Babies Conceived During Winter Likely Have Risk Of Learning Disabilities, Study Reveals

First Posted: Aug 26, 2016 06:56 AM EDT

Researchers from the University of Glasgow discovered that children with learning disabilities were often conceived in the winter months, January to March. The findings showed that lack of exposure to sunlight, which is the source of vitamin D, causes delay in the development in the womb.

The study was printed in the American Journal of Epidemiology. In partnership with England's National Health System, the Scottish government and Cambridge University, the researchers examined 800,000 children, who attended school between 2006 and 2011.

The findings showed that 8.9 percent of those conceived in the first quarter of the year had learning disabilities. On the other hand, 7.6 percent contrasted to 7.6 percent of babies conceived between July and September. The researchers concluded that lack of vitamin D in the winter months' lead to delayed development in the womb. This may result in learning disabilities ranging from dyslexia to autism, according to Romper.

"We know that vitamin D is essential for healthy brain development in babies, and the first few weeks of pregnancy are a critical period when the brain develops," explained Prof. Jill Pell, director of the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow. She further told the BBC that in the United Kingdom during the winter months, they don't have enough sunlight for their bodies to actually produce vitamin D.

Other studies conducted in animals have confirmed that if they have lesser vitamin D, their offspring likely have brain problems, but if they are given vitamin D, these problems are avoided. Experts also believe that young babies receive sufficient vitamin D through their mother's breast milk or formula, which contains nutrients.

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