A large scale study conducted by researchers at Princeton University has found that women who conceive in May were more likely to give birth to premature and underweight babies.
The researchers observed more than 1.4 million babies born to 647,050 mothers in New York and Pennsylvania and compared their health at birth and the season of conception. They found that the gestation period of babies born in May was shorted by 10 percent while those born during the summer months were heavier by nine grams.
The researchers added that one of the reasons why babies conceived in May are premature could be because the mothers are at an increased risk of being infected with flu in January and February. The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"We found a sharp spike for premature births among babies conceived in May and we think the reason is due to the seasonal exposure of the pregnant mothers to flu. The funny take-home message from the study is that people should avoid getting pregnant in May but the more practical message is that pregnant women should consider getting a flu shot or avoid getting flu if at all possible", lead researcher Professor Janet Currie said.