The Loh Down On Science

Is there a best time to have a baby?

When's the best time to make a baby?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Surprisingly, the time of year a baby is conceived can impact its health later on!

Meet Janet Currie from Princeton University.  She compared the babies of half-a-million mothers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. She calculated conception dates based on hospital records, and noted moms' and babies' health data.  

And?  Mothers who got pregnant during the summer?  They had plumper pregnancies and gave birth to chubbier babies.  Those who conceived during winter gained the least weight.  Yet their babies were normal in every way. 

The twist?  Those that had their fling in spring.  Moms gained weight just fine.  But their babies?  Underweight and thirteen percent more likely to be preemies!  What's with the seasonal variation? 

Well, a bun in the oven in April or May is in a critical finalization stage in January or February.  Currie points out that’s peak flu season!  Flu stresses the body and can induce early labor. 

So our advice for wanna-be-parents?  This spring, go to the movies instead.  You’ll be glad you did.

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, in partnership with the University of California, Irvine, and 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


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