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Fetus to Mom: You're Stressing Me Out!

Fetus to Mom: You're Stressing Me Out

WebMD Feature

Dr. Calvin Hobel, a perinatologist in Los Angeles, has spent much of his career trying to document the effects of stress on pregnancy and to figure out how best to get pregnant women to relax. Not only does he see the importance clinically, but he's reminded of it daily.

Beginning with his 45-minute commute to Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Dr. Hobel watches women putting on makeup in their cars, wolfing down bites of breakfast ... and the clincher? Pregnant women who come to yoga classes to learn how to relax have to take a breather -- to answer cell phones they just couldn't leave behind.

Stress is such a familiar part of women's lives that many just squeeze a pregnancy right into all the hubbub. Even if women wonder whether it's bad for their developing fetuses, it's often hard to get a straight answer, mainly because most doctors don't know how much stress is too much -- or for whom.

But researchers, including Hobel, are getting closer to unlocking the mystery.

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