A stressful pregnancy could lead to a child with an increased risk of obesity

From the moment that your baby is born, you'll hopefully be making sure that he or she only eats healthy foods so that they'll stay at a healthy weight. However, what you may not realize is that there are things that you can be doing now, during your pregnancy, that may help reduce your child's chances of becoming obese. For example, researchers from Johns Hopkins University recently conducted a study that found that reducing your stress levels during pregnancy could help lower the chances of your child being overweight. 

The scientists found that baby rodents that were born to stressed mothers and displayed passive coping strategies were more likely to develop obesity and Type 2 diabetes than rodents that had an active coping strategy. The researchers explained that passive coping is often seen in people with introverted personalities, while extroverts tend to be more active when handling stress. Passive baby rodents experienced increased weight gain and developed impaired glucose tolerance, which is an early sign of diabetes. While this study was conducted on rodents, the scientists explained what their findings could mean for pregnant women. 

"These results may imply that in our efforts to prevent obesity and its associated disorders we need to advise pregnant women to reduce stress exposure during their pregnancy. In addition, these data may lead to the identification of at-risk offspring by looking at their stress coping style and prenatal environment, and then tailoring a prevention strategy accordingly," said researcher Gretha Boersma. 

Tips to reduce stress
Regardless of whether you're concerned about your baby's weight, it's still important for you to do everything possible to reduce your stress levels during your pregnancy. According to an article published by The Huffington Post, a study conducted by researchers from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found that stress during pregnancy may increase the risk of stillbirth. 

It makes sense that pregnancy is a stressful time. You're preparing to raise a child, your body is changing and you and your partner probably have a lot of things to do before the arrival of your baby. This is why you need to look for ways to reduce your anxiety while you're expecting. Yahoo recommended that if you need to ease your stress levels, you should try to get a little exercise, as long as your doctor says that you're healthy enough for it. Exercise can help ease tension, so even if all you can do is take a walk, you may find that it goes a long way. 

Also, you may have been so focused on your fetal development that you haven't called any of your friends to hang out in a while. It's important for you to be around all of the people who make you laugh and feel relaxed and good about yourself, so give your friends a call and see if they can come by and spend a little time with you. 

You shouldn't take on too much while you're pregnant. Ease up on some of the housework that you normally do and ask your partner to pick up some of the slack. If you already have children, ask your partner to take them out occasionally so you can get some alone time to relax and focus on your pregnancy. Talk to your doctor if you're feeling particularly stressed out during your pregnancy so he or she can offer you tips for how to relax. 

Did you feel stressed during your pregnancy? What did you do to combat it? Leave tips here!