According to a new study, how an expectant mother views the concept of family and how much she values it has a say in determining her baby’s birthweight and susceptibility to asthma. The culture in which a mother-to-be is raised also appears to be an important factor when it comes to giving birth to a healthy child.

The study, posted at, gauged mothers’ concepts of “familism,” or beliefs about familiar roles and responsibilities, versus the birthweight and physical health of their children.

4,633 disadvantaged women--blacks, whites, and Hispanics--were gauged on their familism via a questionnaire that consisted of queries like, "Single moms can do just as well as married parents," or "It is better for children if their parents are married." The research team then tracked the health of the children and found that every point the mothers had in familism increased the child’s birthweight by 71 grams.

This study shows that aside from the support a family provides, how a mother views the idea of family can be a strong determiner on a child’s physical health. Familism can also transcend a mother’s actual financial or environmental circumstances, allowing her to give birth to healthy children despite poverty or subpar living conditions.

Birthweight isn’t the only factor that benefits from how a mother values her family. As the child grows, the relationships that surround him or her are important elements that influence his or her growth. If you value your family, you value your child’s future. Do your best to provide your little one with a protective environment nurtured by love and compassion.

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(Photo by sabianmaggy via Flickr Creative Commons)

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