The best and worst months of the year to get pregnant

Turns out December 'tis the season to be jolly... and also for a spot of babymaking.

New research from Indiana University has found that babies conceived in December are more likely to be healthy as infants and adults.

The research team looked at 52 million pregnancies over 12 years to find that December conceptions also result in the highest birth rates - which explains why September is one of the most popular birthday months.

Dr Paul Winchester told the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in Baltimore last week that mothers who conceive in December receive high levels of sunshine, and Vitamin D, at later stages of their pregnancy, which is thought to contribute to healthier babies.

Seasonality is thought to be a factor in baby health in several ways. Previous research shows that babies born at different times of the year have different disease risks - people born in May had the lowest risk of disease, and those born in October the highest.

Trying to conceive in June, Dr Winchester said, was "toxic", and despite its romantic connotations, Valentine's Day isn't great either:

We have seen significant seasonal differences in reproduction.

Valentine's Day is one of the least likely times to conceive a baby, whereas Christmas seems a very positive time.

June is a toxic month. The June effect was something that we saw develop at a very early stage. White mothers have lowest survival rates in June and significantly shorter pregnancies, with premature babies.

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