Jacquie Susie was overjoyed to welcome her second child, but knew her expanding family would come with some financial challenges.
Jacquie Susie says, "Diapers, formula, strollers, car seats, wipes, clothing, all those things really add up, and they can be quite stressful."
While it's common to worry about finances before your baby arrives, a new study shows that stress may be affecting the baby's health.
Researchers at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center asked pregnant women about different stressors and noticed a link between anxiety over pregnancy, financial stress and babies born with lower birth weight.
Dr. Amanda Mitchell says, "We looked at questions such as the amount of difficulty that they would perceive living on their annual household income or the amount of hardships that they might experience in the coming weeks related to medical or food or housing situations."
Unfortunately, low birth weight can lead to a lifetime of health risks, including respiratory and digestive issues, obesity, and even heart disease.
Researchers emphasize that financial strain doesn't just depend on how much money you have. They found that this type of stress affected women and babies across all income levels.
Dr. Lisa Christian says, "What that means is that it wasn't just the income of the household that was driving this effect. It was actually the perception of your ability to meet your expenses."
Experts say pregnant women who are feeling overwhelmed should create a financial plan, reach out to friends and family for help, and find ways to cope like exercise or support groups. They should also know that their concerns are perfectly normal.
Dr. Christian says, "It's completely common and completely something that can be helped."
Jacquie and her husband learned to adjust their budget and say life with their two children is truly priceless.
Susie says, "Definitely, planning a family and having a family is the best decision I've ever made."