Tough Economy Takes a Surprising Toll on Babies A rocky economy could adversely affect newborns, according to new research from the University of California at Berkeley published in the November issue of the journal Epidemiology.

Researchers found that if the economy was a worse than expected in the state where mothers resided during the first trimester of their pregnancies, their babies averaged 3.7% smaller compared to others of the same gestational age. The study looked at a sample of more than 6,700 U.S. births between 1982 and 2000, and also examined differences by the mother's education level, race/ethnicity, employment and poverty status.

The findings are significant because evidence increasingly suggests that fetal growth is an important predictor of health later in life, says Claire Margerison-Zilko, Ph.D., one of the study's researchers, and a postdoctoral fellow with the Center for Social Work Research at the University of Texas-Austin. Babies born smaller than the norm have an increased risk of neonatal and infant morbidity and mortality, she says. Later in life, they face an increased risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

The babies most at risk for lower birthweight were those born to women of lower education, and to mothers who didn't work outside the home. Margerison-Zilko had hypothesized that race and ethnicity would be bigger factors. For now, says Margerison-Zilko, researchers can't pinpoint the mechanisms behind this association, "But we can speculate that the relationship may be due to maternal behavior change or psychosocial stress during economic contractions."

The discovery that the association between the economy and birth weight is strongest in the first trimester could be driven by processes that affect early fetal growth, a more active maternal stress response in early pregnancy, or a longer time frame being necessary for exposure to affect maternal behavior or physiology, she surmises.

What's the takeaway? The health of the youngest members of our society is at stake in how we respond to our economic troubles. Says Margerison-Zilko,"Vulnerable women need additional support and resources during times of economic stress."

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We managed to do with a small budget, by purchasing clothes, and baby stuff at thrift stores, and garage sales. I made a lot of my own baby clothes. Did not have a baby shower so we purchased everything ourselves. We did not have the biggest house on the block, designer clothes or shoes, managed to go on vacation, and have a heck of a lot of fun on a small budget.

November 23 2011 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Virginia Short Sale

It is shocking to know , the economic recession had caused a serious disorder to our babies, it is very sad.

November 22 2011 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wonder how many of the "YOU SHOULD NEVER HAVE CHILDREN" nuts in here would be singing the same tune if their own parents had followed that advice. Oh wait...

November 22 2011 at 8:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is additional proof that NO MATTER WHAT people profess they believe in, or demand we do because of moral grounds based on religion, morality and responsibility, that when it comes to putting THEIR MONEY where their MOUTH IS, they just won't do it. They want everyone ELSE to turn their lives upside down, and their pockets inside out, to support their beliefs (so THEY CAN BE BLESSED FOR IT) -- but WHEN it comes to PAYING TO SUPPORT THE LIVES OF MOTHERS & BABIES, they make sure to send only the stingiest, most contentious cut-throats their region boasts to Washington to do their dirty work. They care NOTHING FOR LIFE. God knows it.

November 22 2011 at 2:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I worked outside the home full-time for as long as I was able. (Not long, due to 24 hour morning sickness and vertigo to boot.) My little one was born 3 weeks early, and healthy, despite my all-day-long morning sickness. I, on the other hand, required an ER C-section (after 36 hours of labour) and a 7 day stay in the hospital after his birth.

November 21 2011 at 10:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well that certainly wasn't the case with me. I did not work outside the home and my babies were 10 pounds and 9 pounds when they were born and perfectly healthy. I had very stressful pregnancies, but because I did take care of myself, it all worked out fine. It's common sense people...we don't need a study.

November 21 2011 at 5:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

HAHA, well see then I forgot a word Later down "the" road. Hmmm... I guess it's the malnourishment! lol

November 21 2011 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What in the world will these doctors come up with next! Malnourishment is such an ignorant term. Seriously, we know vegetables are good, and Little Debbie fat snacks are bad! Now that we understand what we should eat to maintain a healthy status, there is no reason why environment is a factor. If you can't afford to eat right now, DON'T HAVE A CHILD THAT WILL ONLY BE DAMNED! Later down road, we will all read an article that says how the generations are too fat to walk! There is a fast food restaurant at every block it seems. It is all about choice, hopefully we are not all so skrewed up that we can't make simple logical ones.

November 21 2011 at 5:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Krystina's comment

Last time I checked, my Bible wasn't damning mothers and babies. This is STILL the age of GRACE, until the Lord says otherwise. Haughtiness and condemnation are more to be feared than other sins (you ASSUME OTHERS ARE GUILTY OF), and neither money problems, nor the necessity of having to work during pregnancy, are sins. Guess what? You're way out of line, and you think you're righteous. If anyone's in danger of eternal hellfire, my bet's on you.

November 22 2011 at 2:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
In My Opinion Only

Help yourselves to these FEEE CONDOMS. Look 'em up online.

November 21 2011 at 4:53 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

its because these days only the politicians have money for stupid things like medcial care and food,
of corse they dont spend their own money on medcial care
when you make the rules, chance's are you will always make them to benifit your favor
dont want people to have the right to choose,
when even they know they cant afford to have that child
but then nobody wants to help provide for the youth born to the poor
cant have it both ways ,,
cut washington paychecks and not social programs,,
the next generation is so screwed,

November 21 2011 at 4:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to randmhunley's comment

Have your children because life is sooo short, youth far shorter, and you're going to need someone to care about you, sooner rather than later. This comments column demonstrates that trolls abound in real life; having a child who loves you really helps.

It's time WE DO more about the political situation. Support OWS; go see how you can help, if money's tight. Maybe you can help in services, or typing memos, or any of the million things that need to be done to get a movement rolling.

Visit (see under corporations); visit (FEMA concentration camps); and see; research, document and teach everything you find and prove to yourself. There's so much to learn, and little time to waste. Much is greatly needed in manpower. Bring yourself to the task at hand. It's up to US TO STOP THESE FOUL, GREEDY FASCISTS.

Did you ever think that perhaps God arranged that we'd all be out of work simultaneously (no schedules to dictate what we can or can't be involved in) -- so that we'd collectively PAY ATTENTION AND FIGHT THE DARKNESS surrounding us? It's gotten this bad because we left it up to (untrustworthy) others. It's high time we took back our power and kicked all these SOB's out on their duffs.

November 22 2011 at 3:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply