Pregnancy with a first child can be a huge stress by itself, but imagine having to give birth when your husband has just been shipped off to war. Doctors are pointing out the effects of stress on the unborn child.
Dr. Calvin Hobel of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center says their studies have clearly shown that women in the first third of their pregnancy, the first trimester, are at greater risk for being exposed to stress.
Studies show that moms-to-be who are stressed out early on are more likely to deliver premature babies.
Dr. Hobel says stress tells the fetus through its placenta that things are not going well, they're not doing well inside, it's better off outside than inside, but there's a price you pay for that.
That price includes a higher risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease for preemies.
So for pregnant women, especially those with the added stress of watching their loved ones go off to war, doctors recommend relaxing, getting help from relatives or friends, and eating well. These are all keys to making sure that baby's healthy when dad finally comes home.