With stress levels higher than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, one group in particular might deserve extra attention: pregnant women. Researchers at UCLA have found that a woman’s stress level, not just during pregnancy but up to four years before getting pregnant, was a risk factor for the length of her pregnancy. In a study published last year in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, women who experienced the highest levels of stress gave birth to infants whose time in utero was shorter by one week or more. Stress can also increase the chances of having a low-birthweight baby. Altogether, researchers worry that high levels of stress before and during pregnancy could affect the child’s physical and mental health and development.