Intrauterine growth retardation and premature delivery: the influence of maternal smoking and psychosocial factors

Am J Public Health. 1996 Mar;86(3):347-54. doi: 10.2105/ajph.86.3.347.


Objectives: This study investigated the influence of psychosocial stress, maternal schooling, social support, psychological well-being, alcohol, and smoking on intrauterine growth retardation and premature delivery.

Methods: At a Copenhagen university hospital, 2432 pregnant women completed a questionnaire on general health, psychosocial stressors, and sociodemographic characteristics.

Results: In 212 cases (8.7%) the women delivered prematurely. Preterm delivery as associated with psychosocial stress (adjusted odds ratio [OR]=1.14 for each 1-point increase on the psychosocial stressor 5-point scale and 1.92 for the whole scale) and poor school education (adjusted OR=2.62 for 7-9 years of schooling, 1.91 for 10 years, and 1.0 for 11-13 years). In 152 cases (6.3%), infants had a birthweight below the 10th percentile. Intrauterine growth retardation was associated with smoking, daily drinking, school education, and social network variables. In a multiple logistic regression model, intrauterine growth retardation was associated with smoking habits (adjusted OR=2.40 for 0-9 cigarettes daily, 2.68 for 10-15 daily, and 2.88 for more than 15 daily).

Conclusions: Psychosocial stressors and limited duration of schooling appeared to influence preterm delivery. Smoking habits influenced intrauterine growth retardation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / etiology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications* / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires