First-of-its-kind study accounts for when couples are most likely to start trying to conceive, finding couples conceive quicker in late fall and early winter, especially in southern states.
In the US, birthdays peak in early September, but in Northern states--and Scandinavia--the peak comes earlier, in the summer or even spring. Although many factors likely go into the popularity of birthday months (a spike in November is popularly attributed to Valentine's Day), seasons themselves may play a role in how easy it is to conceive, according to a new Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) study.
The first-of-its-kind study, published in the journal Human Reproduction , finds that, although couples in North America and Denmark are most likely to start trying in September, it's in late November and early December that they have the best chances of conceiving, especially at lower latitudes.
There are a lot of studies out there that look at seasonal patterns in births, but these studies don't take into account when couples start trying, how long they take to conceive, or how long their pregnancies last. After accounting for seasonal patterns in when couples start trying to conceive, we found a decline in fecundability in the late spring and a peak in the late fall," she says. ("Fecundability" refers to the odds of conceiving within one menstrual cycle.) "Interestingly, the association was stronger among couples living at lower latitudes." Dr. Amelia Wesselink, study lead author, postdoctoral associate in epidemiology at BUSPH
The North Americans were more likely than Danes to begin trying to conceive in the fall (possibly in the hopes of giving birth when work is less busy in the summer, Wesselink says, which may be more important in the U.S. than Scandinavia). Related Stories
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