Fall conception increases the risk of neurodevelopmental disorder in offspring

J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 1994 Oct;16(5):754-68. doi: 10.1080/01688639408402689.


Hormonal imbalances in utero may render males more vulnerable to neurodevelopmental disorder (ND) than females. Since hormonal activity can be influenced by photoperiod, the relationship between season of conception and incidence of ND in offspring was examined within 11,578 mother/child pairs. Fall conception significantly elevated the odds for mental retardation, reading, arithmetic disability, or performance aptitude deficits (but not seizures, articulation disorder, cerebral palsy, or verbal aptitude deficits), and decreased the odds for reading talent (even when socioeconomic class, prenatal visits, infections, fever, vomiting, edema, anemia, and weight loss were covaried). Since the seasonality effect was not stronger in males, and was not specific to those NDs caused by left hemisphere dysfunction, the predictions of Geschwind and Galaburda (1985a, 1985b, 1985c) were not confirmed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aptitude Tests
  • Articulation Disorders / epidemiology
  • Articulation Disorders / etiology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / etiology
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / etiology
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology
  • Cerebral Palsy / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hormones / blood
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intellectual Disability / epidemiology*
  • Intellectual Disability / etiology
  • Learning Disabilities / epidemiology*
  • Learning Disabilities / etiology
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychomotor Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Psychomotor Disorders / etiology
  • Reading
  • Risk Factors
  • Seasons*
  • Seizures / epidemiology
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Hormones