Economic Contraction and Maternal Pregnancy Behavior in NLSY79

Claire Margerison-Zilko, University of Texas at Austin

This study examined associations between exposure to higher-than-expected state-level unemployment during pregnancy and maternal smoking, alcohol use, and gestational weight gain in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 and explored differences in these associations by maternal race/ethnicity, educational attainment, and poverty status. Exposure to economic contraction during the first trimester of pregnancy was not associated with maternal smoking or gestational weight gain. Among Black/non-Hispanic women only, economic contraction in the first trimester was associated with increased risk of alcohol consumption (RR: 1.34, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.76). Associations between economic contraction and pregnancy behaviors did not differ significantly by education or poverty status. Developing a better understanding of how economic contractions impact pregnant women and how these effects differ by race/ethnicity or SES may help public health professionals identify groups vulnerable to economic downturns.

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Presented in Session 208: Economic Contractions and Health Behaviors