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Am J Public Health. 1996 Mar;86(3):347-54.

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

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.



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.


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


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).


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

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