Babies are expensive and many expecting parents worry about how they will pay for diapers, day care and more.
But that worry over finances could have a harmful affect on your baby. Researchers at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found that there is a link between anxiety over financial stress and babies being born at lower birth weights.
“To gauge their level of financial strain, we asked pregnant women questions about how difficult it would be to live on their annual household income in the coming weeks as it related to things like medical care, housing situations and other expenses related to having a baby,” said Amanda Mitchell, lead author of the study and researcher at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “We found that the more stress a woman reported, the greater the likelihood that she would have a baby of low birth weight.”
Researchers also found that the level of financial strain was not dependent on income. “We found that high stress levels were present across all income levels,” said Lisa Christian, principal investigator of the study. “What that means is that it wasn’t just how much money someone had available that was driving this effect. It was actually the perception of her ability to meet her expenses.”
Why does birth weight matter? Children who are born with lower birth weights have longterm health problems such as heart disease, obesity, respiratory problems and digestive issues.
The researchers recommend that moms find ways to cope with their financial stress and be put in touch with resources to help them create a budget plan.