Have you often wondered why your baby contracts only a particular illness at some point in a year? Of course, you may dismiss it as seasonal. In that case, how do you explain this? You are a mother to more than one child and each of your kids contract a particular illness consistently every year. Yet, the illness one gets is completely different from what the other does despite living in the same household! It is true that children’s immunity and external seasonal changes do influence their health. However, what we do not know is that a child’s birth month has a huge role to play when it comes to the kind of diseases he/she will get in future as an adult. Surprised, aren’t you? Read on to know more.
According to research conducted by Spanish scientists, the month of a person’s birth decides the kind of disease that will afflict him/her in the future. The study, which was conducted by the University of Alicante, Spain, analyzed the data of nearly 30,000 Spanish individuals from the National Health Survey for the year 2006. The Spanish researchers measured the association between 27 common chronic illnesses with the birth month to check if it had any long-term effects on their health. To their surprise, they found that the month of birth did make a significant impact on a person’s overall health. For instance, men born in September were nearly 3 times more likely to suffer from thyroid-related problems compared to those born in January. Similarly, male babies born in August had double the risk of getting asthma than those born at the start of the year (1).
However, this is not the only kind of research that has been done in this field. In 2015, scientists at the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center conducted a similar research. They analyzed their data set of nearly 749,400 individuals born between the year 1900 to 2000. The research yielded conclusive results that an individual’s lifetime disease risk was indeed influenced by the birth month (2).
So, why is the month of birth so influential in the first place? Scientists believe a lot has to do with the kind of exposure an individual gets in the mother’s womb as well as in the initial years of life. The month of birth acts like an indicator of the period of early exposure to various factors. These factors include seasonal variance, exposure to ultraviolet rays, temperature fluctuations, vitamin D, and exposure to seasonal allergies, bacteria, and viruses. All these affect the development of the fetus in the womb and soon after the baby is born. Of all the factors, a majority of them belong to an exposure to sunlight. The amount of sunlight exposure a fetus gets in the womb or as an infant during the initial stages of life determines the production of vitamin D in the body. And it is the lack of this exposure that has a long-lasting effect on the mental and physical health of an individual. Because vitamin D, also known as the ‘sunshine’ vitamin, regulates hundreds and thousands of genes in the body during the development phase.
But wait! Let not this research make you believe that being born during a certain month is a health risk. Because each month comes with its own set of benefits as well. The birth month just serves the purpose of an indicator of the kind of diseases an individual might get afflicted in the future. And knowing this beforehand certainly helps you plan way ahead. For instance, if your baby is born during the winter, you can always make sure that your little one gets adequate sun exposure during the summers. And, of course, your pediatrician will definitely guide you should you have any concerns.
Having said this, one thing is for sure. No matter which month your baby is born in, we know that he/she is special. And, the love, care, and attention that your baby gets from you will certainly ensure a healthy life for your little angel. Amen!
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