Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Health care sciences and services, Public and environmental health

Publication Details

Public Health


Objectives Maternal health behaviours (MHBs) can influence pregnancy outcomes. Despite efforts internationally to encourage positive MHBs, women often fail to comply with pregnancy guidelines. International studies show differences in MHBs between nationalities and an effect of time spent in the host country. There is limited Irish data in this area, with no previous research relating to the effect of time in Ireland.

Study design This study is a cross-sectional analysis of the Growing Up in Ireland infant cohort, a nationally representative longitudinal study. Methods Examination of the MHBs of non-Irish nationals during pregnancy and the effect of time in Ireland on the said behaviours.

Results An association was found between time spent in Ireland and increased alcohol consumption prevalence. Those living in Ireland for ≤5 years were 60.8% less likely to consume alcohol during pregnancy (0.000) and 29.3% less likely to take folic acid before conception (0.021). Those who smoked during pregnancy were 98.6% more likely to consume alcohol (0.000) and those who consumed alcohol were 95.2% more likely to smoke during pregnancy (0.000).

Conclusions The results demonstrate differences in MHBs and the influence of time living in Ireland. These findings are of relevance for policy and intervention planning to optimise pregnancy outcomes among non-nationals.