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Can J Public Health. 1997 Nov-Dec;88(6):375-9.

Prevalence and predictors of health risk behaviours during early pregnancy: Saskatoon Pregnancy and Health Study.

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Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.


Canadian data on prenatal exposure to alcohol, tobacco, psychoactive drugs, and caffeine are sparse. This study presents prevalence rates in Saskatoon for these four risk behaviours during the first trimester of pregnancy and their associations with sociodemographic factors. Personal interviews were conducted with 605 pregnant women (83% participation rate). The most commonly used substance was caffeine (87%), followed by alcohol (46%), tobacco (30%), and psychoactive drugs (7%). Overall, 36% of women reported using two substances, 16% three, and 4% all four substances. In general, risk behaviours were more prevalent among women with lower education and income levels, Aboriginal or M├ętis background, those not living with a partner, those with previous births, and, in some cases, younger women. The findings illuminate the needs of particular groups of pregnant women and the importance of understanding maternal risk behaviour within the structural and cultural realities of women's lives.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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