For years, multiple studies have warned of the consequences that worrying may have on your personal health, but new research suggests that for pregnant women, worrying may also harm their unborn children. According to the research, letting go of stress and being more present in the moment, a term often referred to by psychologists as “mindfulness,” is associated with healthier baby weight.

The study, conducted by researchers from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, found that a mother’s mindfulness during pregnancy is linked to better birth outcomes and healthier baby weight. According to the researchers, this suggests that mindfulness training may be a helpful tool for pregnant women. The study also adds to past research that recommends this practice for moms-to-be.

Read: Anxiety Disorder Patients Experience Reduced Stress, Clinical Trial Reveals

According to the University of California, Berkeley, mindfulness is similar to meditation and involves accepting the present, and tuning your senses into the moment at hand rather than worrying about the future or rehashing the past. Practicing mindfulness has been linked to boosts in the immune system, a reduction in depression and stress, and improvements in memory and attention.

The study followed 906 pregnant women who completed surveys on their mindfulness and mood at different times in their pregnancy. Medical records were taken of children after birth. Results showed that higher levels of mindfulness improved mother’s mood and depression symptoms during pregnancy, and was also linked to a 12 percent decreased chance of having an underweight child, Medical Xpress reported.

In addition, The Huffington Post reported that mindfulness in pregnant women may also reduce the risk of premature birth, and improve the child’s score on the Apgar scale, a measurement usually taken a few minutes after birth that factors in a child’s complexion, pulse, and reflexes to give an idea of their overall health.

Mindfulness has also been noted as helpful for patients with a wide variety of health conditions. According to a study published earlier this year, this practice may be useful for patients living with anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorder is a term used to describe a range of conditions associated with excessive anxiety or worry, such as panic disorder and social anxiety, The National Institute of Health reports. The research, carried out by a team from Georgetown University Medical Center's Department of Psychiatry found that anxiety disorder patients who underwent an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction course displayed noticeable reductions in stress responses, compared to their counterparts who took a course on stress management.

Source: Nyklicek I, et al. Letting go of worries during pregnancy associated with healthier birth weight. American Psychosomatic Society. 2017

See Also:

How Mindfulness Helps Boosts Immunity, Reduce Stress

Is Mindfulness Meditation Overhyped? Scientists May Be Exaggerating How Good It Is For Us