If you’re scrolling through social media right now, you might be dealing with an influx of baby announcements and sonograms. No, you’re not going crazy. It really is baby-making season. In 2020, July was the month with the highest number of births— 32, 269, to be exact—in Canada, meaning those babies were conceived in October. So, that begs the question, why are parents getting busy during the fall and winter months?
Just like all living things, humans have patterns. According to the Smithsonian, part of the reason behind birth seasonality has to do with evolution.
“Organisms have evolved strategies to reproduce at the time of year that will maximize their lifetime reproductive success,” Smithsonian Magazine explains.
In the animal kingdom, offspring conceived in the winter and born in the warmer months means a higher chance of survival. This behaviour can be seen in deer, whose “goal is to give birth at a time when plenty of resources are available for newborns – being born in springtime is evolutionarily beneficial.”
There could also be a biological factor we don’t know about yet, that urges humans to procreate in the cold months or makes them more fertile at specific times, University of Washington Medical Center Northwest’s chief of midwifery Mary Lou Kopas told a UW Medicine publication.
“The thing about humans, though,” she said, “is that while we’re mammals, we have evolved to the point where we can control our environment, and sociological factors are much bigger for us.”
Whether the increase in babies is from an abundance of time spent at home under blankets, lifestyle choices or biological factors at play, is yet to be determined; more research is needed to establish the exact reasons behind birth seasonality. One thing is for sure, though: there will be a lot of birthdays to celebrate next summer.