The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Of the many types of stress that can affect pregnant women, owing money is the one most associated with preterm delivery. When Atlanta-based epidemiologist Nedra Whitehead, Ph.D., analyzed 18 stressful events that women experienced in the year before childbirth—such as being arrested, becoming homeless or having a sick family member— she found that only four were associated with preterm delivery: being injured by a partner, having someone close attempt suicide, divorce and being in debt. Of those, debt was the one most closely associated with premature birth. The study did not examine the type of debt nor did it conclude that debt causes preterm birth. Still, if you owe a great deal, you might want to get debt counseling and stabilize your finances where possible before the baby arrives.