Spending time with your girlfriends is a great way to relax. However, spending time with pregnant women while you yourself are expecting may give you and your unborn baby a few unexpected health benefits, according to a study featured on Science Daily.

Researchers from Vanderbilt’s Peabody Research Institute analyzed data on 6,155 women who had group and individual prenatal care. They found that expectant mothers who are part of a support group may have longer gestational periods with an extension of approximately one-third of a week. Their babies may also have higher birth weights.

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"The basic idea is that putting women in supportive environments leads to increased happiness and improved outcomes. Building support networks might lead to improved health behaviors with social support because the women have a lot more interaction with other women but also with the [prenatal care] providers," lead author Emily E. Tanner-Smith explains.

So if you’re expecting, don’t shy away from those mommy-to-be classes. Sharing your time and your stories with other pregnant women may do more good for you and your baby than you’ll ever realize.

(Photo by J Aaron Farr via Flickr Creative Commons)

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