Introduction Pregnancy is a time of high motivation to initiate positive changes in health behaviours which have the potential to continue post pregnancy. Pregnancy outcomes vary between Pakistani and white British pregnant women, but differences in health behaviours during pregnancy between these two groups are under researched.
Methods 4807 (1831 white British, 2222 Pakistani and 754 of Other origin) pregnant women were interviewed at 26–28 weeks of gestation using a questionnaire which collected information on alcohol, cigarette, caffeine, pregnancy vitamin and fruit and vegetable consumption and exercise levels. Latent class analyses were conducted to identify subgroups (classes) of the cohort defined according to clustering of health behaviours. The association between ethnicity, and other characteristics, with class membership was then examined.
Results Five independent classes of health behaviours were identified: three generally healthy classes that differed on alcohol and cigarette consumption, two unhealthy classes; one that smoked but didn't drink and one that was generally unhealthy. Although pregnant Pakistani and Other ethnicity women rarely reported smoking or alcohol consumption compared to white British women, other unhealthy behaviours such as lower rates of exercise and fruit and vegetable consumption were evident. Membership of the comprehensively unhealthy class was more likely in younger, white British pregnant women, of lower educational attainment.
Conclusions These techniques provide better understanding of negative behavioural clusters and characteristics associated with cluster membership. This could aid clinicians' ability to identify pregnant women who would benefit from interventions to modify these behaviours.
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