Stress in Pregnancy May Increase Baby's Risk of Asthma

Julie Ryan Evans
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Photo by lukeNgavinsmom
Here's a good reason to put those pregnant feet up and relax a bit more -- your stress now could up your baby's chances of asthma later in life.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston found a marked difference in the cord blood of women who were in stressed environments (particularly those living in inner cities) and those who weren't. The immune function markers in the cord blood of stressed mothers showed patterns that could lead to asthma later in their babies' lives.

While research from animal studies has demonstrated this relationship in the past, this is the first human study to do so.

"The work may point to the need to design interventions and strategies to reduce stress in pregnant women to both enhance the mother's well-being and to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses in their children such as asthma," said lead researcher Dr. Rosalind Wright.

When I was pregnant, I knew stress wasn't good for my baby, but there are so many things to worry about during pregnancy, in addition to all of the regular life stress. So that just made me stress about being stressed and well, I was one stressed out pregnant woman (just ask my doctor).

So it's hard, I know, but this study just reiterates the importance of finding ways to minimize stress when you're pregnant. Try to find something that works to relax you whether it's yoga, walking or a candlelit bath (not too warm!). And don't forget, dark chocolate has been proven to reduce stress.  

How do you deal with stress during pregnancy?

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