If You're Gonna Get Pregnant, Do It Now (Or Mess Up Your Baby for Life)


Here’s one more thing to worry about in regards to your perfect pregnancy: If you don’t conceive before August — your child will probably suffer from a weaker immune system, poorer vision and hearing, and slower cognitive development. But no pressure.

According to studies dating back to the early 1930s — and bolstered through recent research that economist Douglas Almond of Columbia University says isn’t “quite a smoking gun” but “it’s much stronger than the previous evidence” — babies born in winter are screwed. They suffer from slower growth, mental illness, and even early death. Therefore, getting nasty with the intent of making babies in May is no good. No good at all.

In fact:

May is the most unfavorable time to get pregnant, the study finds. Babies conceived this month (and thus delivered in winter) were 13% more likely to be born premature, and their gestation time was almost a week below the average, Currie and Schwandt report. Because low birth weight and prematurity have been linked to diverse health problems—weaker immune systems, poorer vision and hearing, and slower cognitive development—this variation could help explain differences later in life. The study found that for conceptions between January and May, gestation length declined by about a week before shooting back up to average length in June.

So when should you have get knocked up so that your baby doesn’t come out with its insides on its outside?

Well, in terms of birth weight, researchers note that summer — specifically June through August — is the best time to conceive a hearty, healthy baby. But let’s just hope they’re not too hearty — you definitely don’t want an obese kid. Or you could just have sex and get pregnant whenever and most probably be fine.

In fact, I’ve heard that babies born earlier in the year have a better chance in succeeding in school and sports.

Consider this Malcolm Gladwell piece filled with fun anecdotes (as Malcolm Gladwell pieces are wont to do):

A close look at the rosters of top Canadian hockey teams reveals an oddly disproportionate number of players born in the first three months of the year. The reason is relative age. Canadian youth hockey leagues base a player’s eligibility on the calendar year, so skaters born on January 1 play with boys with December birthdays. At nine or ten years of age, several months can make a noticeable difference in a child’s size and coordination. The coaches then tend to label the bigger, more focused players the better ones, when in fact what they are is older. Those kids go on to get extra practice and playing time, and eventually do end up being better.

So, really — make with the baby making sex now, or make with the baby making sex later — it just doesn’t matter. And that’s science*.

[Science Mag]

*Not really.

Shutterstock/Podoinikov Alexey

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