Prenatal and Postnatal Maternal Trajectories of Cigarette Use Predict Adolescent Cigarette Use

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Abstract

Introduction:

The goal of this study was to identify maternal patterns of prenatal and postnatal cigarette smoking associated with adolescent smoking. We hypothesized that maternal use at multiple time points, especially at later assessments when the offspring were adolescents, would predict offspring use.

Methods:

Pregnant women (N = 456: ages 13–42) were recruited from a prenatal clinic and interviewed during pregnancy and at delivery, providing data on cigarette use (any/none) for the first and third trimesters. Mothers were re-assessed at 6, 10, 14, and 16 years postpartum. Offspring reported cigarette use at age 16. Covariates included maternal race, age, education, family income, child age, parenting behavior, and other maternal and child substance use.

Results:

A growth mixture model revealed five patterns of tobacco use: infrequent/nonuse (39%), postpartum quitters (5%), later quitters (7%), increasing likelihood of being smokers (17%), and chronic users (32%). Offspring of postpartum quitters and the increasing likelihood of being smokers groups were more likely to use cigarettes, compared to adolescents of mothers from the infrequent/nonuse group, controlling for significant covariates.

Conclusions:

This is the first study to examine trajectories of maternal cigarette use from pregnancy to 16 years postpartum, linking prenatal and postnatal patterns of maternal use to use in adolescent offspring. Our findings highlight the risk associated with prenatal exposure, because mothers who used during pregnancy but quit by 6 years postpartum still had offspring who were 3.5 times more likely to smoke than non/infrequent users.

Implications:

This is the first study to examine trajectories of maternal cigarette use from the prenatal period to 16 years postpartum, and to link prenatal and postnatal patterns of use to use in adolescent offspring. We identified two long-term patterns of maternal cigarette use that were associated with offspring smoking at age 16, including one where offspring were exposed prenatally, but much less likely to be exposed to maternal cigarette use postpartum. Our findings highlight the risk associated with prenatal exposures for cigarette use in offspring, even if mothers quit in the postpartum.

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