New studies reveal that the season you were born in can actually affect your physical and mental qualities—your height, for example. Science makes sense of this new information, too.

When researchers compare birth months, they’re really just comparing sunlight exposure throughout an average pregnancy, or the potential for pregnant women to absorb vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for bone growth, cardiovascular health, and our immune systems, and is transmitted to our bodies via sunlight, which means that when women are pregnant during the summer (especially during their second trimester), their babies have some differences that could even be seen as advantages.

In a study conducted on 450,000 men and women, on average, those born in the summer had a higher birth weight, taller adult height, and started puberty at a later age. In fact, those born in winter months showed exactly the opposite. In addition to these physical findings, those born in the autumn months were more likely to continue with schooling after the age of 16. Other correlations, such as birth month with diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and psychiatric disorders are currently being investigated for confirmation, but the data looks like there is a strong connection there as well.

Though your birthday is hardly something controllable, the principle featured in this study is one that has been around for decades. Fetal development is strongly correlated to a mother’s environment—her exercise habits, her intake of necessary vitamins and minerals, and, apparently, the amount of time she spends outside. As science in this field continues to progress, we can better understand how to give our children the best chance for a healthy, happy life.

Sources: University of Cambridge, Heliyon
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Healthy Staff

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