This Study Says Pregnant Women’s Financial Strains Affect Their Babies Too

Financial stress
ferlistockphoto/Getty Images

Kids are stressful.

They’re loud and emotional and are often a danger to themselves (not unlike your freshman roommate, who seemed to live in a constant state of drunk).

But when you consider the cost of raising them, those already crazy-making little humans become even bigger stressors, leading to many a sleepless night worrying about paying for diapers, college and everything in between.

For most parents, the financial stress of having a new baby begins long before the due date, as the harsh reality of 18 years’ worth of expenses sets in.

All that stress could be bad for your baby, too. A new study from the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center suggests stressing about finances during pregnancy can lead to babies born with a lower birth weight.

Coping with Financial Stress While Pregnant

A low birth weight is defined as anything below five pounds, eight ounces. Babies born below this threshold may be at a greater risk of developing certain health conditions later in life, including heart disease and diabetes.

Researchers knew from previous studies that pregnant moms who have a socioeconomic disadvantage are at a higher risk of delivering lower birth-weight babies.

During this study, researchers looked for a specific connection that would allow them to practice positive interventions throughout the pregnancy itself.

“It’s important to understand the factors that make it more likely for a woman with lower socioeconomic conditions to have a baby at higher risk of complications and death,” said lead author Amanda Mitchell.

She said improving low-income women’s access to housing, jobs and general support is critical and then went on to describe potential low-cost stress reduction techniques that could help lower that risk as well.

Mitchell noted that meditation and breathing exercises may help, for example, but also said that medical providers should talk to expecting moms about stress and coping practices during their visits.

Ways to Save Money (and Your Sanity) When You’re Expecting

While a healthy lifestyle, breathing and meditation, getting plenty of rest and speaking to a professional may be key tactics in dealing with financial worries during pregnancy, you can also take steps to become informed and make an action plan regarding your baby’s financial future.

Luckily, there are ways to save money on all your baby-raising needs — everything from delivery to diapers.

Check out this list of ways to save money on baby clothes, gear, food and more, and then be sure to take advantage of some of these sweet baby freebies.

If you’re looking for ways to supplement your income, take a look at these 21 ways to make extra money while raising kids or these tried and true methods for earning cash while your baby naps.

And if all else fails (which it won’t — you’ve got this!), you could always make your kids earn their keep. (Just kidding.)

Finally, since laughter is the best medicine, get your daily dose by reading these hilarious Tweets that perfectly capture just how pricy raising kids can be. Oy.

Your Turn: How do you deal with financial stress?

Grace Schweizer is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder.