Associations between socio-economic factors and the use of prescription medication during pregnancy: a population-based study among 19,874 Danish women

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2006 Jul;62(7):547-53. doi: 10.1007/s00228-006-0119-x. Epub 2006 May 4.


Objective: To examine the association between socio-economic factors and use of prescription medication during pregnancy in a population of Danish women.

Methods: This was a population-based cohort study. Using record linkage from public administrative registries, we described the use of prescription medication during pregnancy and the financial and educational resources for each pregnant woman in the cohort.

Results: The analyses included all 19,874 primiparous women delivering singletons in North Jutland county, Denmark, in 1991-1998. We identified 24,243 prescriptions filled by the women during their pregnancies. The highest overall prescription medication use was among women with basic schooling (OR 1.3; 95% CI 1.2-1.4), and lowest among women with the highest education (OR: 0.8; 95% CI 0.7-0.9) compared with women who had vocational education. Stratified analysis of therapeutic subgroups revealed that socio-economic factors were associated with the use of anti-infective and anti-asthmatic medications during pregnancy.

Conclusion: Maternal educational level, and to a lesser degree household income, paternal educational level and cohabitation status, was associated with the use of prescription medication during pregnancy. However, the analyses did not take into account important clinical variables such as maternal illness, and the results could be affected by differential misclassification of exposure information, by confounding or chance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Denmark
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Socioeconomic Factors