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BACKGROUND: An understanding of women's longitudinal patterns of smoking during the pre-conception, pregnancy and postnatal period and the factors associated with these patterns could help better inform smoking cessation services and interventions. METHODS: Latent class analysis (LCA) was used to empirically identify women's smoking patterns in a sample of 10,768 mothers from the 2010 UK Infant Feeding Survey. Multinomial logistic regression was used to identify characteristics associated with these patterns. RESULTS: LCA identified five distinct smoking patterns during the pre-conception, pregnancy and postnatal period: "non-smokers" (74.1% of women); "pregnancy-inspired quitters" (10.2%); "persistent smokers" (10.1%); "temporary quitters" (4.4%); and postnatal quitters (1.1%). Smoking patterns varied markedly according to socio-demographic variables and parity. After adjusting for these variables, mothers who lived during pregnancy with a partner who smoked were more likely to be temporary quitters (aOR 2.64, 95% CI 1.74-3.99) or persistent smokers (aOR 3.32, 95% CI 2.34-4.72) than pregnancy-inspired quitters. Mothers who lived during pregnancy with someone else other than a partner who smoked were more likely to be persistent smokers (aOR 2.34, 95% CI 1.38-3.97) or postnatal quitters (aOR 2.97, 95% CI 1.07-8.24) than pregnancy-inspired quitters. Mothers given information on how their partner could stop smoking if they lived during pregnancy with a smoking partner were less likely to be persistent smokers (aOR 0.42, 95% CI 0.27-0.65) than pregnancy-inspired quitters. CONCLUSION: Health professionals should ask about smoking at every opportunity, and refer women who self-report as current smokers to an evidence based smoking cessation service.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Adult, Female, Humans, Infant, Infant Food, Longitudinal Studies, Postpartum Period, Preconception Care, Pregnancy, Smoking, Smoking Cessation, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom