|Year : 2019 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 99
Maternal Tobacco use during Pregnancy in South Africa: Results from a National Population-based Survey
Nancy Phaswana-Mafuya1, Karl Peltzer1, Supa Pengpid2
1 Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation Office, North West University; HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Research Programme, Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa
2 Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation Office, North West University, South Africa; ASEAN Institute for Health Development, Mahidol University, Salaya, Phutthamonthon, Nakhonpathom, Thailand
|Date of Submission||05-May-2018|
|Date of Acceptance||21-Oct-2018|
|Date of Web Publication||07-Jun-2019|
HAST, Human Sciences Research Council, Pretorius Str. 134, Pretoria 0002
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background: Tobacco use in pregnancy is linked with various negative health effects. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of maternal tobacco use during pregnancy and sociodemographic and health correlates. Methods: Data of ever pregnant women from the cross-sectional “South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES-1) 2011-12” were analyzed. The sample included 5089 adolescents and adult women aged 15–55 years. They responded to questions on tobacco use, sociodemographic and health indicators. Results: Results indicate that 5.0% [95% confidence interval (CI) = 4.3, 5.9] of South African women had engaged in tobacco use during their pregnancy. In adjusted analysis, being Colored and White population groups, poor self-rated health status, and having chronic medical conditions were associated with tobacco use during pregnancy. Conclusions: Findings suggest links between sociodemographic and health variables and prenatal tobacco use, which may have public health policy implications.
Keywords: Health status, mental health, pregnancy, South Africa, tobacco use
|How to cite this article:|
Phaswana-Mafuya N, Peltzer K, Pengpid S. Maternal Tobacco use during Pregnancy in South Africa: Results from a National Population-based Survey. Int J Prev Med 2019;10:99
|How to cite this URL:|
Phaswana-Mafuya N, Peltzer K, Pengpid S. Maternal Tobacco use during Pregnancy in South Africa: Results from a National Population-based Survey. Int J Prev Med [serial online] 2019 [cited 2021 Jan 25];10:99. Available from: https://www.ijpvmjournal.net/text.asp?2019/10/1/99/259786
| Introduction|| |
Any form of tobacco use during pregnancy is linked with a number of negative fetal effects and maternal risks. Based on the “Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS),” the prevalence of maternal tobacco use during pregnancy among women (aged 15–49 years) from 54 low- and middle-income countries was 2.6%. In DHS surveys in Southern Africa, the prevalence of maternal tobacco use during pregnancy is ranged from 0.5% in Congo (Brazzaville), 0.6% in Malawi, and 0.8% in Mozambique to 7.6% in Namibia and 11.9% in Madagascar. There is a lack of national data on tobacco use during pregnancy in South Africa. Among pregnant women (n = 394) attending antenatal services in four South African cities, 47% of Colored (people of mixed descent) women, 4% of Black, and 3% of Indian smoked during pregnancy.
Correlates of tobacco use during pregnancy include sociodemographic factors such as women of younger age,, lower socioeconomic status,, and ethnicity or population group (Colored women). Moreover, stress, poor physical and mental health , have been identified as risk factors for maternal tobacco use during pregnancy.
The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of maternal tobacco use during pregnancy and sociodemographic and health correlates.
| Methods|| |
Sample and procedure
The “South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES-1)” is a cross-sectional and multi-stage population-based household survey conducted in 2011–2012. Participants provided information on sociodemographic and health variables in face-to-face interviews after their informed consent was obtained. The current study sample is restricted to women who responded that they had ever been pregnant (during their lifetime) and were 15–55 years old. The study was approved by the “research ethics committee (REC) of the HSRC (REC 6/16/11/11).” The survey individual response rate of respondents was 92.6%.
Sociodemographic data included age, sex, employment status, population group, province, and residential status.
Maternal tobacco use during pregnancy was assessed with the questions, “During any pregnancy in your lifetime, did you ever smoke tobacco or use any tobacco products?” (Yes, No). In addition, current daily tobacco use was assessed.
Maternal alcohol use during pregnancy was measured with the question, “During pregnancy, did you ever have a drink containing alcohol?”(Yes, No). In addition, Risky or hazardous drinking was assessed with the 3-item “Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test–Consumption (AUDIT-C).” Total scores ranged from 0 to 12, with a score of 3 or more in women and 4 or more in men indicating risky or hazardous drinking or active alcohol use disorders  (Cronbach's alpha 0.89).
Self-rated health was assessed with the item: “In general, how would you rate your health today?” Responses were dichotomized into as having “good health” (=1: very good or 2: good) and “poor health” (=3: moderate, 4: bad, or 5: very bad).
Chronic conditions were measured with the questions, “Has a doctor or nurse or health worker at a clinic or hospital told you that you have had any of the following conditions? High blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, a heart attack or angina (chest pains), high blood cholesterol, high blood sugar or sugar diabetes.” In addition, participants were asked if they ever had been diagnosed with tuberculosis (Yes, No).
Experience of trauma events. Participants were asked, “Have you ever experienced any of the following events?” (14 events e.g. “severe automobile accidents” and “learned about the sudden, unexpected death of a family member or a close friend?” (Yes or No).
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the past week was measured with the “Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS).” Partial PTSD was defined as having at least one PTSD symptom from each of the three PTSD symptom clusters  (Cronbach's alpha 0.94).
Insomnia was measured with two items: 1) on the severity of nocturnal sleep problems, “Overall in the last 30 days, how much of a problem did you have with sleeping, such as falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night, or waking up too early in the morning?” and 2) the severity of difficulty with daytime functioning, “Overall in the last 30 days, how much of a problem did you have due to not feeling rested and refreshed during the day e.g., feeling tired or not having energy?” Response options ranged from 0 = none to 4 = extreme/cannot do  (Cronbach's alpha 0.82). Insomnia symptoms were classified similar to the “Insomnia Severity Index,” with significant insomnia symptoms having total scores of ≥4–8.
Psychological distress in the past 4 weekswas assessed with the 10-item Kessler 10, which has been validated in South Africa  (response options: 1 = never to 5 = all of the time). Total scores of 30 or more indicate severe psychological distress  (Cronbach's alpha 0.93).
Data were analyzed using the STATA software version 13.0 (“Stata Corporation, College Station, Texas, USA”). Pearson Chi-square statistics were used to test for differences in proportions. We used multivariable Poisson regression to compute the prevalence ratios (PRs) (with 95% confidence interval = CI) to determine the associations between sociodemographic and health characteristics and maternal tobacco use during pregnancy. No collinearity was identified. Missing data were not included in the analysis. All models were adjusted for the multi-stage sampling design.
| Results|| |
The total sample included 5089 women who had been pregnant and were 15–55 years old, with a median age of 35.0 years [interquartile range (IQR) = 15] from South Africa. The majority (80.0%) belonged to the Black African population group, 39.6% were employed, and 63.7% were residing in urban areas. About one in five of the participants (23.3%) rated their health as poor, 25.2% had one or more chronic conditions, 7.0% had ever been diagnosed with tuberculosis, 20.2% had experienced one or more traumatic events, and 4.4% had a partial PTSD. In all, 7.4% of participants reported insomnia symptoms, 2.3% severe psychological distress, 3.7% had been using alcohol during their pregnancy, 9.1% were currently daily tobacco users, and 11.9% were hazardous or harmful alcohol users.
Overall, 5.0% had been using tobacco when they were pregnant, 28.1% among the Colored population group, 20.8% in the Western Cape province, and 19.9% in the Northern Cape province. In bivariate analysis, the prevalence of tobacco use during pregnancy was higher in urban than rural areas, in participants with poorer self-rated health status, having ever been diagnosed with tuberculosis, having insomnia symptoms, and psychological distress. Almost one-thirds (31.5%) of prenatal smokers had also been using alcohol during pregnancy, and almost half (44.3%) of prenatal smokers were current daily tobacco users [Table 1].
|Table 1: Sample characteristics and weighted prevalence of tobacco use during pregnancy|
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Associations with maternal tobacco use during pregnancy
In adjusted analysis, being Colored and White population groups, poor self-rated health status, and having chronic medical conditions were associated with tobacco use during pregnancy [Table 2].
|Table 2: Multivariable logistic regression on tobacco use during pregnancy|
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| Discussion|| |
To our knowledge, this is the first population-based national study assessing the prevalence of maternal tobacco use during pregnancy in South Africa. The study found a prevalence of 5.0% of maternal tobacco use during pregnancy in South Africa, which is double the global average in low- and middle-income countries (2.6%), higher than in some countries in the Southern African region [Congo (Brazzaville): 0.5%, Malawi: 0.6%, and Mozambique: 0.8%] and lower than in Namibia (7.6%) and in Madagascar (11.9%).
In agreement with previous studies,, this study found that demographic characteristics (being from the Colored and White population groups), poor self-rated health status, and having chronic conditions increased the risk for maternal tobacco use during pregnancy. These risk groups should be specifically targeted with anti-tobacco use services. Further, the study found a particularly high prevalence of maternal tobacco use during pregnancy (around 20%) in two provinces (Western Cape and Northern Cape). These two provinces have the highest proportion of Colored population groups in South Africa, emphasizing the need to target the Colored female population with anti-tobacco use services.
The study variable of maternal tobacco use during pregnancy was assessed retrospectively over possibly long periods, and this may have introduced a recall bias. The cross-sectional nature of the study limits our ability to establish causality.
| Conclusions|| |
This investigation found a prevalence of 5.0% of maternal tobacco use during pregnancy. Risk factors identified (being Colored and White population groups, poor self-rated health status, and having chronic medical conditions) can help in identifying appropriate interventions.
“Human Sciences Research Council. South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES-1) 2011–12: Adult Questionnaire – All provinces. [Data set]. SANHANES 2011–12 Adult Questionnaire Version 1.0. Pretoria South Africa: Human Sciences Research Council [producer] 2012, Human Sciences Research Council [distributor] 2017. http://dx.doi.org/doi: 10.14749/1494330158.”
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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[Table 1], [Table 2]