Top 5 Pregnancy Fears

Stress Fears

2. "Stress Will Harm My Baby"

While pregnant women might worry that stress will be harmful to their growing baby, the facts are not so clear. Many obstetricians have reported that some of their patients have faced extremely stressful events (such as the loss of a parent or loved one) and then gone on to have normal deliveries, while other women under no excessive stress deliver prematurely.

However, according to the March of Dimes, some research shows a link between stress-related hormones and both preterm labor and low birth weight babies. Other studies are currently exploring whether stress can alter the in utero environment and predispose a baby to health problems later in life. For now, moms-to-be would be wise to reduce their stress as much as they can -- by exercising in moderation and asking family members or friends to help out with chores.

In fact, most experts maintain that chronic stress is more likely to cause problems. "If stress is causing you to skip regular meals, not sleep at night, or turn to alcohol to cope, seek help quickly," says Siobhan Dolan, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in the Bronx, New York, and the medical adviser to the March of Dimes. "These responses can complicate pregnancy."

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