MacDonald, L.D., Peacock, J.L. and Anderson, H.R.
Marital status: association with social and economic circumstances, psychological state and outcomes of pregnancy.
Journal of Public Health Medicine, 14, (1), .
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We examined the association of marital status with economic, social and psychological factors and with the outcomes of pregnancy (defined as onset of labour, type of delivery, live and still births and birthweight). The study population was 1431 white women consecutively booking for antenatal care. Birth registrations were inspected. Of 278 women who were unmarried during pregnancy, 61 per cent were cohabiting, 26 per cent were living with adults other than the father and 13 per cent were living alone. Compared with the married women, unmarried women overall were, on average, younger, less educated, of lower social class, in poorer economic circumstances, more dependent on state support and less satisfied with their living arrangements. Irrespective of age and social class, they were less likely to have planned the pregnancy, more likely to smoke and drink, to book later for antenatal care and to miss more appointments. In general, unmarried women were more likely to have some indication of depression and to experience more serious life events during the pregnancy. Controlling for age and social class, the categories 'married', 'cohabiting' and 'on their own' showed significant trends from best to worst. Those living with adults other than the father showed intermediate results. There were no significant effects of marital status, controlled for age and social class, and associated social, economic and psychological circumstances on outcomes of pregnancy. Forty-one per cent of births to women on their own, 35 per cent to women living with other adults and 11 per cent to women cohabiting during pregnancy were registered by only one parent.
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