Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 735–744 | Cite as

The Health Behaviors of Ethnically Diverse Women at Increased Risk of Gestational Diabetes: The Behaviors Affecting Baby and You (B.A.B.Y.) Study

  • Carrie J. Nobles
  • Bess H. Marcus
  • Edward J. StanekIII
  • Barry Braun
  • Brian W. Whitcomb
  • JoAnn E. Manson
  • Glenn Markenson
  • Lisa Chasan-Taber


Objectives Cigarette smoking, low physical activity, and sedentary behavior are modifiable risk factors for adverse pregnancy outcomes. However, only one study has evaluated predictors of these health risk behaviors among women at high risk for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Therefore, our goal was to examine predictors of smoking, low physical activity, and sedentary behavior during pregnancy in an ethnically diverse high risk cohort. Methods This cross-sectional analysis utilized baseline data from the Behaviors Affecting Baby and You (B.A.B.Y.) study conducted among prenatal care patients at high risk for GDM (personal history of GDM or family history of diabetes and body mass index [BMI] ≥ 25 kg/m2). Smoking was assessed using questions from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System questionnaire and sedentary behavior (top vs. lower quartiles) and moderate/vigorous physical activity (bottom vs. upper quartile) via the Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire. Results Participants (n = 400) enrolled at a mean of 12.4 (SD 3.6) weeks gestation. A total of 150 (44.1%) engaged in one, 37 (10.9%) in two, and 4 (1.2%) in three risk behaviors. Lower household income and not having children at home were each associated with a 2–6 fold increased odds of smoking, high sedentary behavior, and engaging in at least one risk behavior. Being married, Hispanic or of younger age was associated with a 2–6 fold reduced odds of smoking. BMI and personal history of GDM were not associated with risk behaviors. Conclusions for Practice Findings help characterize high risk groups and inform prenatal interventions targeting these health risk behaviors.


Pregnancy Smoking Exercise Sedentary behavior Gestational diabetes Latina 



This study was funded by National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Grant R01DK074876.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carrie J. Nobles
    • 1
  • Bess H. Marcus
    • 2
  • Edward J. StanekIII
    • 1
  • Barry Braun
    • 3
  • Brian W. Whitcomb
    • 1
  • JoAnn E. Manson
    • 4
  • Glenn Markenson
    • 5
  • Lisa Chasan-Taber
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biostatistics & Epidemiology, School of Public Health & Health SciencesUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, School of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Kinesiology, School of Public Health & Health SciencesUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  4. 4.Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  5. 5.Baystate Medical CenterSpringfieldUSA

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