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Pregnant? Take a deep breath, and another.

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Everyone feels stress at one time or another - jobs, money, relationships and other issues can take their toll on even the calmest person. But too much stress can be unhealthy for you and, if you become pregnant, your baby.

Did you know that stress can lead your baby to be born too small, too soon?

A low birthweight baby weighs less than 2,500 grams, or 5 lbs, 8 ounces. A very low birthweight baby weighs less than 3 lbs., 5 ounces. Those kinds of numbers put your baby at much greater risk of developmental delays, learning disabilities, behavior problems and hyperactivity. Children with those challenges may eventually have trouble in school, have behavior issues at home or get involved with criminal activity when they're older.

So what can you do to reduce your stress?

  • Take care of yourself now by eating well, taking vitamins (especially Vitamin B), exercising and having fun with your family.
  • Recognize that stressful feelings are normal but should be addressed if they continue for a long period of time.
  • Think, and breathe, slowly. If you have children, try to think before you react to their behavior.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help. Start by calling Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies, which is funded by Children's Services Council to provide services to pregnant women and their families.

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