Babies Conceived in May At Risk of Premature Birth

By Vishakha Sonawane, Parent Herald July 09, 04:35 am

Babies conceived in springtime are at risk of preterm birth, a latest research reveals.

The research, based on 647, 000 mothers with more than one child, showed that the babies conceived in May have 10 percent increased chances of premature births. The researchers said the reason behind this could be seasonal patterns of the flu virus. Babies conceived in May are due in February, when the flu season is at its peak.

"Because influenza is known to cause premature labor, these infants are at higher risk of short gestation," the researchers wrote in their study.

The researchers also studied the birth and conception records after the 1997 influenza and found increased number of premature births of babies conceived in May. To avoid preterm births the researchers suggest getting flu vaccinations during pregnancy.

Apart from premature birth, the researchers found a link between month of conception and baby's birth weight. Babies conceived in summers weigh more compared to those conceived in the rest of the months. The study showed these babies generally weighed nearly 8 to 9 grams more than other babies. Possible reason for this could be mother's weight gain during pregnancy.

"Women gain almost one pound more (in pregnancy) when they conceive in June, July or August than when they conceive in January," the researchers said. The study results showed that the seasonal patterns in food intake can alter birth, even in developed countries.

For the study, the researchers compared children born to the same mother. They studied 1.4 million children born to 647,050 mothers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The researchers said they could not fully investigate the reason behind the link between conception month and premature births and birth weight. However, they said it could be because of seasonal allergies and temperature change.

Previous studies showed a correlation between conception month and child's neurological disorders. But most of these studies concluded that it could possibly be because of differences in mothers, such as socio-income level and other factors.

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