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A study of millions of first births in the United States shows how mothers in particular professions are likely to choose the season for when their baby is born.

A million dollar baby


Photo:, (CC BY-ND 2.0)

According to an analysis of US Census data, women working in educational sectors (teachers, educators and librarians) target, and give birth, in the spring and summer. They are 2 percentage points more likely to achieve spring or summer births than women in other jobs and this preference happens to have possible health benefits for their babies. The working paper says this could provide some compensatory value, estimating that that teachers, educators and librarians in the US earn up to $1 million less than other working mothers, on average, over the course of their lifetime.

Researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Surrey, in the UK, and Santiago, Chile, examined data for every US state on mothers’ occupations, age and the weather. They also analysed the Register of Live Births of 2,260,700 first births between 2005 and 2013, as well as monthly temperature data for each of the states. They focused on white, non-Hispanic married women, aged between 25-45 years, to see what trends emerged.

Teachers have a higher likelihood than first-time mothers working in many other sectors to target spring in particular, so their maternity leave ties in with the school summer holiday, the study notes. It highlights that in occupations with a 'seasonal element', women often choose the timing of when their baby arrives. The authors, who are all economists, argue there are non-financial 'compensations'. They find that new-born babies that arrive in the spring or summer are 10 grams heavier on average, and have less chance of low-birth weight compared with babies born at other times of year.

 Read more on the University website (opens new window)