Prayer and health during pregnancy: findings from the Galveston Low Birthweight Survey

South Med J. 1993 Sep;86(9):1022-7. doi: 10.1097/00007611-199309000-00010.


In this study we examined the relationship between praying for one's baby during pregnancy and self-ratings of health. Data were collected from a biethnic (black and Hispanic) sample of postpartum mothers in Galveston, Tex, from 1986 to 1987. This sample is representative of the annual biethnic population of live births in Galveston. Subjective health was assessed for the periods both before and during pregnancy with self-ratings of global or overall health, worry over health, and functional health or lack of disability. Analyses controlled for the effects of the mother's age, marital status, gravidity, education, and self-rated religiosity. Findings revealed that all three prepregnancy health measures were associated with prayer. Subjectively unhealthier mothers prayed more for their baby during pregnancy regardless of their perceived health during pregnancy, and subjectively healthier mothers prayed less for their baby regardless of their self-reported religiosity. Additional analyses revealed that the effect of poor health on the frequency of prayer was not simply an outcome of the mother's worry over her own health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Marriage
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy / psychology*
  • Religion and Medicine*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Texas