Effect of seasonal programming on fetal development and longevity: links with environmental temperature

Am J Hum Biol. 2009 Mar-Apr;21(2):214-6. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.20818.


This study examined the effect of birth season on fetal development and longevity using two independent databases of all Greek citizens that were born (total: 516,874) or died (total: 554,101) between 1999 and 2003. We found significantly increased birth weight, gestational age, and longevity in individuals born during the autumn and winter seasons of the year. These individuals also demonstrated statistically significantly lower prevalence rates for fetal growth restriction and premature birth. Furthermore, we found that increased temperature at birth was associated with adverse effects on fetal development and longevity. In conclusion, our results show strong effects of season of birth on fetal development and longevity mediated, at least in part, by environmental temperature at time of birth.

MeSH terms

  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Fetal Development / physiology*
  • Greece
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Longevity*
  • Pregnancy / physiology*
  • Seasons*
  • Temperature*