am well read and philosophical, intellectual, informed, most people who know me assume I have college degrees but I don't. My school wouldn't tell me the score but told me I have a high IQ.
5. No MS.
6. not premature not late
7. I was VERY well behaved in elementary school but by middle school I was a wild child! Extremely!
8. yes on meds for life for chemical imbalances of depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (but well balanced now and doing very very well)
9. Never broke a bone although had situations where it could have easily done so. Also never had a cavity either.
10. I think I might have some but none serious or fatal and not 100% sure.
3 of our kids were born in May and June and one In fall/sept and only one of our 5 was born in winter, Brittany now 25 was born December 11th.
1. I was 20 when I had her (already had a 1 1/2 yr old too) and they were both very planned but yes we were low income at the time.
2. She was not my biggest baby or my smallest, she was in the middle at 8lbs and 9 oz. She is now 5' 9 "tall. thin.
3/4. Oh my gosh she is extremely intelligent in every way I can think of, got all A's thru school easily, and also musically and artistically very gifted as well! Soooo smart!
5. No MS but none of my kids have MS thank goodness
6. No not premature, she was 4 days late.
7. YES! She was the best behaved kid out of all 5. She rarely had to ever sit in time out when little and rarely ever got grounded and I even kept telling her to just be a kid because she was so perfect so often it seemed like she was a tiny adult. She was overachiever and did everything right. MODEL child! Her siblings would sometimes get mad at her for acting so 'perfect" although she got MAD if any people said she was perfect.
8. She is the second most mentally healthy out of of all our kids. She did suffer some depression in late high school but we got her thru that and she did have severe social anxiety, painful shyness as a child and teen but she overcame that too and is very sociable now and is even happy in difficult situtions where others would feel justified being depressed. She looks for the good in everthing.
9. No none of our kids have ever broken a bone although they probably all should have from various incidents.
10. she has no food allergies at all (her oldest brother who was born in May had the longest list of fatal food allergies the Childrens Hospital of Detroit said they have ever seen. It was just awful and disabling. Poor guy. I was terried to let Brittany try new foods when she was very little because of Jesse so I had to get her allergy tested at only 1 yrs old so I knew if she would die from food like her brother could or not before letting her try it. She was fine! YAY