Pregnancy-associated outcomes in women who spent some of their childhood looked after by local authorities: Findings from the UK Millennium Cohort Study

Stella Botchway*, Maria A. Quigley, Ron Gray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: There has been very little description of the health and social outcomes at pregnancy and early motherhood of girls who were previously looked after by local authorities. The objectives of this study were to compare the sociodemographic and health profiles of mothers who had spent time in a children's home or with foster parents as a child to mothers who had not. In particular, to examine associations between being looked after and the likelihood of smoking during pregnancy, birth weight, the presence of symptoms of maternal depression and the initiation of breastfeeding. Design: A retrospective cross-sectional study using the baseline questionnaire of the Millennium Cohort Study. Setting: The UK. Participants: A nationally representative study of 18 492 mothers of babies born in the UK during 2000-2002. Exposure: A history of spending time in a children's home or with foster parents. Outcome measures: (1) Smoking during pregnancy; (2) low birth weight; (3) symptoms of maternal depression and (4) initiation of breastfeeding. Results: In univariable analyses, women who had been looked after by local authorities were significantly less likely to be of a higher social class, live in a high-income household or have achieved a high level of education. They were more likely to have a low-birthweight baby and be a single parent. In multivariable analyses, women who had been looked after by local authorities were more likely to smoke during pregnancy (adjusted OR 3.0 95% CI 2.14 to 4.3) and were more likely to have symptoms of depression (adjusted OR 1.98 95% CI 1.4 to 2.7) compared with women who had not been looked after. Conclusions: Our results suggest that these women carry social disadvantage into motherhood, with the potential of continuing the cycle of deprivation. There is a case for increasing our attention on this group, which can be readily accessed by maternity and early years' services.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere005468
JournalBMJ Open
Volume4
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, BMJ Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

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