Birth Month

It’s Not Easy Being Born In May, According To Science

May babies have lower birth weights and higher rates of depression, but it's not all bad.

Originally Published: 
A baby lying in grass with dandelions.
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Much like March and April babies, it kind of blows to be born in May. Scientists suspect that spring babies are set up for some unfortunate health risks throughout life, likely because of the lack vitamin D exposure in the womb during winter months. The good thing is that the growing body of birth month research represents an effort to close health gaps. The bad thing is that, at least for now, May babies are stuck with the following disadvantages (and occasional advantages):

May Babies Are Kind Of Tiny

May babies have the lowest birth weights, according to some studies (although other research indicates that winter babies have this distinction). Nonetheless, scientists agree that May babies are certainly not the largest at birth. And since low birth weights are linked with lower IQs, psychiatric problems, obesity, heart disease, and a number of other problems throughout life, that’s not great.

They Go Through Puberty Way Too Early

Girls born in May may also go through puberty earlier than most of their peers (September was the earliest), according to a British study of 450,000 births. Early puberty, or precocious puberty, doesn’t sound like a good thing because, frankly, it’s not. Precocious puberty has been linked with greater risk of breast cancer, teen pregnancy, HPV, heart disease, and diabetes.

May Babies More Depressed, But Have Better Attitudes

People born in May experience the most depression out of any birth month in the year, according to data culled from more than 29 million people. That’s a bummer, but other studies suggest that May babies won a consolation prize — they’re more prone to hyperthymic personalities, or generally positive attitudes. Though the combination of depression and optimism seems counterintuitive, studies show that depressed people are more likely to think that life gets better. Optimism may be a way of adapting to the depression and building resilience. The glass may be sad, but it’s still half full.

They Have the Lowest Disease Risk Overall

Finally, a victory for May babies! People born in May have the lowest disease risk overall, and are particularly resilient when it comes to battling off respiratory illnesses, according to an analysis of 1.75 million medical records. Perhaps that’s where all their optimism comes from.

People With May Birthdays Are Pretty Unpredictable

What people with May birthdays really have going for them is their unpredictability. When researchers from Oxford University looked at records from UK’s Office of National Statistics, they were able to link a popular profession to each birth month. But although certain birth months increased the chances of becoming everything from a pilot to a dentist, individuals born in May maintained an even spread of professions.

One way to spin this is that May babies are boring and generic. But we prefer to think of them as exciting and unpredictable — the sort of babies you can’t put in a box. Even if, at birth, they’d fit into one.

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