As the Bible verse — and the Byrds song — says, "to everything, there is a season." And a mama can't wait for the season where she will welcome her new little bundle of joy. Summer seems like a great time to have a baby because there aren't as many germs and lots of opportunities to take the baby out for walks in the park. But there are pros and cons to being born at a time when the days are long and hot. And some of them last for a person's entire life.
Summer may be one of the worst times to be pregnant — the extra heat brings about swelling and chaffing and all kinds of other miserable complications — but it's a good time to be born. The babies tend to be healthy and a normal size. They grow up to be tall and strong, and they aren't likely to have to worry about allergies and asthma. Summer girls are smarter too.
But for summer babies, life isn't always a day at the beach. They tend to struggle in school, mostly because they are the youngest kids in their class but also because there is a higher incidence of dyslexia and they are more likely to have issues with concentration and behavior. But their sunny season of arrival also mirrors their sunny disposition.
Here are 15 little known facts about babies born in the summer.
If you are expecting a summer baby, you aren't the only one. The summer months are the most popular for births, with July and August topping the charts. August is the number one month, with 353,000 out of 3.9 million births in the United States each year on average. That's nearly 10 percent, when there are 12 months to divide the births through. July nearly has that many, with 349,000 births each year.
It's always been a trend that less babies are born in the fall and winter. That happens among animals as well, since it is harder to find food and stay warm during those times of the year. But it's interesting that it also bodes true for human babies. The elements aren't as much of an issue, yet our biological clocks tend to trend more toward the warmer times. There are lots of kids who have to plan their birthday parties when school is out, but at least they have the option of a pool party.
A summer pregnancy can be tough. All that heat and humidity just exacerbates the issues that happen in late pregnancy — like the feeling that you are literally baking that little bun in the oven and the way that women sweat and swell and generally feel miserable. Anyone could get dehydrated on a hot July day, but a pregnant woman has an even greater chance. And a little dehydration can lead to early contractions, maybe even premature labor.
According to research, heatwaves could bring on early births, which means that the babies born in summer months have a good chance of being preemies. According to the study, the risk of an early birth goes up by 27 percent when there is a heatwave, which was defined as four to seven days when the temperatures go above 90 degrees. This took place in Montreal, so imagine the possibilities in Texas or Florida. Thanks to technology, babies born early have a greater chance than ever, but still, weeks matter when it comes to the health of a newborn, so moms-to-be should do their best to stay inside and enjoy the air conditioning.
While moms due in the summer may worry about the high temperatures bringing on the contractions, we have some good news in the form of another study of summer babies. The good thing about summer babies is that they are much more likely to be born at a healthy birth weight.
According to a 2015 British study, a healthy birth weight is defined as between 5.5 pounds and 8.8 pounds. That is the sweet spot, and babies born in June, July and August are more likely to hit it.
It seems more and more babies these days are born either really big or really little. The good news is that many who are born early and tiny are given good chances due to medical care enhancements for preemies, but a big baby and a little baby both have their downsides. A smaller baby is more prone to infection and may have disabilities or developmental problems, and they could have poor health later in life. On the other hand, a big baby could have a higher risk for diabetes and obesity later in life, and they even have an increased risk for leukemia.
Scientists don't know much about how the brain works or how it is formed. But it seems like the season of birth may have something to do with it. According to some research studies out of the Columbia University Medical Center, the link is definitely there — and it shows that the gray matter in the brain develops very differently for babies born in the summer compared to those born in the fall. And interestingly, it also is different for boys and girls.
According to the analysis, girls who are born in the summer have more gray matter than those born in the winter. And for boys, it's the complete opposite — boys born in the summer have the least amount of gray matter. That means that summer girls can be considerably smarter, while boys born in those hotter months may have a harder time. It's an interesting phenomenon that does seem to be directly related to the calendar when a baby is born.
This next part may not be much of a surprise when you consider what we just mentioned, although most people tend to attribute it more to the school calendar than the seasons. The truth is that summer babies are the most likely to struggle in school.
School districts across the country set their own guidelines for when the academic year begins, and the states usually have a big say in the age cut off for each grade. But the problem is that for most, that is somewhere in August or September. There has to be a cut off date somewhere, but this system puts kids born in the summer at a disadvantage because they may be nearly a year younger than some of their classmates. (And for a summer born boy with less gray matter, that could really put them in the worst possible position for beginning their academic journey.)
Many parents consider letting their summer baby remain out of school for another year, and the science shows that might not be a bad idea.
There's one more bit of bad news for babies born in the summer as far as learning goes. It may be another part of the brain matter issue we already discussed, but research has shown a correlation between summer births and the likelihood that a child will have dyslexia. The study, which solely involved boys, showed evidence that more kids born in May, June and July were likely to have the learning disability, which makes reading, writing and spelling especially difficult.
The study showed as many as 70 percent of the kids with the disorder born in the summer, although there were other groups of kids where the incidence was not so high. Researchers hope that the findings can help in figuring out early interventions, since children who receive support and special accommodations can do well, and in fact it isn't a failing of intellect at all, just a disability to learn to deal with.
No one wants to think about puberty when their little one is still in diapers — it seems so far in the future and the worries of sleeping through the night far outweigh the concerns of dealing with a teenager. But according to research, a summer baby girl has a benefit that will show up when puberty hits.
The research shows that summer baby girls are more likely to start puberty later in life. The start time has been creeping up in recent years, and unfortunately girls who go through it before age 10 have to deal with a lot of issues, including emotional challenges. And they are at risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Some girls can't wait to get that training bra, but the delay is actually good for their emotional and physical health. And it's easier on their parents as well. That's certainly something to look forward to for a summer baby.
Summer babies may have a lot of benefits. But they may need another pair of glasses in addition to their summer shades. That's because research shows that people born in the summer months are more likely to be nearsighted. They are more likely to need lenses to help them see clearly.
The excess light outside that is there in the summer months has a lot of benefits, and we'll get into those later. But in an Israeli study, scientists conjectured that the exposure to higher levels of light in the summer are what cause the need for glasses. People born in June and July are 24 percent more likely to be severely nearsighted compared to people born in December or January. They think that the light exposure impacts the length of the eye and its focal ability.
Sunny days are great until they cause eye damage. It's a shame that doctors think that it happens so early, but they do stress the fact that the biggest determination of whether you will need glasses is genetics.
Parents who want to raise the next Lebron James better shoot for a summer baby. That's because research shows that summer babies tend to be taller than kids born in the colder months. Scientists aren't sure what the reason is, but the think it might have to do with the vitamin D that women get from the extra sunlight during those months. But whatever it is, it's good for dunking.
A height advantage isn't just good for shooting hoops. It also decreases the risk for stroke, heart disease and Alzheimer's, although tall people may be more likely to get type 1 diabetes or certain cancers. Tall people do well in their careers, earning more promotions and leadership positions and even getting more dates. So a summer baby may soon tower over his mom and dad and do well in life. That could be a blessing or a curse, depending on the family, but at least he'll never have a problem getting something off of a high shelf.
There's something very special about vitamin B. It comes naturally from the sunlight, and therefore summer babies get a lot more of it — and so do their moms when they are pregnant. And that magic ingredient seems to do a lot of good for the health of kids, and that can last a lifetime.
Babies born in the summer are much less likely to suffer from food allergies than those born in the window. That's very good news for parents who have worries about their kids suffering from severe reactions to peanuts, milk or other triggers that can cause throats to close up and kids to break out in rashes.
Food allergies are on the rise lately, and all too many kids end up dying because of them. So going through the pain of a summer pregnancy may be well worth it if it keeps the allergies at bay.
Allergies aren't the only ailment that impact winter babies a lot more than those born in the summer. They are also a lot more likely to have to deal with asthma, an illness that can cause kids to gasp for air. So moms of summer babies should rejoice that their little ones are less likely to struggle to breathe.
It may be surprising to hear that the risk of asthma is lower in babies born in the summer, since there is more likely to be smog in the air during June, July and August, the hottest months when pollution is practically cooked in the air. Smog is often a trigger for asthma attacks, after all. But that wonderful old vitamin D seems to have done the trick to help summer babies' systems better able to fight off attacks. Many kids outgrow asthma issues, but some struggle to breathe their entire lives, so summer babies are lucky to have that extra protection against such a chronic and awful issue.
That vitamin D may do wonders for the baby's lungs and height and other health factors. But doctors in Australia say it may actually cause kids to struggle with behavior. In a research study, they found that summer babies tend to have more trouble with temperament. They also are more likely to fidget and have trouble concentrating and they may even struggle to share and to make friends.
We're going to point out here that Australia is on the other side of the globe, so the 4- and 5-year-olds in their study were considered summer babies if they were born in November, December or January, when it's warmer outside for that continent. There are certain genetic factors that also influence behavior, but the environment is known to impact social and psychological characteristics, and they say that this is no different. It's critical for the mom to get outside throughout her pregnancy, even if her first trimester is in the winter months, so that the baby gets all the vitamin D that she needs.
Once a summer baby, always a summer baby. In other words, children who are born in the hot, sunny days of June, July and August are going to be happiest in the fun and sun. They won't really adjust well to the winter.
According to research studies, the children of summer are the most susceptible to the winter time blues. It's a real illness, called seasonal affective disorder or SAD. It's basically cabin fever for people who don't want to be shut up inside when the temperatures drop and the snow and cold keep people from being able to get out and about. When you are stuck inside in the winter, you don't get to have access to the vitamin D that comes naturally through the sun through the summer. That can lead to, well, sadness. But the good news is that when the temperatures rise, so do the spirits, and summer will always be back soon.
While people born in summer relish the sun, that doesn't mean that they don't like it when it goes down. In fact, summer babies tend to be night owls.
Before parents-to-be freak out, let us point out that there is no research on how the seasons impact infant sleep patterns — newborns all have their problems. But studies do show that there are links to when a person is born and how they tend to sleep as adults. If they are born in the summer, they are more likely to stay up late. That may be because it gets dark later in the summer. Or they could be no real reason at all.
Children of summer tend to be night owls. It's a crazy fact that may not mean much in the long run, but it may help a parent understand their teenager a little more, so take solace in the fact that it's a seasonal thing.
We've mentioned many interesting facts about babies born in the summer. Some are positive, like their tendency to not suffer from asthma and allergies, and some are negative, like the school issues and dyslexia. But in the end, all parents really want is for their child to be happy, and that may mean our last fact is the best news of all for the moms of summer babies.
According to yet another research study, doctors have discovered that people who were born in the summer are more optimistic than those born in the winter. They tend to see the sunny side, and maybe that's because of all that sun during the month of their birth.
A happy baby means a happy mom, and that matters more than sleep and birthweight and a hundred other things that are part of a baby's path. We hope that all of these facts lead to the optimal conclusion: summer is definitely a good time to be born.
Sources: CNN, CafeMom, The Bump, Baby Center