Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to be referred to an obstetrician during pregnancy and birth: results from a cohort study

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Abstract

Background
Women who smoke during pregnancy make less use of prenatal care; the relation of smoking behavior with the use of other forms of maternal healthcare is unknown. The objective of this study is to investigate the association between women’s smoking behavior and their use of healthcare during pregnancy, birth and six weeks postpartum.

Methods
We analyzed data from the Dutch Midwifery Case Registration System (VeCaS), period 2012–2019. We included women with a known smoking status, singleton pregnancies, and who had their first appointment before 24 weeks of gestation with the primary care midwife. We compared three groups: non-smokers, early stoppers (stopped smoking in the first trimester), and late- or non-stoppers (stopped smoking after the first trimester or continued smoking). Descriptive statistics were used to report maternal healthcare utilization (during pregnancy, birth and six weeks postpartum), statistical differences between the groups were calculated with Kruskal–Wallis tests. Multivariable logistic regression was conducted to assess the association between smoking behavior and referrals to primary, secondary or tertiary care.

Results
We included 41 088 pregnant women. The groups differed significantly on maternal healthcare utilization. The late- or non-stoppers initiated prenatal care later and had less face-to-face consultations with primary care midwives during pregnancy. Compared to the non-smokers, the early- and late- or non-stoppers were statistically signficiantly more likely to be referred to the obstetrician during pregnancy and birth. Postpartum, the early- and late- or non-stoppers were statistically signficantly less likely to be referred to the obstetrician compared to the non-smokers.

Conclusions
Although the early- and late- or non-stoppers initiated prenatal care later than the non-smokers, they did receive adequate prenatal care (according to the recommendations). The results suggest that not smoking during pregnancy may decrease the likelihood of referral to secondary or tertiary care. The large population of smokers being referred during pregnancy underlines the important role of the collaboration between healthcare professionals in primary and secondary or tertiary care. They need to be more aware of the importance of smoking as a medical and as a non-medical risk factor.
Original languageEnglish
Article number479
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Volume22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13-Jun-2022

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