Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Month Of Conception Linked To Birth Defects In United States

Date:
March 30, 2009
Source:
Indiana University
Summary:
Birth defect rates in the US are highest for women conceiving in the spring and summer, new findings indicate. Researchers also found that this period of increase risk correlated with increased levels of pesticides in surface water across the US.

New research suggests that birth defect rates in the United States may be highest for women conceiving in the spring and summer.
Credit: iStockphoto/Amanda Rohde

A study published in the April 2009 issue of the medical journal Acta Pζdiatrica is the first to report that birth defect rates in the United States were highest for women conceiving in the spring and summer.

Related Articles


The researchers also found that this period of increase risk correlated with increased levels of pesticides in surface water across the United States.

Studying all 30.1 million births which occurred in the U.S. between 1996 and 2002, the researchers found a strong association between the increased number of birth defects in children of women whose last menstrual period occurred in April, May, June or July and elevated levels of nitrates, atrazine and other pesticides in surface water during the same months. While many of these chemicals, including the herbicide atrazine which is banned in European countries but permitted in the U.S., are suspected to be harmful to the developing embryo, this is the first study to link their increased seasonal concentration in surface water with the peak in birth defects in infants conceived in the same months.

The correlation between the month of last menstrual period and higher rates of birth defects was statistically significant for half of the 22 categories of birth defects reported in a Centers for Disease Control database from 1996 to 2002 including spina bifida, cleft lip, clubfoot and Down's syndrome.

"Elevated concentrations of pesticides and other agrochemicals in surface water during April through July coincided with significantly higher risk of birth defects in live births conceived by women whose last menstrual period began in the same months. While our study didn't prove a cause and effect link, the fact that birth defects and pesticides in surface water peak during the same four months makes us suspect that the two are related," said Paul Winchester, M.D., Indiana University School of Medicine professor of clinical pediatrics, the first author of the study.

"Birth defects, which affect about 3 out of 100 newborns in the U.S., are one of the leading causes of infant death. What we are most excited about is that if our suspicions are right and pesticides are contributing to birth defect risk, we can reverse or modify the factors that are causing these lifelong and often very serious medical problems," said Dr. Winchester, a Riley Hospital for Children neonatalogist.

Birth defects are known to be associated with risk factors such as alcohol, smoking, diabetes or advanced age. However, the researchers found that even mothers who didn't report these risk factors had higher overall birth defect rates for babies conceived from April to July.

The study relies on findings by U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies on the seasonal variations in nitrates, atrazine and other pesticides in the surface water.

"These observations by Dr. Winchester are extremely important, as they raise the question for the first time regarding the potential adverse effect of these commonly used chemicals on pregnancy outcome – the health and well-being of our children," said James Lemons, M.D., Hugh McK. Landon Professor of Pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine. Dr. Lemons is director of the section of neonatal-perinatal medicine at Riley Hospital.

Co-authors of this study, which was funded by the Division of Neonatalogy of the Department of Pediatrics of the IU School of Medicine, were Jordan Huskins, B.A., a fourth year I.U. School of Medicine student, and Jun Ying, Ph.D. of the University of Cincinnati.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Paul D Winchester, Jordan Huskins, Jun Ying. Agrichemicals in surface water and birth defects in the United States. Acta Paediatrica, 2009; 98 (4): 664 DOI: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2008.01207.x

Cite This Page:

Indiana University. "Month Of Conception Linked To Birth Defects In United States." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090330130235.htm>.
Indiana University. (2009, March 30). Month Of Conception Linked To Birth Defects In United States. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090330130235.htm
Indiana University. "Month Of Conception Linked To Birth Defects In United States." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090330130235.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins