Objective: To explore the patterns of prenatal smoking among women whose first and second pregnancies ended in live births.
Methods: We used population-based data to explore prenatal smoking among 14,732 white and 8968 black Georgia residents whose first and second pregnancies ended in live births during 1989-1992. Smoking status was obtained from birth certificates linked for individual mothers. Because of demographic differences, we analyzed white and black women separately.
Results: Approximately 15% (2253) of white women and 4% (318) of black women smoked during their first pregnancy. Of those smokers, 69% (1551) of white women and 58% (184) of black women also smoked during their second pregnancy. For both white and black nonsmokers during the first pregnancy, low education was the most significant predictor of smoking during the second pregnancy, after adjusting for consistency of the father's name on the birth certificate, prenatal care, birth interval, mother's county of residence, and birth outcome.
Conclusions: The prevalence of smoking in this study may be low because of underreporting of prenatal smoking on birth certificates. The majority of women who smoked during their first pregnancy also smoked during their second, suggesting that these women exposed their first infant to tobacco smoke both in utero and after delivery. Practitioners should offer smoking cessation programs to women during, as well as after, pregnancy. Pediatricians should educate parents on the health risks to young children of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and refer smoking parents to smoking cessation programs.