Smoking before, during, and after pregnancy

Am J Public Health. 1990 May;80(5):541-4. doi: 10.2105/ajph.80.5.541.


We report the first national data on smoking before, during, and after pregnancy. Estimates are based on the 1986 Linked Telephone Survey that reinterviewed 1,550 White women 20-44 years of age who were respondents to the 1985 National Health Interview Survey. An estimated 39 percent of White women who had smoked before pregnancy quit smoking while pregnant (27 percent when they found out they were pregnant and 12 percent later during pregnancy). Women with less than 12 years of education were five times as likely to smoke and one-fourth as likely to quit as those with 16 or more years of education. Women who smoked more than one pack of cigarettes per day before pregnancy were one-fifth as likely to quit as those smoking less. Of the women who quit, 70 percent resumed smoking within one year of delivery. Of those who relapsed, 67 percent resumed smoking within three months of delivery and 93 percent within six months. There is little evidence of educational differentials in relapse rates. The fact that relapse remains high suggests that while health of the fetus is a strong influence on women's smoking habits, women may be less aware of the effect of passive smoke on the infant.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Marriage / statistics & numerical data
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy*
  • Prenatal Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology