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Reproductive & Child Health News

Mother's Self Esteem Effects Pregnancy Outcome
April 1, 1999

A new study suggests that pregnant women with high self-esteem are more likely to give birth to healthy, normal birthweight babies, compared to those with low self-esteem. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, questioned 120 Hispanic and 110 white pregnant women concerning their feelings about themselves, their futures, and their ability to control important aspects of their lives to collect data. The study found that women who reported feeling positive about themselves, their futures and their ability to control important aspects of their lives were more likely to deliver larger babies at full term, while women who reported high levels of stress and low self-worth were more likely to give birth prematurely or to low birth weight infants Authors suggest that women with strong personal resources may seek out health-related information and be more likely to lead healthier lifestyles and say the findings provide evidence of a beneficial role of adaptive resources, self-esteem, optimism and mastery in pregnancy and birth. The study is in the journal "Health Psychology".

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