Summer is heating up, and so is the bedroom. Whilst December may still take the cake when it comes to the highest number of babies conceived, we think there is a growing trend for July to take over as the Baby-Making Month.
There is no magic formula for a guaranteed conception, but one thing is for sure: high stress results in reduced fertility. Just because we’re deep into summer, doesn’t mean our stresses are wiped away clean – but it is natural to feel a bit lighter this time of year. In fact, an interesting trend report published last year confirmed just that. They established a ‘misery index’ that plotted the least (and most) stressful times of year, and as predicted, there is a clear alleviation in ‘misery’ throughout the month of July.
But what’s the actual connection between stress and likelihood of conception? A large cohort study published by collaborators from the US National Institutes of Health, Oxford University and Ohio State University looked at the science behind the relationship. Their basic findings suggested a strong correlation between high stress, and a reduction in probability of conception during a woman’s fertile window. So, our consensus is this: the lowered stress of the summer months just might heighten your chance of conceiving. If you want to know more about this the study, the NHS published a detailed review that you can read here.
But if we’re going to call July the new Baby-Making Month, there’s got to be more to it than lowered stress, right? Absolutely. We’ve got a breakdown of the top seven reasons why the seventh month can be a great time to create a new life.
1. Holiday time: For my American friends, you may know it as a vacation. Going on holiday is (or should be) stress-free – but low stress is not just good for you, it’s good for your partner as well. Stress affects fertility for both of you! Plus, holiday provides the time for intimacy that you may not easily find during busy working weeks.
2. Best for baby’s birth weight: Researchers from Princeton University found that the summer months (June-August) boast a great time to conceive as these babies gain 8-grams more, on average, throughout pregnancy – leading to healthier outcomes at birth.
3. No flu for you: Taking care of a newborn baby is hard. Taking care of a newborn baby, and yourself, in the midst of flu season is really hard. Babies conceived in July will typically be born in April – meaning you will avoid the majority of flu season as a new mom. Follow this link for NHS recommendations on getting your flu shot while pregnant – or you can check out the CDC’s recommendations here. Spoiler alert for mums & moms: they say the same thing!
4. Timing is everything: If you conceive in July you will reach your third trimester around January. While it may be chilly and dreary outside – you will avoid the discomfort of being fully pregnant during the sticky heat of summer. Also, you get to enjoy the fresh air and longer days of spring with your new baby, rather than being cooped up inside during the long winter months.
5. Avoid the tricky school decisions: There will be no need to worry about the school cutoff line. It’s always a tough decision when a child’s birthday is close to the October cutoff for starting school, but children with spring birthdays will be right in the middle of the age range. Not too young, not too old.
6. Get your body back, fast: Once your body has recovered from the birthing experience – typically about six weeks – summer will be just around the corner, and it will be the perfect time to kick off your post-pregnancy workout schedule. You can get outside, get active, and get your pre-baby body back.
7. Better foods for you and baby: you’ll have easy access to delicious summer produce in your early months of pregnancy, and once baby is born, those same foods will be returning to your grocery store shelves. We have nothing against winter root veggies, but the flavours and colours of fresh summer fruit and veg makes healthy eating all the more enjoyable.
Bear in mind, there is never a right or wrong time to have a baby, and conception doesn’t always happen right away. If you’re trying for a baby, remember the following: maintain healthy eating habits and a regular workout schedule, find ways to de-stress when life gets chaotic, and try not to put pressure on yourself or your partner. It will happen. And if you’re thinking of starting a family or bringing another child into your life, it’s a great time to start trying.