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Objective: To explore the relationship of psychosocial and demographic variables to health behaviors in early pregnancy.

Design: First trimester findings presented from a prospective study of weight gain in pregnancy.

Setting: A comprehensive health care system in central Texas.

Participants:

114 pregnant women (75% white, 13% African American, 10% Hispanic, 2% Asian) of 12 weeks gestation or less.

Outcome Measure: Self-care Inventory, which includes diet/eating, substance abuse, recklessness, hygiene-related practices, sleep/rest, and exercise behaviors.

Results:

In regression analysis the final model of demographic and psychosocial variables showed that higher depressive symptoms, lower internal locus of control for fetal health, and lower family income were related to poorer health behaviors in the 1st trimester of pregnancy.

Conclusions: Health behaviors in early pregnancy may be affected by psychosocial factors such as depressive symptoms. Greater emphasis should be given to such factors in research and prenatal assessments.