The stereotypes regarding summer vs. winter babies may be easy to trace to their origins – children born during the colder months, after all, would naturally be more likely to fall ill in their first months, and superstition suggests that a sickly child will grow into a frail adult – but recent studies add a surprising layer of scientific evidence to the idea that summer babies are inherently hardier.
According to the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit of the University of Cambridge, as reported by EurekAlert, children are much more affected by birth month than previously thought. For instance, girls born in sunny months are more likely to weigh a bit more at birth and to go through puberty slightly later than their winter-born counterparts, both indicators of better health once adulthood is reached.
WebMD reports that the research suggests that more exposure to vitamin D during the second trimester of pregnancy will yield stronger, healthier babies. This study, however, is the first solid link between birth month and overall health, and MRC researcher Dr. John Perry is careful to add that more information is necessary before any conclusions are drawn. Dr. Perry’s team looked at 450,000 men and women, investigating the relationship between birth weight and the onset of puberty, and adult weight, height and health. The study, published in the scientific journal Heliyon, does note that limiting factors include the need to account for external influences, like class, when attempting to discern why certain adults grow up healthier than others.
Still, it would appear that summer babies don’t just look happier thanks to the sunshine and bright clothing.
Meanwhile, researchers hope to delve deeper into the long-term effects of vitamin D as well as other environmental factors. For now, women with winter due dates can reference this study when arguing their case for a nice, long tropical vacation.