Objective: The prevalence of maternal smoking remains high in New South Wales. In order to better understand the profile of maternal smokers, a study has been conducted to examine the social and demographic characteristics and pregnancy outcomes of women who smoked during their pregnancy in south western Sydney.
Methods: Women and babies of a retrospective cohort of 7,191 singleton births between March 1996 and December 1998, at Liverpool Hospital were analyzed.
Results: The prevalence of maternal smoking for the study population was 18.8%. The study found that the sociodemographic factors, such as marital status, ethnic origin, English speaking background, working status during pregnancy, and private health insurance status were independent risk factors for maternal smoking, but maternal age was not. Women who smoked during their pregnancy had higher rates of abruptio placenta, threatened premature labour, and premature labour. The adverse neonatal outcomes due to maternal smoking were low birth weight and increased neonatal morbidity. Smoking appears to have a protective effect on pregnancy induced hypertension.
Conclusion: The findings of this study suggests that future smoking cessation programs should pay more attention to addressing sociodemographic and cultural factors that influence the behaviour of maternal smokers.